How do Hurricanes Form? Weather Facts About these storms
Basic Info About these Storms
So how do hurricanes form? Find out the key to a hurricane's formation during the hurricane weather season and what makes them powerful forces of weather.
Hurricanes (scientific name = tropical cyclones) are another powerful severe weather event that happen all across the globe. In other parts of the world, they are called typhoons.
In the states, the primary season to be on the lookout for these storms is in the summertime and goes into early and even late fall. Why these times of the year? What causes these storms to form?
The key to a tropical cyclone forming is the warm water. When a cluster of storms gather over warm water, and weather conditions are right, the potential exists for a hurricane to start forming. During hurricane season, weather patterns over the waters over the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico provide the perfect warm water temperatures for this to happen. But warm water is not all that you need. As I said above, the right weather conditions are needed as well.
As the warm moist air from the water rises up into the atmosphere, causing an area of low pressure to form below. Air from the surrounding areas then start to flow into the area of low pressure. This air also becomes heated and rises and the process repeats itself.
This is why many people think of hurricanes as big engines which constantly have intake and exhaust. This is a basic analogy that is taught a lot when learning about the weather. The "intake" being the surrounding cooler air from high pressure, and the "exhaust" being that cooler air becoming warm and rising. As this process happens, clouds and storms are formed and they all start being wrapped around into a spinning storm...creating a dangerous weather situation for many. So what officially classifies a storm as a hurricane?
Well first, a storm is a tropical storm which means its winds range from 39-74 MPH. Even though these storms are not bonafide hurricanes, they can still cause damage and heavy flooding. The weather during a tropical storm can still be life threatening.
Once the tropical storm passes the 74 MPH wind mark, it is classified as a hurricane. Stronger hurricanes will produce an "eye" at the center of the storm where it's very calm. When the eye passes over land, people have been fooled into thinking that the storm is over when in actuality, the storm will be back, but with winds from the opposite direction. More on hurricane categories.
Tropical cyclones will die once they hit land because their "fuel", the warm ocean water, has been taken away and the whole process that the hurricane relies on is broken down. Besides bad weather conditions like wind, heavy rain, and storm surge, hurricanes can also produce tornadoes (How do Tornadoes Form).
How Hurricanes are named
All storms are named once they pass into the tropical storm phase. Some storms are so powerful that their names are retired and put into the weather record books. Check out How are Hurricanes Named, the List of Hurricane Names, and also the Retired Hurricane Names. Now that you can answer the question "How do hurricanes form", check out some of the other pages around the site :)
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Lightning strike on the Renaissance Center
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