scientific definition of a hurricane is as follows: a hurricane is a tropical
cyclone (TC), in which winds reach a constant speed above 74 miles per hour. Below
74 mph, the storm is called a tropical storm (74 mph – 39 mph) or a tropical
depression (less than 39 mph). In the simplest explanation, a hurricane is a
giant whirlwind in which air moves around the center of extreme low pressure.
In the Northern Hemisphere, hurricanes circulate
counterclockwise, in the Southern Hemisphere, clockwise. In the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of
Mexico and eastern North Pacific Ocean we call our storms hurricanes; in other
parts of the world scientists call them typhoons (in the Western Pacific) or
cyclones (in the
Indian Ocean). The drive behind a
hurricane is dependent on warm water, moisture and wind pattern. The reason a
hurricane “dies” once it hits land is because it loses its fuel, that warm
ocean water with heat from condensing water vapor.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs each year from
June 1st to November 30th, though most storms occur in
August, September and October. Atlantic coast hurricanes are born in the
tropical and subtropical North Atlantic, the Caribbean Sea and the
Gulf of Mexico. On average, there are about six Atlantic
hurricanes each year (but remember, that’s just an average).
Pacific hurricanes that affect the western part of
are not rare, they just don’t usually have as much energy as Atlantic
hurricanes. They are capable of damage and usually bring heavy rain to
Southern California and parts of the Southwest. The
Pacific hurricane season starts 15 days earlier than the
season (May 15th) but also ends on November 30th.
For Atlantic Ocean hurricanes, the time of the year
directly relates to where a storm is most likely to originate: May and June
storms start in the Gulf and western
July and August, the origins of storms shift eastward. In September, look for
storms to start from the Bahamas to the Lesser Antilles, and as the month
progresses, shift eastward and south to the Lesser Antilles and Cape Verde
Islands near the west coast of Africa. After mid September, the origins shift
back towards the western
Caribbean and Gulf.
Many deaths occur during a hurricane when people
come out of shelter when the eye passes over. They are lured into thinking the
storm is over, only to be caught by surprise by the other side of the storm,
with winds that come from the opposite direction. And although hurricane winds
do a lot of damage, most people die during a hurricane by drowning caused by
flooding from heavy rains or storm surges...