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What is a Hurricane?

A hurricane can simply be defined as a tropical revolving storm with winds in excess of 64kts.  Hurricanes develop in the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern North Pacific Ocean.

What causes a hurricane to develop and what are its requirements for its development?

Season: Our seasons are regulated by the amount of solar energy received at the earth’s surface. Longer daylight hours mean that more solar energy reaches the earth’s surface on a clear day which allows for more heating to take place. The daily heating and high humidity favors the development of clouds which in turn leads to low pressure developing. For this reason the hurricane season starts June 1st and ends November 30th with its peak season being in September.

Temperature: In the Tropics, the sun is always high in the sky. Hurricanes need warm water to develop.  Air in contact with the sea warms and expands faster than the surrounding air causing an area of low pressure to develop. The ocean water must be over 80 degrees for hurricane development to be favorable.

Location: The Tropics lie in a region of relatively low pressure which influences the development of this system.

Characteristics of a Hurricane.

  • It moves counterclockwise because they are low pressure systems.
  • It has winds in excess of 64kts.
  • It brings heavy rain and severe thunderstorms.
  • In order for a hurricane to develop there must to be some pre-existing disturbance in the weather.
  • It has very low pressure in the centre and higher pressure all around.
  • It has a calm area in its centre called the EYE.