Hurricanes are born over warm, tropical oceans, because they are generated by water vapor produced by the warm water surface. Hurricanes approximately range from about three hundred miles wide, although they can vary considerably in size. The size of a hurricanes wind field is usually a few hundred miles across, so if a hurricane is three hundred miles wide and consist of a wind shields of two hundred miles then it’s really about five hundred miles of terror. Hurricanes are huge enough to cover an entire state. The power of a hurricane is tremendous.
The term hurricane derives from the Taino Indian word huracan, which means evil spirit. The Taino Indian term hurican came from the Maya word Hurakan, which is the Greek God of storms and bad weather (fcit.usf.edu). Hurricanes are intense tropical storms that originate over warm ocean waters, and usually begin as regular storms in the Caribbean or off the west coast of Africa (fcit.usf.edu). The two main ingredients of a hurricane are warm water and moist warm air. Because the state is located near the tropics and winds blow towards it from the African coasts on the Equator, Florida is especially a susceptible place to hurricanes.
he Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is a 1-5 rating based on the hurricane's present intensity. This is used to give an estimate of the potential property damage and flooding expected along the coast from a hurricane landfall. Wind speed is the determining factor in the scale, as storm surge values are highly dependent on the slope of the continental shelf in the landfall region. Note that all winds are using the U.S. 1-minute average. Category One Hurricane: Winds 74-95 mph (64-82 kt or 119-153 km/hr).
In the western Pacific, there is low air pressure as warn, moist air rises, cools and condenses, forming rain clouds which give heavy convectional rainfall. This movement of air results from the Walker cell. This circulation of air is where air in the upper atmosphere moves from west to east and surface air moves from east to west, as the trade winds. It causes surface waters in the west to be pushed upwards therefore sea levels in places such as the Philippines is 60cm higher than in Panama or Colombia. Water flowing westwards is warm, 28ºC in the western Pacific whereas the water off the coast of South America is cold, 20ºC.
Hurricanes, also called typhoons in other parts of the world, start as thunderstorms. Like all thunderstorms in the northern hemisphere, they rotate counterclockwise. They usually move from the Northwest Coast of Africa toward Central and North America pushed by equatorial trade winds. When the thunderstorms reach, or come into, warmer waters with easterly winds, they then strengthen into first a tropical depression, and then it could intensify into a tropical storm, and finally a hurricane. Hurricanes range from a category one hurricane all the way to a category five reaching winds up to one hundred seventy miles per hour plus.
The three phases that the storm goes through are: tropical depression, tropical storm, and then a hurricane (Mehta, 2010, para.2). According to Naik (2010), thunderstorms drift over warm ocean waters, the warm air in them combines with the warm air over the ocean surface and starts rising. The warm air then starts to rise and low pressure is created at the surface of the storm. As the trade winds which blow in opposite directions they start propelling the formation in a circular motion (Naik). The winds of a hurricane can exceed up to 200 mph.
How Hurricanes Work Hurricanes typically form between 5o to 15o latitude north or south of the equator, or also known to be formed near tropical regions surrounding the equator. A certain force is needed to create the spin in the hurricane and it is too weak near the equator, therefore hurricanes can never form at the equator. Hurricanes form over really warm ocean water, the water must be 80°F or warmer. The atmosphere must cool off quicker and quicker the higher it gets. The wind must also be blowing in the same direction and at the same speed to allow an organized convection to develop.
On the 24th august 1992 hurricane Andrew hit Florida, and is recognized as the most destructive natural hazard in the United States, scoring category 5 on the Saffir Simpsons scale. It formed as bands of clouds close to the equator where the air is moist. A centre of low pressure forms, and the air begins to spiral in towards the low pressure, as the system moves away from the equator. Latent heat is released when water vapor condenses, this encourages further uplift as the warm air rises and the pressure at the centre falls rapidly. The storm gets bigger as the low pressure sucks in more warm moist air this also causes strong winds.
The effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans was extremely severe, resulting from one of the most deadly natural disasters in U.S. history. By August 30th, 2005, one day after the Category 4 storm made landfall, about 80 percent of the city of New Orleans, was flooded with some parts of the city under 20 feet of water. The flood was caused by several levees breaches, which most people didn’t believe it could breach, due to a combination of a powerful storm surge, strong winds and excess water in the bodies of water surrounding the city. After reading the author’s response, her curiosity was based on her belief that the delayed response time was due to racism. She first noticed when watching the T.V.
Like the normal storm, it was formed from the warm water in the Caribbean. Of all the Tropical Storm originated from the Caribbean, only about half that turn into a hurricane and Sandy is one of them. In order to get the normal storm started, it requires water with temperature around 26°C (80°F). The process is like a heat engine which causes the warm water to rise up as water vapor. This water vapor condenses which then releases the latent heat.