The name hurricane has its
origin in the indigenous religions of old civilizations.
The Mayan storm god was named Hunraken. A god
considered evil by the Taino people of the Caribbean was
A hurricane is a type of
tropical cyclone, that is an organized rotating weather
system that develops in the tropics. Tropical cyclones are
classified as follows:
Tropical Depression - An
organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a
defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 38
mph (33 knots) or less.
Tropical Storm - An
organized system of strong thunderstorms with a
defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39
to 73 mph (34-63 knots).
Hurricane - An intense
tropical weather system with a well-defined
circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64
knots) or higher. Hurricanes rotate counterclockwise
in the Northern Hemisphere.
and storms, while generally less dangerous than
hurricanes, still can be deadly. The winds of tropical
depressions and tropical storms are usually not the
greatest threat. Heavy rains, flooding and severe
weather, such as tornadoes, create the greatest threats
from tropical storms and depressions. A tropical storm
becomes a hurricane when winds reach 74 mph.
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. Hurricanes rotate in a
counterclockwise direction around an "eye."
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.
Hurricanes are rated using
The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.
The scale gives an estimate of the potential property
damage and flooding expected along the coast if a
hurricane were to strike.
In the western Pacific,
hurricanes are called "typhoons," and similar storms in
the Indian Ocean are called "cyclones".