What is a Hurricane? Facts and Information

Here are some facts about hurricanes.

  • A hurricane is a tropical cyclone or storm, with winds stronger than 119 km per hour. They occur in the North Atlantic, and are known as typhoons or cyclones in other parts of the world.

  • Hurricanes were first given girl’s names in 1953, and then male and female names in 1979. The names are assigned several years ahead of time, and used again every few years.
  • A hurricane begins as several different winds merging together. Moist air, high pressure and thermal energy all help to increase the wind speed over time.
  • Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean is from June to November, with most occurring in September. On average, 6 hurricanes reach the coast of the US each year.
  • Hurricane Katrina, which hit Louisiana in 2005 was one of the deadliest and costliest hurricanes. It killed over 1,800 people and caused an estimated $80 billion of damage.
  • In October, 2012, Hurricane Sandy killed over 100 people in the US. The powerful storm forced airlines to cancel over 20,000 flights and cost the airline industry almost $200 million.
  • Most hurricanes move slowly at first, often at only 16 km per hour.
  • A hurricane is officially described as making landfall when the eye of the storm (the hurricane’s centre) reaches land, rather than the edge of the storm.
  • Hurricanes lose much of their strength once they reach the coast and move inland. However, they can also cause heavy rains, high waves, tornadoes and heavy flooding in low areas.
  • The heavy waves caused by a hurricane can toss large fish onto the beach. The sudden change in pressure can often cause their eyes to pop out.
  • The eye of the hurricane can measure anything from 3 km to over 300 km across. Although the eye is calm, the winds around the eye are some of the strongest.