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What is a hurricane and how does it form?

Of all the meteorological phenomena that form on Earth, hurricanes are probably one of the largest and most violent. It is a stormy system where a combination of different factors such as low pressure, winds or rain intervene.

From AgroCorrn we want to explain in detail what a hurricane is and how it is formed . In addition, we will discuss how they are classified according to their intensity and other factors and we will explain some of the most devastating cases that have been.

You may also be interested in: How Hurricanes Form: For Children

What is a hurricane

The truth is that the scientific term used to refer to common meteorological phenomena is tropical cyclone , which includes tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes (only when they have a warm core and reach 118 km / h at sea level ).

In the first place they are called tropical because they have their origin in the intertropical regions of the planet (they originate over the Atlantic Ocean and the Eastern Pacific Ocean) and the term cyclone refers to the fact that these types of storms have a direction of rotation in the sense clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counterclockwise in the South.

How do hurricanes form

The process of formation of a tropical cyclone (all the different types form the same) begins with an ocean surface temperature of at least 27ºC to at least 15ºC below it. Cyclones take this energy from the condensation of hot and humid air to rise above the oceanic surface, for this reason, they have a warm air core . This rise of air towards higher areas of the atmosphere causes an “air void” area to be created on the surface closest to the sea, that is, a low pressure area .

Immediately, this low pressure or “air void” zone is occupied by the surrounding cold air , which once occupies this new space, becomes warm and rises. As the warmer air rises, creating “air void” zones near the surface, the surrounding air revolves around you to reoccupy this “air void” zone, thus resuming the cycle.

Meanwhile this process, the warm air that has risen, cools and forms clouds. This creates a system of clouds and air that rotates, thanks to the heat of the ocean and water that evaporates from the surface, and in the center of this system the air is formed circulates in a calmer way and at low pressure. However, these systems weaken when they touch land, because they can no longer use the energy of the temperate oceans , that yes, when they enter land they are very devastating until they disappear.

In this way, tropical cyclones are formed, which when they reach 118 km / h are called hurricanes and can even reach more than 250 km / h.

In which categories is a hurricane classified?

Hurricanes are classified into 5 categories based on the intensity of their winds, the effects of waves, and their ability to produce floods. These are the different categories of hurricanes:

  • Category 1: winds between 118 and 153 km / h, but minimal capacity to produce damage on Earth.
  • Category 2: winds between 154 and 177 km / h, with a moderate capacity to cause damage.
  • Category 3: winds between 178 and 209 km / h, with extensive capacity to cause damage.
  • Category 4: winds between 210 and 250 km / h, with extreme capacity to cause damage.
  • Category 5: winds of more than 250 km / h, with catastrophic capacity to cause damage.

The most devastating hurricanes in history

It must be taken into account that the most catastrophic hurricanes in history do not have to be the ones with the fastest winds, we must also take into account their impacts depending on the environment and the areas they run through.

Although there is no consensus on which was the worst hurricane in history, if we take into account the death figures, the worst was undoubtedly The Great Hurricane of 1780 or Hurricane San Calixto that caused the loss of 22,000 lives in several Caribbean Islands. , like Martinique or Barbados.

If we look at the largest recorded, that was Hurricane Sandy in 2012 with up to 1,520 kilometers in diameter, surpassing the 1,480 kilometers of the previous record. But neither of these two was the fastest, but Hurricane Camille was , which reached 305 km / h. However, of all these, the one that caused the greatest economic damage was the famous Hurricane Katrina , as it hit the heart of New Orleans. It was estimated to have caused about $ 108 billion in property damage and more than 1,800 casualties.

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