When do hurricanes occur?
Hurricane season lasts from June 1st to November 30th each year. There have been instances where storms formed in May and December, however this is rare.
Where do hurricanes occur?
Hurricanes can form almost anywhere in the Tropical Atlantic Basin from the West Coast of Africa near the Cape Verde Islands, to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. There are several prime areas where development can occur depending on the time of year and necessary environment conditions. The most common places for hurricanes to develop in the Atlantic Basin include:
The Gulf of Mexico: With water temperatures ranging from 85-90° during hurricane season, this is a very favorable region for hurricane development. Hurricanes from this region generally move into the Gulf Coast states from Texas to Florida.
The Western Caribbean: Favorable upper winds make this area a hot-spot for hurricane development during the season. Its cousins, the Eastern and Central Caribbean, are usually not favorable areas due to hostile upper level winds. Hurricanes from this region generally move into the Gulf Coast area, or along the East Coast.
Cape Verde Islands: The granddaddy of hurricane hot-spots, this is the most common area for hurricane development starting in August, when water temperatures become warm enough to support tropical formation. Hurricanes from this region generally travel west towards the Caribbean and East Coast of the United States.
What is the difference between a Hurricane WATCH and a Hurricane WARNING?
A hurricane WATCH means hurricane conditions are possible in the specified area of the WATCH, usually within 36 hours.
A hurricane WARNING means hurricane conditions are expected in the specified area of the WARNING, usually within 24 hours.
What is the difference between a Tropical Depression, Tropical Storm and a Hurricane?
Tropical Depression (Winds up to 39 mph): Rough seas, small craft warnings. Barometric pressure is estimated at 29.73?.
Tropical Storm (Winds 39 – 73 mph): Heavy seas, capsizing of smaller vessels, flooding of low areas, heavy rain. Storm surge is less than 4′ above normal. Barometric pressure is less than 29.53?.
Hurricane Category 1 (Winds 74 – 95 mph): Light damage to buildings. Damage to un-anchored mobile homes, poorly constructed signs. Some coastal flooding with minor pier damage. Storm surge is generally 4-5′ above normal. Barometric pressure is between 28.94? and 29.53?.
Hurricane Category 2 (Winds 96 – 110 mph): Some damage to building roofs, doors and windows. Considerable damage to mobile homes. Flooding damages piers and small craft in unprotected moorings may break their moorings. Some trees blown down. Storm surge is generally 6-8′ above normal. Barometric pressure is between 28.50? and 28.91?.
Hurricane Category 3 (Winds 111 – 130 mph): Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings. Large trees blown down. Mobile homes and poorly built signs destroyed. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by floating debris. Terrain may be flooded well inland. Storm surge is generally 9-12′ above normal. Barometric pressure is between 27.91? and 28.47?.
Hurricane Category 4 (Winds 131 – 155 mph): More extensive curtain wall failures with some complete roof structure failure on small residences. Major erosion of beach areas. Terrain may be flooded well inland. Tornado threat inland. Storm surge is generally 13-18′ above normal. Barometric pressure is between 27.17? and 27.88?.
Hurricane Category 5 (Winds 155 mph and greater): Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures. Severe Flooding with major damage to lower floors of all structures near the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas may be required. Storm surge is generally greater than 18′ above normal. Barometric pressure is below 27.17?.
What is the "eye” of a hurricane?
This is the small area of clear weather that is denoted by calm winds and even sunny skies. It is the center of the lowest pressure within the hurricane.
What is the "eyewall” then?
This is the "wall” of the "eye” of the storm and is where the most severe weather and highest sustained winds are generally reported. It is the absolute last place you want to be in a hurricane.
What is storm surge?
This is the term for the large dome of water that accompanies the landfall of a hurricane. It is responsible for 90% of all deaths that occur.
Why do we name tropical storms and hurricanes?
Quite simply, because it is easily for residents in the affected area to recognize, remember and understand.
How are tropical storms and hurricanes named?
The National Hurricane Center created the list of names we use to name hurricanes. Names are rotated on a six year basis, with a rotating list of male and female names. Whenever a particularly powerful storm hits land, (such as Hurricane Andrew in 1992), the name is then retired from the list to avoid confusion in the future.
How many storms generally occur in a given season?
The average number of named storms (depressions or tropical storms) each season is between 9-10. The average number of hurricanes that form each season is between 5-6, of which 2-3 of these will generally become major hurricanes.