Q: What is a hurricane?
A: A hurricane is a tropical cyclone with winds that have reached a constant speed of 74 miles per hour or more. Hurricanes typically form over warm ocean waters near the equator and can cause significant damage to coastal cities and towns.
Q: How are hurricanes named?
A: The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) maintains six lists of names for Atlantic hurricanes, which rotate every six years. Names are chosen in alphabetical order and alternate between male and female names.
Q: When is hurricane season?
A: Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean runs from June 1st to November 30th each year. However, storms can occur outside of this time frame.
Q: How do hurricanes form?
A: Hurricanes form when warm ocean water heats the air above it, causing it to rise rapidly. As this moist air rises, it cools down and forms clouds. The process continues as more warm air rises, creating an area of low pressure below. Winds begin to spiral inward towards this low-pressure area, forming a rotating system known as a tropical depression. If wind speeds reach 39 mph or higher, the storm becomes a tropical storm and receives a name by the WMO. Once winds reach 74 mph or greater, the storm becomes classified as a hurricane.
Q: How are hurricanes measured?
A: Hurricanes are measured using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale which ranks them on categories one through five based on their sustained wind speed. Category one has winds between 74-95 mph while category five has winds above 156 mph.
Q: What should I do if there’s a hurricane warning?
A: If there’s a hurricane warning issued in your area you should take immediate action to protect yourself and your property by following instructions from local authorities such as evacuation orders if given. You should also be sure to secure loose items around your home like outdoor furniture, bring in any outdoor plants or decorations, and have an emergency supply kit ready with essentials like food, water, and first aid supplies.