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Severe Weather and Natural Disaster
Hurricanes

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In-Depth

Keep reading to find out…
What does it look like?
What makes a hurricane?
How do they determine the "category"?
How do they name the hurricane?
When will they stop?

What does it look like?
Click through the different parts of the images below. Each section will pop-up a window of information.
EyeEye WallFeeder BandsFeeder Bands

What makes a hurricane?

  • Ocean water temperatures of at least 80º Fahrenheit. This provides the storm with heat energy it needs to grow. That's why hurricanes in the Northern Hemisphere form in June through November, when ocean temperatures are warmest. September 10 is the peak of the Atlantic Ocean's hurricane season.
  • Low wind shear from the top to the bottom of the atmosphere. For example, if the winds at the oceans' surface are light, and winds at high altitude over the tropical wave are strong, this "shear" will act to tear the developing hurricane apart.
  • Something to get the tropical wave spinning. This is usually provided by a low-pressure system or front that moves from land over the tropical ocean. The part of the Earth's spin that points straight up at the point of interest, or the Coriolis force, must help get the storm spinning. Near the equator, the Coriolis force is zero, so no hurricanes form within about 500 miles of the equator.

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