December 5, 2012

What is a Hurricane?

Hi, I’m Emerald Robinson, and in this “What Is” video, we’re going to discuss nature’s most massive storm: the hurricane.

A hurricane, also called a “typhoon,” or “cyclone”,  is a tropical, rotating storm with winds that consistently blow seventy four miles per hour or more.

Hurricane season begins in early summer and ends in late November, since hurricanes form when the ocean’s temperature is high.  Warm, moist air rises from the ocean’s surface to create a small rainstorm. As cool rain falls from this storm, heat escapes into the air, creating a strong updraft that pulls more moist air into the clouds, which makes a bigger thunderstorm. Winds blowing across the ocean’s surface get pulled into this updraft, dragging even more warm, moist air into the storm’s center.

As the storm grows, it becomes influenced by the Earth’s rotation, and starts to spin – counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. This rotation increases the storm’s energy, and causes an “eye” to form, a vertical axis of warm, rising air. Winds high above the earth’s surface set the storm on its path, many times towards land.

Hurricanes cause a lot of damage. Most of the damage either comes from flooding or high winds.

Hurricanes are classified based on wind speed. Category one Hurricanes have wind speeds as high as ninety five miles per hour, while Category five hurricanes have wind speeds in excess of one hundred fifty miles per hour.

There are about one hundred hurricanes every season; Since 1950, each has been given a unique name. The names are always in alphabetical order. If a hurricane causes a lot of destruction, its name is retired, and replaced with one beginning with the same letter. Do you share a name with a hurricane?

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