The official hurricane season begins June 1 and mostly runs through November. Although hurricanes can form a few weeks before and after that window, in many parts of the world, such as the western Pacific, hurricanes can take form all year round.
Hurricanes are usually destructive and can leave nothing but wrath and chaos in their path. While they are a common storm, they don’t always come so fierce, but it’s important you are armed with information you need to know in order to deal with a hurricane, should you face one.
Understanding what a hurricane is, and knowing the facts about them not only help people deal with this natural disaster better, but can also help prepare a mindset that is ready to act when needed.
Before you follow a hurricane survival guide or go out shopping for your hurricane grocery list, here are some very important facts that you should need to know about hurricanes in general.
What Are Hurricanes?
Hurricane is a name given to the most powerful tropical cyclones that appear in the northeastern Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. In order to consider a tropical cyclone as a hurricane, it must sustain winds of 74 mph or above. Hurricanes are also called typhoons in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. In other places, such as the Indian Ocean, they are also called severe cyclonic storms.
What Are The Different Categories of Hurricanes
The power of the hurricane is measured through the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale which was incepted in 1971 by Herbert Saffir, a United Nations civil engineer, and Robert Simpson, director of National Hurricane Center.
The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale spreads hurricanes into five categories with 1 being the weakest, and 5 being the strongest. Hurricanes that fall under category 3, 4, and 5 are usually called major hurricanes. Here are the different categories of hurricanes.
Category 1 hurricane – Wind speed can range from 74 mph to 95 mph. This is a very dangerous hurricane that can cause damage to trees and home.
Category 2 hurricane – Wind speed can range from 96 mph to 110 mph. This is an extremely dangerous hurricane that can cause extensive damage to trees, roads, homes, and other property. The hurricane usually causes a near-total power outage for several days to weeks.
Category 3 hurricane – Wind speed can range from 111 mph to 129 mph. This hurricane causes devastating damage to roads, trees, homes, and other property. Most of the time, electricity and water supply is affected and is unavailable for several days to weeks after the hurricane.
Category 4 hurricane – Wind speed can range from 130 mph to 156 mph. This hurricane usually causes catastrophic damage to roads, homes, trees, and other property. Most areas become uninhabitable without power and water for several days, weeks, or months.
Category 5 hurricane – Wind speed can range from 157 mph and higher. This is the most powerful hurricane that can destroy everything in its path. Areas become completely uninhabitable with no power or water for weeks or months.
How Are Hurricanes Formed?
Hurricanes are formed when low-pressure systems gather energy and heat as they start to absorb warm water from the ocean near the equator. The evaporation from the ocean gives them the power which creates twisting winds around the center, which is usually called the eye.
How And Why Are Hurricanes Named
In order to keep them easily recognizable, the World Meteorological Organization gives hurricanes and tropical storms male and female names. Different names are used for different regions usually reflecting the local naming customs of the region. For example, the letters Q, U, X, Y, and Z are never given to Atlantic Hurricanes. When a tropical cyclone becomes deadly or is damaging in nature, its name is usually retired.
Famous Hurricane Storms
We’ve started to compile facts on the most famous hurricanes over time, and here are pages dedicated to them:
Name Some Of The Most Devastating Hurricanes In History
Although it is hard to judge a hurricane by the damage it causes due to monetary inflation over the years, reliable records still have information available on deadliest hurricanes that took many lives. Here are some of the deadliest hurricanes recorded in history.
Hurricane Mitch – This hurricane took 11,374 lives in November 1998 in Central America, South Florida, and Yucatan Peninsula.
Hurricane Fifi-Orlene – This hurricane took 8,200 lives in September 1974 in Jamaica, Mexico, and Central America.
Hurricane Flora – This Hurricane killed 7,103 people in September/October 1963 in Florida and the Caribbean.
Unammed Hurricane (1900) – This hurricane reportedly killed 6,000 to 12,000 people in September 1900 in Texas and the Caribbean.
Unammed Hurricane (1928) – This hurricane killed 4,075 people in September 1928 in Peurto Rico, Florida, and the Lesser Antilles.
More Fun, Extreme, and Informative Hurricane Facts
Now that you know the basic and most obvious facts about hurricanes, lets venture into facts that are interesting, fun, and informative at the same time.
- Hurricanes are usually formed in the tropical places of the world
- Hurricanes start to lose their power as they enter the land
- On top of violent winds and heavy rain, hurricanes can also produce high wave and widespread flooding as well as tornadoes
- The wind flow of hurricanes in the northern hemisphere of the world is counterclockwise, while in the southern hemisphere, it is clockwise
- The eye of the hurricane can range from 2 miles in diameter to 200 miles. But on an average, an eye of the hurricane is usually no more than 30 miles
- Hurricanes are tracked by weather satellites and radar installed close to land
- In 1970, the Bhola cyclone in Bangladesh took as many lives 300,000 lives
- A hurricane is made up of an intense tropical storm with powerful winds and heavy rain
- Cyclone, typhoon, and a tropical storm are names given to hurricanes in various parts of the world. for example, a storm in Northwest Pacific which is near Japan is called typhoon, while a storm near the Indian Oceans is called cyclones. Hurricane name is given to the storms that are formed near the Atlantic or Northeast Pacific.
- Hurricanes are developed on oceans where the water is warm and they use this water as their energy source
- Coastal regions face the most danger from hurricanes
- The weather inside the eye of the hurricane is usually very calm
- Hurricanes have killed over 2 million people in the last 200 years
- In 2005, the hurricane Katrina killed more than 1800 people in the United State and caused damage of $80 billion to property. 80% of all New Orleans was flooded due to the hurricane.
- Hurricanes can develop wind speeds of over 160 mph and can release 2.4 trillion gallons of rainwater a day
- Over a quarter of pet owners don’t develop a hurricane preparedness plan for their pets.
- The hurricane season begins on June 1 in the Atlantic, and May 15 in the Pacific. Both seasons end on November 30
- When hurricanes enter the land, they produce strong winds, heavy rains, and heavy waves that can easily tear apart trees, damage cars, houses, and other property. These waves of the hurricane are usually referred to as storm surge.
- The only difference between a hurricane and a tropical storm is the wind speed of the two. The tropical storms can develop wind speeds between 36 to 47 mph whereas hurricanes can develop wind speeds of 74 mph and above.
- When the National Hurricane Center started giving names to storms in the year 1953, all hurricanes were named with a female name. This tradition of giving only female names to hurricanes ended in 1978.
- 40% of all hurricanes that happen in the United States hit Florida.
- Typical hurricanes are about 300 miles wide but they usually vary in size
- The eyewall that surrounds the eye of the hurricane is composed of dense clouds that have the strongest winds in the storm. This area is also the most devastating part of the hurricane
- It is usually observed that the right side of the hurricane is the most dangerous part of it in terms of winds, tornadoes, and storm surge.
- A hurricane chooses its path depending on many complex atmospheric and ocean interactions including the absence and presence of other weather conditions. This is why it is often very hard to tell where the storm will be headed after it comes onto the land.
- Hurricanes cannot be easily tracked by looking at the eye. Even advanced systems cannot be trusted because hurricanes are immense systems that can change the pattern at any time according to weather conditions. Always be prepared to see changes in intensity, size, direction, and speed of a hurricane.
These are just a few facts of hurricanes. But these are enough to give you an idea about hurricanes. It is always a good idea to prepare for a hurricane during the season. There are many ways you can prepare for the hurricane such as buying things off from a hurricane grocery list, having essential supplies always stocked at home, and keeping your home prepped for an upcoming hurricane.