Why Do We Have Hurricanes?

Hurricanes form over warm ocean water when the air is cooler above. Winds must be at the surface of the ocean and spiral air inward for the hurricane to form.

A hurricane is a large storm that begins in the ocean and can grow to be 600 miles across with wind speeds reaching over 200 mph. A hurricane can last for over a week, moving over the ocean quickly toward land where it slows down. Its power is increased by evaporation from sea water. Hurricanes rotate in a counter-clockwise direction around the eye.

The eyewall encircles the center and is where the strongest winds occur. It encloses the warm air in the middle known as the eye. The eye of the hurricane is the calmest part and is 20 to 30 miles wide. It has light winds and a cloudless sky.

Storm surges are the most dangerous part of a hurricane. The winds push water into a mound and upon reaching land can cause flooding. A storm surge is more likely to happen in an area where the ocean floor slopes. When a high tide occurs with a hurricane, a surge tide is created. Surge tides are very dangerous for islands and coastal areas.