Atmosphere And Weather

The Anatomy of a Hurricane

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"The Anatomy of a Hurricane"
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Understanding the Fundamentals of Hurricanes -

Hurricanes don't just occur out of the blue, but require specific conditions to exist. These conditions must all be met in order for a hurricane to form. The conditions are:

1. The water temperature must be at least 80 degrees up to 150 feet in depth.

2. The lowest layer of the atmosphere, known as the troposphere, must have high humidity in its center.

3. The winds of the lower and upper levels of the atmosphere must be no less than 20 mph in difference.

When these conditions occur the following will begin to take place forming a hurricane:

1. The air comes together in one place, because of low barometric pressure.

2. When this moist, warm air raises it will cool and create clouds. Heat is generated by condensation and the clouds will rotate from the earth's spin.

3. More air is sucked in and up when a low-pressure field is caused from the upward rush of air.

4. The storm is self-fed when the air goes back down from escaping outward or through the eye (center) of the system.

5. The storm will gather strength, as long as the conditions needed are present. It will lose strength when they are not present any longer, which going over land or other changes could cause.

Hurricane Strengths (Categories):

A Florida engineer named Herbert Saffir, who was a wind damage specialist; and the then-director of the National Hurricane Center named Robert Simpson created a scale to categorize the power and devastation of hurricanes in the 1970s. This scale became known as the Saffir-Simpson Scale and has been used since its inception. The categories are defined by wind speeds as follows:

Tropical Storm the wind speed is from 39 73 mph.

Category 1 Hurricane the wind speed is from 74 95 mph.

Category 2 Hurricane the wind speed is from 96 110 mph.

Category 3 Hurricane the wind speed is from 111 130 mph.

Category 4 Hurricane the wind speed is from 131 155 mph.

Category 5 Hurricane the wind speed is 155 mph and above.

Worldwide Hurricane Locations:

Hurricanes can form worldwide and are broken down to the following percents in the different locations: (Note: Hurricanes that occur in the region of the Philippines or the China Sea are sometimes called typhoons.)

Western Atlantic 12 percent.

East Pacific 15 percent.

South Atlantic 0 percent.

North Indian 12 percent.

South Indian 12 percent.

Western North Pacific 30 percent.

South Pacific 12 percent.

North and West Australia 7 percent.

United State Hurricane Locations:

The information gathered from 1900 through 2002 is used. The very active recent years have not been included.

Texas 36 total hurricanes; twelve category 1, nine category 2, nine category 3, and six category 4.

Louisiana 26 total hurricanes; nine category 1, five category 2, eight category 3, three category 4, and one category 5.

Mississippi 8 total hurricanes; four category 1, one category 2, five category 3, and one category 5.

Alabama 11 total hurricanes; five category 1, one category 2, and five category 3.

Florida 57 total hurricanes; seventeen category 1, sixteen category 2, seventeen category 3, six category 4, and one category 5.

Georgia 5 total hurricanes; one category 1 and four category 2.

South Carolina 14 total hurricanes; six category 1, four category 2, two category 3, and two category 4.

North Carolina 26 total hurricanes; ten category 1, four category 2, eleven category 3, and one category 4.

Virginia 5 total hurricanes; three category 1, one category 2, and one category 3.

Maryland 0 hurricanes.

New Jersey 1 total hurricane; one category 1.

New York 9 total hurricanes; three category 1, one category 2, and five category 3.

Connecticut 8 total hurricanes; two category 1, three category 2, and three category 3.

Rhode Island 5 total hurricanes; two category 2 and three category 3.

Massachusetts 6 total hurricanes; two category 1, two category 2, and two category 3.

New Hampshire 2 total hurricanes; one category 1 and one category 2.

Maine 5 total hurricanes; five category 1.

As you can see, it is not only southern states like Florida, Texas, or Louisiana that is affected by hurricanes, any state that is located on the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico can be. Also, you do not have to be located directly on the water to be impacted either. Many of the deaths that occur from hurricanes happen from the flooding that accompanies them. This flooding can occur many miles from the coastline.

Hurricane Season -

The hurricane season begins on June 1st and continues through November of each year. The most active time is from the middle of August to the middle of October. There have been hurricanes formed before June and after November, but this is rare.

Hurricane Predicting -

The only good thing about hurricanes is that they can be tracked and notice given far in advance of their landfall. This gives the people in the affected area time to prepare for them and evacuate, if required. With this said; there still is a large area of unknown with them, as they do not always do what the weather predictors forecast. They can turn and intensify quickly, which changes all of the data given. This is one of the reasons it is strongly stressed to pay close attention to the updated information, as it is available concerning any hurricane.

More about this author: Diane Dilov-Schultheis

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