What You Need To Know About Hurricanes

By Ryan M.

Palm Trees Being Blown by Hurricane
To Be Fully Prepared, One Must Have Knowledge
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” (Sun Tzu) Knowing more about hurricanes is important because they are, in a sense, our enemy. After this post you'll finally understand what they are talking about on the news when they say, "tropical depression," "category 3" or other technical term.

Why do they Name Hurricanes?
Up till the mid-20th century we named hurricanes based on which number hurricane it was in the year it occurred. It changed because it got too confusing when discussing 2 hurricanes that happened at the same time. We officially started using girl names in 1953. It wasn't till 1978 that boy's names were also used. The names are recycled through every 6 years, and particularly bad storms have their name retired. And it's not NOAA that names them, it's the World Meteorological Organization that takes care of the job.

How do Hurricanes Start?
Ever wonder where a hurricane comes from? Like most major problems, they start small. They are born as a "tropical disturbance," then they grow from there.

Tropical Disturbance- When a moving column of warm air clusters with thunderstorms.
Tropical Depression- Winds start spiraling around the eye of the hurricane, between 25 and 38 mph.
Tropical Storm- Winds greater than 39 mph.
Tropical Cyclone (Hurricane)- Winds greater than 74 mph. By this phase a lot has happened, the storm has reached 50,000 ft high and 125 miles across.

What do Hurricane Categories Mean?
So someone tells you that there's a category 4 hurricane that's about to hit the coast. What should your reaction be? Here's a chart to help you figure that out:

Category        Wind Speed                           Damage at Landfall
1 74-95 Minimal
2 96-110 Moderate
3 111-130 Extensive
4 131-155 Extreme
5 Over 155 Catastrophic

What is the Difference between a Hurricane, Typhoon, and a Cyclone?
All you need to know is that they are the same thing! Here's a table to explain that they are named different things in different places of the world:

Name Where it's Used
Hurricane Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, Central and Northeast Pacific
Typhoon Northwest Pacific
Cyclones Bay of Bengal and Arabia Sea
Tropical Cyclone Southwest Inida Ocean
Severe Tropical Storm Southwestern Pacific and Southeastern India Ocean

I hope this information has been useful and interesting. By knowing what we're up against we increase our chances of survival.
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