Monday, December 26, 2005


A hurricane is a severe tropical storm that forms in the North Atlantic Ocean, the Northeast Pacific Ocean east of the dateline, or the South Pacific Ocean east of 160E. Hurricanes need warm tropical oceans, moisture and light winds above them. If the right conditions last long enough, a hurricane can produce violent winds, incredible waves, torrential rains and floods. In other regions of the world, these types of storms have different names.

* Typhoon — (the Northwest Pacific Ocean west of the dateline)
* Severe Tropical Cyclone — (the Southwest Pacific Ocean west of 160E or Southeast Indian Ocean east of 90E)
* Severe Cyclonic Storm — (the North Indian Ocean)
* Tropical Cyclone — (the Southwest Indian Ocean)

Hurricanes rotate in a counterclockwise direction around an "eye." A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when winds reach 74 mph. There are on average six Atlantic hurricanes each year; over a three-year period, approximately five hurricanes strike the United States coastline from Texas to Maine. The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and ends November 30. The East Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15 through November 30, with peak activity occurring during July through September. In a normal season, the East Pacific would expect 15 or 16 tropical storms. Nine of these would become hurricanes, of which four or five would be major hurricanes. When hurricanes move onto land, the heavy rain, strong winds and heavy waves can damage buildings, trees and cars. The heavy waves are called a storm surge. Storm surge is very dangerous and a major reason why you MUST stay away from the ocean during a hurricane.

Categories of Hurricane

Category 1 : Winds 73 to 95 mph. Low-lying coastal roads inundated, small craft in exposed anchorages torn from moorings, some pier damage.
Category 2: Winds 96 to 110 mph. Coastal roads and low-lying escape routes cut off by rising water two to four hours before hurricane center arrives. Marinas flooded. Some damage to windows, doors and roofing. Major damage to mobile homes.
Category 3: Winds 111 to 130 mph. Low-lying escape routes cut off by rising water three to four hours before hurricane center arrives. Mobile homes destroyed. Structural damage to small buildings. Serious coastal flooding
Category 4: Winds 131 to 155 mph. Low-lying escape routes cut off by rising water three to five hours before hurricane center arrives. Major damage to lower floors of buildings near shore from flooding, battering by waves and debris. Collapse of roofs on small residences.
Category 5: A hurricane at 155 mph or above is a level 5 hurricane. This is the strongest type of hurricane and is possible of doing very high damages to roads, seacoasts, and home.


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