All You Need to Know About Hurricanes

Hurricanes threaten millions of people all over the globe. From formation to the naming process, Simpson Street Free Press is here to answer all your questions about hurricanes.

Cape Verde storms begin off the coast of Africa, near islands like Boa Vista. One example of a classic Cape Verde storm is Hurricane Irma. Other storms start in the Gulf of Mexico, such as tropical storm Katia. Hurricanes can form when water is warm and other weather conditions – such as weak high-altitude winds – do little to stop the storm. Some of the worst hurricanes start with unstable winds and gain strength as they move west over the warm, open Atlantic Ocean.

Hurricane season starts June 1st and ends November 30th. During this period, ocean water gets warm enough for storms to begin. The water must be at least 79˚F for a hurricane to form. An average season produces 12 named storms and six hurricanes. Out of those six hurricanes, three usually become major storms with winds at 111 mph or higher. 

Having more than one major storm hit the U.S. in a season is unusual. When Irma hit Florida as a category five storm, it was the first time in historical record that the U.S. was hit by two storms in a single year that were category four or greater. Lately, warmer water due to global warming has been responsible for powerful hurricanes. These storms use the warm water as fuel. For example, Irma developed over water that was 1.2 to 1.8 degrees warmer than normal.

Scientists recently linked climate change to the rapid intensification of storms. While experts still debate over whether or not global warming will mean more storms, storms that do occur will be heavier and rainier.

Atlantic tropical storms are named through a complex process where a name is selected from a list of 21. There are six that rotate every year. The only time there is a change in the list is if a storm is so deadly or costly that using its name again would be inappropriate for sensitivity reasons.

Even though scientists have ample knowledge of hurricanes, there is still so much to learn. The future of these storms could affect the whole world.

[Source: Wisconsin State Journal]