What Is Hurricane And How Does It Form?

Hurricane one of the most feared natural events, are the result of a combination of a number of atmospheric and geographical factors. Whenever a region is hit by a phenomenon like this, the effects are quickly felt, with the devastation of houses, natural areas and, in some cases, the record of several deaths.

What is a hurricane?

A hurricane is a circular air movement system, at a speed greater than 105 km / h and with a diameter of hundreds of kilometers, resulting from the formation of a low pressure system over oceanic regions.

Hurricane characteristics

Some characteristics of hurricanes are:

  • Hurricanes are climatic phenomena;
  • Hurricanes are responsible for transporting heat to higher latitude regions;
  • They are rated on a scale of 1 to 5 (Saffir-Simpson). The higher, the stronger the winds;
  • If they gain a lot of strength, they can turn into natural disasters. There are cases of winds that exceed 200 km / h.
  • Some weather stations monitor hurricane movements and warn the population if there is evidence of a disaster.

What is the difference between hurricane, tornado and cyclone?

When these air movements are formed in the Atlantic Ocean, they are called hurricanes . But when formed in the Pacific Ocean, they are called typhoons . Both are subdivisions of cyclones .

That is, cyclones are environmental and natural events, which rely on air displacement in circular movements. These episodes usually cause strong winds, with speeds of up to 200 km / h. Depending on where it was formed, a cyclone can be a hurricane or a typhoon.

The tornadoes are also air displacements. However, they are smaller than cyclones, even though they present higher speeds, reaching up to 500 km / h. Even the disasters caused by tornadoes are usually greater.

The biggest hurricanes in the world

The biggest hurricanes that have ever appeared in the Atlantic Ocean were:

  • Hurricane Katrina (United States, 2005);
  • Hurricane Andrew (United States, 1992);
  • Hurricane Camile (United States, 1969);
  • Hurricane Carla (United States, 1961);
  • Hurricane Mitch (Central America, 1998);
  • Hurricane Rita (United States, 2005)
  • Hurricane Florida Keys (United States, 1935);
  • Hurricane Irma (Puerto Rico and the United States, 2017);
  • Hurricane Wilma (Mexico and Cuba, 2005).

Types Of Hurricanes

Hurricanes are classified into three main groups: tropical depressions (or tropical cyclones), tropical storms, and hurricanes.  

A tropical depression is an organized system of storms with a defined surface circulation, supporting winds of less than 62 km / h. It has no eyes, and it does not have the spiral shape of typically powerful storms.  

A tropical storm is an organized system of strong storms with a defined surface circulation, sustaining winds between 63 and 117 km / h. At this point, the distinctive cyclonic shape begins to develop, however the eye is not normally present.

Above 118 km / h, the tropical storm turns into a hurricane, and the eye is clearly visible.

Hurricanes are categorized on a scale of 1 to 5, called the Saffir-Simpson Scale, which considers the pressure measured in the eye, the speed of the winds and the volume of storms. This scale can measure the destructive power of a hurricane.

Level 1 hurricanes have winds with speeds between 118 km / h and 153 km / h and cause little structural damage.

Level 2 hurricanes have winds between 154 km / h and 176 km / h and cause damage to trees and roofs.

Level 3 hurricanes have winds between 177 km / h and 208 km / h, causing flooding and damage to homes.

Level 4 hurricanes have winds between 209km / h and 246km / h and cause roof destruction and major structural damage to homes.

The most devastating hurricanes are those of level 5, which have winds above 247 km / h, cause severe floods and major structural damage in houses and buildings.

The areas with the highest incidence of hurricanes are: Western North and Eastern Pacific Ocean and Western South, North Indian Ocean, Southeast and Southwest, and the North Atlantic Basin (Gulf of Mexico region).


Leave a Comment