Hurricane News Flash
Are you prepared?
A hurricane is a storm that starts over warm, tropical ocean water. It is very powerful and large. Warm, wet air rises from the ocean to the sky. Clouds and thunderstorms form from the wet air. Multiple thunderstorms move together in a spinning circle to become a hurricane. Hurricanes produce thunder, lightning and heavy rain. A storm that has wind blowing at least 75 miles per hour is classified as a hurricane but the winds can be as strong as 200 miles per hour. Hurricanes can last 9 to 12 days. Hurricanes get stronger when they are over warm sea water and weaker when they are over cooler sea water or land.
A hurricane is shaped like a donut. The centre of the storm, where there is a hole, is called the eye . The eye is calm. The walls of the eye have the most powerful winds. Outside the eye wall are rain bands that contain heavy rain and strong winds.
A hurricane develops when warm, wet air over the sea rises quickly. The mix of air, water and heat make a huge, spinning system of clouds, rain and wind. This is a hurricane.
During a hurricane, strong wind causes damage to buildings and also creates high waves. These big waves can damage shores and cause floods. The wind is so strong it makes the rain blow sideways.
Hurricanes are classified by their wind speed. The categories range from 1 to 5. Category 1 means they have wind speeds from 74 to 95 miles per hour. That is strong enough to blow the leaves off trees. Category 5 means they have wind speeds greater than 200 miles per hour. That is strong enough to pull trees out of the ground and bend lampposts.
The worst damage caused by a hurricane is from the storm surge. As it gets closer to land, the wind pushes the water ahead of the ocean. This can make the water level of the ocean go up as much as 20 feet. The result is major flooding. Buildings, people and animals can be swept away by the fast water.
The strong wind in a hurricane causes a lot of damage. It can tear houses apart, blow trees and electrical wires down and cause really big waves. These big waves can damage coastal buildings and shores as well as cause major flooding. A lot of the damage to property as well as deaths are caused by flooding.
Hurricanes can ruin homes, leaving people homeless. Damage from hurricanes is often in the billions of dollars. Major hurricanes often result in people losing their lives.
Hurricanes form over warm water, usually in late summer. They typically hit the mainland of the USA
People who live in areas where hurricanes are likely to occur should always be prepared. If there is time, they cover their windows with boards and sometimes need to evacuate. When people evacuate it means they leave their homes and move somewhere safe. They have to leave most of their stuff behind. The farther inland you go, the safer you will be. This means, drive away from the ocean.
A hurricane watch means people should prepare for the possibility of a hurricane coming in the next two days. A hurricane warning means it will probably hit in the next 12 hours.
Meteorologists study weather and use airplanes, satellites and other tools to track a hurricane's location, speed and direction. They use an anemometer to measure the wind speed. They watch the trail of the hurricane carefully to predict where it will go but this is very hard to do. They can use long-range radar to predict where the path will be.
Fascinating Facts and Wonders
Hurricanes are named after women and men. This began in World War II when military weathermen named hurricanes after their girlfriends! For many years hurricanes were named after women but now they are named after both men and women. The names go in alphabetical order. Ocean storms only get a name when they officially become a hurricane. Names of major hurricanes are not used over again.
Hurricanes that occur in different places are called different things. When they develop over the Pacific and Indian Oceans they are called typhoons or tropical cyclones.