Q:

How do hurricanes end?

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Quick Answer

Hurricanes end when they lose their source of energy, often by traveling over land or over cold water. Hurricanes require a steady supply of warm, moist air to fuel the rotation that keeps the storm coherent, and when that source is cut off, the cyclone quickly uses up what energy it has and dissipates.

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How do hurricanes end?
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Full Answer

Hurricanes form over the open ocean, when warm, calm air rises away from warm waters. This creates low pressure near the surface, and surrounding air rushes in to fill the void. This constant movement sets up the trademark rotation of a tropical storm, allowing it to build stronger winds and denser clouds. The longer a hurricane spends over warm waters, the stronger it becomes.

As soon as a hurricane makes landfall, it can no longer rely on a warm updraft to power its engine. The stored energy inside a hurricane can power it for some time, allowing these storms to do damage even far inland. However, the instant the surface conditions no longer provide the fuel it needs, the hurricane begins to die. In some cases, a hurricane's demise can be hastened by powerful wind shear, strong winds in opposing directions that disrupt the storm's rotation and cause it to fail quickly.

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