November 16, 2012

What Is A Hurricane?

A hurricane is the most powerful storm in the world. They form in the oceans and maintain strength while in contact with warm ocean water. A hurricanes wind speeds can get up to one-hundred sixty miles per hour. . Hurricanes are very powerful and dangerous storms which causes lots of damage.

Hurricanes: Formation and Strength

Hurricanes are formed over warm ocean water, eighty degrees Fahrenheit or warmer. The wind must be blowing in the same direction at the same speed forcing air upward and away from the oceans surface. The hurricane forms over the warm ocean water and uses it as an energy source. Wind speeds must reach seventy four miles per hour for the storm to be classified as a hurricane. The center part of a hurricane is called the eye; it is the calmest part of the storm. Inside the eye of a hurricane it is like a rainstorm with precipitation like rain. There are other names for hurricanes. Hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones are all the same thing; they just form in different places. Hurricanes form over the Atlantic and Northeast oceans. Typhoons form near the Northwest Pacific ocean. Cyclones form in the Indian ocean, Bay of Bengal, and in Australia. There is also a hurricane season. In the Atlantic, the hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season is from May 15 to November 30.

Hurricames: Naming and Categorizing

Scientists have only been studying the causes and effects of hurricanes for the last hundred years or so. They have found evidence of hurricanes dating back thousands of years ago! The National Weather Service was created in 1870. The ability to track large storms like hurricanes was not available at this time. When a hurricane hit an area it was a complete surprise.

Hurricanes are put into categories by their wind speed and amount of water pushed on land by the storm. The scale scientist use is called the Saffir-Simpson Scale. A storm cannot be called a hurricane unless the wind speed reaches seventy four miles per hour. The storm surge would be close to four feet in this kind of hurricane. This hurricane would be classified as a category 1 hurricane. Hurricanes are categorized on a scale of 1 to 5. 1 being the weakest to 5 being the strongest. A category 1 hurricane's wind speeds are from 74 mph to 95 mph, category 2 wind speeds are from 96 mph to 110 mph, category 3 wind speeds are from 111 mph to 130 mph, category 4 wind speeds are from 131 mph to 155 mph, and a category 5 wind speeds are anything over l156 mph. Hurricanes used to be named for their location like their longitude and latitude. It was easier for weathermen to keep track of the hurricanes but not so much for the public. A new system started in l953 when the National Weather Service copied the Navy. Seamen named their ships after women, the Weather Service decided to do the same with hurricanes. It didn't seem fair to the men for hurricanes just to be named after women. The system we use now started in l979. Male names were added to the lists and they alternated with the female names. Hurricanes are named starting with the first letter of the alphabet each year. The only letters not used are Q, U, X, Y, and Z. There are six different lists and these lists rotate each year. In the seventh year the first list is used again, but when a hurricane is very destructive the name is retired from the list.

Hurricane Floyd

Hurricane Floyd was first detected as a tropical wave on September 2, l999 and moved off the coast of Africa. From there the storm developed into a tropical depression over the tropical Atlantic. The storm became a tropical storm . On September 10th it became a hurricane. On September 13th Hurricane Floyd became a category 4 hurricane with sustained wind speeds reaching up to 155 mph and storm surges up to 15 feet were reported. Floyd made landfall on September 16th at Cape Fear, North Carolina at 2:30 am as a category 2 hurricane with wind speeds maxing 110 mph. Hurricane Floyd will be most remembered for its amount of rainfall, with amounts as high as 19.06 inches of rain in some areas. Floyd is ranked 29th in The 30 Most Deadliest Cyclones in the U.S. Mainland with 56 deaths documented. It is also ranked 15th in The 30 Costliest U.S. Hurricanes. Floyd cost 3 to 6 million dollars in damage and $9, 225, 000, 000 in total!

Hurricanes are the most powerful storms in the world and they are very dangerous. Hurricanes are categorized from 1 to 5 depending on how high its wind speeds are. Hurricane Floyd was a category 4 hurricane with wind speeds reaching 155 mph. Hurricane Sandy is a recent storm that caused a lot of damage in New York. If you live in a hurricane zone, you should be prepared for a hurricane and have a plan.