What Is A Hurricane?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 11,382
    Science expert Emerald Robinson explains what a hurricane is and how it forms.

    Emerald Robinson: Hi, I'm Emerald Robinson, and in this What is video, we're going to discuss nature's most massive storm, the hurricane.

    A hurricane, also called a typhoon or cyclone is a tropical, rotating storm with winds that consistently blows seventy four miles per hour or more.

    Hurricane season begins when the ocean's temperatures are high. Warm, moist air rises from the ocean's surface to create a small rainstorm. As cool rain falls from this storm, heat escapes into the air creating a strong updraft that pulls more moist air into the clouds, which makes a bigger thunderstorm. Winds blowing across the ocean's surface get pulled into this updraft, dragging even more warm, moist air into the storm's center.

    As the storm grows, it becomes influenced by the Earth's rotation, and starts to spin counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. This rotation increases the storm's energy, and causes an eye to form, a vertical axis of warm, rising air. Winds high above the earth's surface set the storm on its path, many times towards land.

    Hurricanes cause a lot of damage. Most of the damage either comes from flooding or high winds. Hurricanes are classified based on wind speed. Category 1 Hurricanes have speeds as high as 95 miles per hour, while Category 5 hurricanes have wind speeds in excess of 150 miles per hour.

    There are about 100 hurricanes every season. Since 1950, each has been given a unique name. The names are always in alphabetical order. If a hurricane causes a lot of destruction, its name is retired, and replaced with one beginning with the same letter. Do you share a name with a hurricane?