Why Are Hurricanes Dangerous?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 9, 2020 2:54:54 AM ET

Hurricanes are dangerous because they have high winds, torrential rains and storm surges. Individually, these dangers can pose a threat to one's life and damage property, but they can cause widespread destruction when the forces are combined.

The storm surge often causes more damage than any other part of a hurricane. As a hurricane moves closer to the shoreline, winds force water toward the shore. When the storm reaches shallower waters near the coast, a great deal of water piles up. When a storm's eye lands, the force of the hurricane's winds push tons of water onto land that can easily destroy many structures.

During a hurricane's landfall, 5 to 10 inches of rain can often fall. Large storms or storms that move slowly can drop even more rain on an area. Hurricane rains can cause flooding that is not only limited to areas near where the storm made landfall, but can even affect areas hundreds of miles away.

Hurricanes can have winds that range from 74 to 155 miles per hour or more. Winds cause much of the structural damage done by a hurricane. High winds can uproot trees, knock down power lines and even make getting an accurate reading of their speed difficult by ripping anemometers, devices that measure wind speed, from their foundations.