Hurricanes are devastating and no one would like to have experienced one, but it happens and we can’t do anything about it. Have you ever pondered about why they even happen? Well you’re in luck! You see Hurricanes aren’t officially called hurricanes until they hit wind speeds of 75 miles per hour. If it’s not at a 75 mile per hour wind speed it’s known as a tropical storm, which are fairly common in the U.S. and Caribbean.
Hurricanes do an important job for the Earth. They help move heat from warm tropical places to the cooler temperate zone. To do this, they typically form between 5 to 15 degrees latitude north and south of the equator. Then, they thunder across the warm oceans of the world such as the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Western Pacific Ocean (where they are called typhoons), up to higher latitudes.
Hurricanes happen when the oceans have been warmed during summer months. In the North Atlantic, hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30, but most hurricanes happen during the fall.
This is when and where they form but I’m pretty sure you came to learn why they form. Tropical cyclones are like giant engines that use warm, moist air as fuel. That is why they form only over warm ocean waters near the equator. The warm, moist air over the ocean rises upward from near the surface. Because this air moves up and away from the surface, there is less air left near the surface. Another way to say the same thing is that the warm air rises, causing an area of lower air pressure below.
Air from surrounding areas with higher air pressure pushes in to the low pressure area. Then that “new” air becomes warm and moist and rises, too. As the warm air continues to rise, the surrounding air swirls in to take its place. As the warmed, moist air rises and cools off, the water in the air forms clouds. The whole system of clouds and wind spins and grows, fed by the ocean’s heat and water evaporating from the surface.
Storms that form north of the equator spin counterclockwise. Storms south of the equator spin clockwise. This difference is because of Earth’s rotation on its axis.
As the storm system rotates faster and faster, an eye forms in the center. It is very calm and clear in the eye, with very low air pressure. Higher pressure air from above flows down into the eye.
Now that you’ve got the basis, why are there so many at the moment? Well you see Hurricane season starts June 1 and ends Nov. 30. That’s usually when the water is warm enough and other weather conditions are conducive to storm formation. Hurricanes need water that’s at least 79 degrees. Peak hurricane season is from mid-August to mid-October with the peak of the peak being Sept. 10 or 11. and an average season produces 12 named storms, according to the National Weather Service.
Hurricanes are pretty fascinating to learn about but they can get catastrophic at times. You see they’re both negative and positive in away. 1, being it moves warm water and 2, They cause a lot of damage to a country especially those in the Caribbean. But never the less, the U.S. in the year 2017, has experienced back to back category 5 hurricanes, Harvey and Irma, all in the span in 1 month and it’s pretty heartbreaking to see.