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Hurricane
[Hurricane Damage] [Hurricane Flood Mold] [Hurricane Warning] [Hurricane Watch]

Origin of the Hurricane

“HURRICANE derived from “Hurican”, the Cari god of evil... Alternative spellings: foracan, foracane, furacana, furacane, furicane, furicano, haracana, harauncana, haraucane, harrycain, hauracane, haurachana, herican, hericane, hericano, herocane, herricao, herycano, heuricane, hiracano, hirecano, hurac [s]n, huracano, hurican, hurleblast, hurlecan, hurlecano, hurlicano, hurricane, hurricano, hyrracano, urycan, hyrricano, jimmycane, oraucan, uracan, uracano ”.


Meteorology

The name ‘Hurican’ was derived from the Maya ‘Hurakan’, one of their creator gods, who blew his breath across the chaotic water and brought forth dry land.


About Hurricanes

A hurricane is a powerful storm that measures several hundred miles in diameter. Hurricanes have two main parts. The first is the eye of the hurricane, which is a calm area in the center of the storm. Usually, the eye of a hurricane measures about 20 miles in diameter,  and has very few clouds. The second part is the wall of clouds that surrounds the calm eye. This is where the hurricane's strongest winds and heaviest rain occur.


Inside a Hurricane

Hurricanes are born over warm, tropical oceans. Hurricanes are fueled by water vapor that is pushed up from the warm ocean surface, so they can last longer and sometimes move much further over water than over land. The combination of heat and moisture, along with the right wind conditions, can create a new hurricane.


What is a hurricane, typhoon, or tropical cyclone?

The terms hurricane and typhoon are regionally specific names for a strong "tropical   cyclone".  A tropical cyclone is the generic term for a non-frontal synoptic scale low-pressure system over  tropical or  sub-tropical water with organized convection (i.e. thunderstorm activity) and definite cyclonic surface with circulation.

 Hurricanes have winds that exceed 64 knots (74 mi/hr) and rotate counterclockwise about their centers in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern. Typhoons, on the other hand, is a violent, low pressure tropical storm that occurs in the Western Pacific Ocean. Typhoons are similar to hurricane. They are given names that are usually associated to people who have the same personalities with them.       

Tropical cyclones with maximum sustained surface winds (note that its definition depends upon who is taking the  measurements) of less than 17 m/s (34 kt, 39 mph) are called "tropical depressions". (This is  not to be confused with the condition  mid-latitude people get during a long, cold and grey winter wishing they could be closer to the equator.) Once the tropical cyclone reaches winds of at least 17 m/s, they are typically called a 'tropical storm" and assigned a name. If winds reach 33 m/s (64 kt, 74 mph), then they are called a hurricane (the North Atlantic Ocean, the Northeast Pacific Ocean east of the dateline, or the South Pacific Ocean east of 160E); a typhoon (Northwest Pacific Ocean west of the dateline); a "sever tropical cyclone" (the Southwest Pacific Ocean west of 160E or the Southeast Indian Ocean east of 90E); a severe cyclonic storm" (the North Indian Ocean); and a "tropical cyclone" (the Southwest Indian Ocean).

The World Meteorology organization guidelines suggest utilizing a 10 min. average to get a sustained measurement. Most countries utilize this as the standard. However the National Hurricane Center (MHZ) and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) of the USA use a 1 min. averaging periods to get sustained winds. This difference may provide complications in comparing the statistics from one basin to another as using a smaller averaging period may slightly raise the number of occurrences.


What is a major hurricane? What is an intense hurricane?

“Major Hurricane” is term utilized by the National Hurricane Center for hurricanes that reach maximum sustained one minute surface winds of at least 50 m/s (96 kt, 111 mph). This is the equivalent of category 3,4, and 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

The term “Intense Hurricane” is unofficial, but is often used in the scientific literature. It is the same as “Major Hurricane”.

How Hurricanes Move

In the Northern Hemisphere, hurricane winds blow around the eye in a counterclockwise direction. They blow clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. Hurricane eyes travel at speeds of 10 to 15 miles (16 to 24 kilometers) per hour. Most hurricanes move westward at first and become larger and stronger as they travel. Then they turn from the equator and pick up speed. Most hurricanes turn east after they reach temperate latitudes, where they are called extra-tropical storms. Many end as weak storm centers over cool oceans.

Formation of Hurricanes

A cyclone that eventually reaches hurricane intensity first passes through two intermediate stages known as tropical depression and tropical storm. Hurricanes start over the oceans as a collection of storms in the tropics. The deepening low-pressure center takes in moist air and thermal energy from the ocean surface, convection lifts the air, and high pressure higher in the atmosphere pushes it outward. Rotation of the wind currents tends to spin the clouds into a tight curl; as the winds reach gale force, the depression becomes a tropical storm. The mature hurricane is nearly circularly symmetrical, and its influence often extends over an area 500 mi (805 km) in diameter.

As a result of the extremely low central pressure (often around 28.35 in./72 cm but sometimes considerably lower, with a record 25.91 in./65.8 cm registered in a 1958 typhoon) surface air spirals inward cyclonically (counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere), converging on a circle of about 20 mi (30 km) diameter that surrounds the hurricane's “eye.” The circumference of this circle defines the so-called eye wall, where the inward-spiraling, moisture-laden air is forced aloft, causing condensation and the concomitant release of latent heat; after reaching altitudes of tens of thousands of feet above the surface, this air is finally expelled toward the storm's periphery and eventually creates the spiral bands of clouds easily identifiable in satellite photographs.

The upward velocity of the air and subsequent condensation make the eye wall the region of heaviest precipitation and highest clouds. Because the outward increase in pressure is greatest there, the eye wall is also the region of maximum wind speed. By contrast, the hurricane eye is almost calm, experiences little or no precipitation, and is often exposed to blue sky. Temperatures in the eye are 10°F to 15°F (5°C–8°C) warmer than those of the surrounding air as a result of sinking currents at the hurricane's core.

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