Formation of Hurricanes
Florida is near the tropics making the state very vulnerable to hurricanes. Being informed and understanding hurricanes is essential and if you are a business owner you will want to keep your building safe. Florida has a history with hurricanes and living in South Florida you need to understand the types of weather conditions we have.
Hurricanes and Their Formation
A Hurricanes is giant powerful storm that produces torrential rainfall and extreme wind speeds. It’s the most violent storm on Earth. Hurricanes are also known as cyclones or typhoons. Hurricanes draw heat from warm, moist ocean air and release it through condensation of water vapor in a collection of thunderstorms (Hurricanes - Engines of Destruction, 2014). Hurricanes will only form over ocean water of at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit and is only classified as a hurricane when the storm has continuous extreme wind speeds of at least 74 mph. The developing low-pressure center takes in the moist air and thermal energy from the ocean’s surface. Heat transfer lifts the air and high pressure higher in the atmosphere. (The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed, 2014). Hurricane formation and its development always starts with a tropical disturbance.
Tropical disturbance is a crowd of thunderstorms with very little to no wind circulation in a low pressure area in the atmosphere, where surface winds are coming together. A tropical disturbance can sometimes be created by cold fronts that make their way down to tropical areas. Tropical disturbances often grown and as the storm continues and winds begin to circulate, it turns into a tropical depression (Hurricane Life Cycle, 2014).
When a storm becomes organized and begins to circulate, it is called a tropical depression. They call it a tropical depression because it has low or depressed air pressure in the center of the storm. Lower air pressure means stronger winds reaching up to 38 miles per hour. When the tropical depression strengthens and wind speeds reach more than 38 miles per hour, the tropical depression becomes a tropical storm (Hurricane Life Cycle, 2014).
Tropical storms have extreme low air pressure in the center, spiral rain bands and strong winds. Tropical storms have wind speeds ranging from 39 mph 73 mph. Tropical storms are given official names once they reach these wind speeds. Tropical storms rely on warm, moist air from the ocean. They usually weaken when the storm hits land because they do not have the oceans moist and warm air (Hurricane Life Cycle, 2014).
Once a storm exceeds wind speeds of 74 miles per hour it is considered a hurricane. Hurricanes have 5 categories. See below.