by: Madison Allen (Finished on November 19th, 2012)

Introduction to Hurricanes and the Strength of and Formation of Hurricanes

Today, I will be talking about hurricanes. Before we get into details, first let me tell you what a hurricane is. A hurricane is a violent storm with winds of seventy-four miles per hour or more.

Hurricanes form by gathering heat energy from warm, ocean water and changing it into wind and storm energy. The water has to be at eighty degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Another way to think of the formation of a hurricane is that as the warm water's evaporation rises, the evaporation starts to cool off the higher it goes and eventually causes a hurricane. A hurricane maintains its strength by absorbing the evaporation from the warm, ocean water. When hurricanes make landfall, their strength weakens because there is no more of the warm water source which provides the hurricane with energy. Also, the hurricane hits cars and buildings which decreases its strength.

More Information About Hurricanes

Categorizing and Naming Hurricanes

The Saffir Simpson Scale is used to categorize hurricanes. Wind speed determines what category the hurricane is. A category one hurricane has wind speeds from seventy-four to ninety-five miles per hour. A category two hurricane has wind speeds from ninety-six to one hundred ten miles per hour. A category three hurricane has wind speeds from one hundred-eleven to one hundred thirty miles per hour. A category four hurricane has wind speeds from one hundred thirty-one to one hundred fifty-four miles per hour. A category five hurricane has wind speeds of one hundred fifty-five miles per hour or more. Hurricanes today are named in alphabetical order alternating female and male names. Before 1953, hurricanes were named after their position on Earth using latitude and longitude. During 1953, scientists changed it to female names in alphabetical order. Soon after, it was then changed to alternating female and male names in alphabetical order. The difference between a hurricane and typhoon is that people living near the Western Pacific Ocean call these storms typhoons. People living near the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Eastern Pacific Ocean call these storms hurricanes. Hurricane season is during the fall. In the Atlantic Ocean, hurricane season is from June 1st to November 30th. In the Pacific Ocean, hurricane season is from May 15th to November 30th.

Hurricane Katrina and Conclusion

Hurricane Katrina formed on August 23rd and made landfall on August 25th, 2005. Katrina was a category one hurricane when it first made landfall and a category five the second time it made landfall. Katrina's first landfall was on the Miami-Dade/Broward county line. Then it moved to southern Florida making its way back to the Gulf of Mexico. It made a second landfall on the Louisiana/Mississippi border and then moved to the Tennessee Valley where it finally decreased speed. Katrina's highest wind speed was 175 miles per hour. Katrina caused around 1,200 deaths. It cost $75 billion in damage. Katrina caused water and wind damage in Miami-Dade/ Broward counties. Katrina was the most expensive U.S. hurricane on record. It formed from an upper-level trough, a tropical wave and the remains of Tropical Depression Ten. Katrina was the most terrible hurricane since the Palm Beach-Lake Okeechobee hurricane of 1928.

Now you know a lot of facts about hurricanes. Remember, if you live near the coast, make sure you stay safe from hurricanes. Thank you for reading.

(The picture to the upper left shows a satellite image of Hurricane Katrina. The hurricane eye is well defined with details.)