Hurricanes are huge, spiraling tropical storms that produce extremely high winds and massive amounts of rain. Hurricanes are categorized on the scale of 1-5. Category 5 hurricanes can produce winds at the speeds of over 160 miles (257 kilometers) an hour and rains of more than 2.4 trillion gallons (9 trillion liters) a day.
The Atlantic Ocean’s hurricane season peaks mid-August to late October and averages 5 to 6 hurricanes per year.
Hurricanes, also known as tropical cyclones, are like giant engines that use warm, moist air as fuel. That is why they only form over warm ocean water near the equator. The warm and now moist laden air moves up and away from the surface.
As the warm air rises it causes the formation of a low-pressure area below. The air from the high-pressure areas starts to fill the low-pressure area, and that air again becomes moist and warm rising from the surface. Meanwhile, the surrounding air swirls to take its place. As the warmed air cools off the water in the air forms clouds, the whole system of clouds and wind spins and grows fed by the oceans heat and water evaporating from the surface.
According to meteorologist Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University, hurricanes move the heat from the warm equilateral regions to colder Polar Regions, which is why they form on warm water near the equator. They also help radiate heat out of the tropics into space.
The US history has seen some of the deadliest hurricanes which have claimed the lives of many. Some of those hurricanes are:
- Hurricane of the 1900s which took the lives of approximately 6000 to 12000 Americans in Galveston, Texas, was known as the Great Storm by the locals. This hurricane hit Galveston with winds up to 22 km.h (135 mph) and 4.5 m (15ft) tides.
- Okeechobee hurricane of 1928 took 2,500 Florida citizens with its winds. This was the second storm in US history to reach category 5. The water had covered the Lake Okeechobee region 15 ft (6m) deep, killing mostly the migrant workers.
- The Hurricane Katrina of 2005 took the lives of 1,836 New Orleans citizens. About 80% of the historic New Orleans was covered in water. The levels designed to protect it incurred 53 individual failures and the low lying city was inundated.
The hurricanes may form to provide a sort of balance on both poles, but they tend to claim the lives of dozens if and when they shift the wrong way.
The author of this article Amita Vadlamudi is enthusiastic about reading and researching scientific subjects. Amita Vadlamudi has published articles on various subjects on many of her web sites.