Amazing Hurricane Facts for Kids

Hurricanes are enormous storms that can be both interesting and scary. They form over warm ocean waters and can cause a lot of damage to coastal areas. Let’s look deeper into these incredible storms and learn more about their characteristics and the impact that they have.

What is a Hurricane?

What is a Hurricane? A hurricane is a type of storm known as a tropical cyclone. These storms start as tropical depressions. Tropical depressions are areas of low-pressure with thunderstorms. When the ocean water is warm enough, usually above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the moist air above it rises and creates a swirling storm. As the storm gets stronger, it evolves into a tropical storm with higher wind speeds. If it intensifies further, it becomes a hurricane.

How Do Hurricanes Form?

Hurricanes require specific conditions to form and grow. Warm ocean waters provide the energy that fuels hurricanes. This allows them to grow stronger. The moist air above the warm ocean surface rises quickly. When that happens it creates an area of low-pressure. This process pulls in more warm air from the ocean. Adding more warm air causes the storm to spiral and grow. The Coriolis force, which is a result of the Earth’s rotation, causes the storm to spin and gives hurricanes their circular shape.

Parts of a Hurricane

Eye of the Hurricane

At the center of a hurricane is the eye. The eye is a calm and quiet area. It is usually circular and can be 20-30 miles wide. That is huge! Surrounding the eye is the eye wall. That is where the strongest winds and heaviest rain occurs.

High Winds and Heavy Rainfall

Hurricanes are characterized by their powerful winds. Those winds can reach 74 miles per hour or more. These winds can cause a huge amount of damage to buildings, trees, and buildings. The heavy rainfall associated with hurricanes can lead to flooding, which makes it important to stay indoors and away from areas that are likely to flood during a storm.

Storm Surges and High Waves

When a hurricane makes landfall, it can push a massive amount of ocean water towards the coast. This is known as a storm surge. A storm surge can lead to coastal flooding and erosion. The high waves caused by hurricanes can cause more damage and they are also dangerous to anyone near the shoreline.

Where Do Hurricanes Happen?

Hurricanes can occur in different parts of the world. They are known by different names depending on their location. 

Atlantic and Eastern Pacific

Hurricanes in these regions are referred to simply as hurricanes.

Western Pacific

Hurricanes here are called typhoons

Indian Ocean

In the Indian Ocean, these storms are known as cyclones.

Famous Hurricanes 

Hurricane Katrina

One of the most devastating hurricanes in 2005 was Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast of the United States. It mostly affected New Orleans, Louisiana. It caused a large amount of flooding and damage to roads and buildings.

Bhola Cyclone

This powerful storm struck Bangladesh and India in 1970. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in history. It was estimated that about 300,000 people died.

Staying Safe During a Hurricane 

If you live in an area where hurricanes can happen, it is important to be prepared. Being prepared will keep you and your family safe. 

Stay Informed

Listen to weather forecasts and updates from the National Hurricane Center to stay informed about the storm’s progress and potential harm it could case.

Prepare Your Home

Board up windows, secure outdoor furniture, and gather essential supplies such as food, water, batteries, and a battery-operated radio. Having a disaster plan in place can help you act quickly if you need to evacuate.

Evacuation

If authorities recommend or order evacuation in your area, follow their instructions right away. Move to higher ground and stay away from flood-prone areas to avoid being caught in rising waters.

Fun Facts About Hurricanes

  • Hurricanes are named in alphabetical order. They alternate between male and female names. If there are a lot of hurricanes during a season, they also use names from the Greek alphabet like Alpha, Beta, and Gamma.
  • The first storm of the year begins with the letter A. Then it moves through the alphabet with each storm.
  • The eye of a hurricane is surrounded by the eye wall. The eye wall has the storm’s most intense winds and rainfall.
  • Hurricanes are known for their incredibly fast winds. They can reach speeds higher than 74 miles per hour.

Hurricane Seasons Around the World 

Different parts of the world have specific times when hurricanes are most likely to happen.

Atlantic Hurricane Season

Runs from June 1 to November 30. The peak activity usually occurs from late August through September.

Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season

Similar to the Atlantic season, this season runs from May 15 to November 30. Hurricanes in this region impact countries like Mexico and parts of Central America.

Western Pacific Typhoon Season

Typhoons can occur year-round in this region but happen the most from July to November. These affect countries in southeast Asia. 

Indian Ocean Cyclone Season

Primarily from April to December with the peak season usually happening from late October to mid-December.

The Science Behind Hurricanes 

Understanding the science behind hurricanes helps us appreciate their power and behavior. 

Warm Ocean Waters

Hurricanes require sea surface temperatures to be at least 80°F to give the necessary energy for them to form and become powerful

Moist Air

When moist air is over warm ocean water it allows hurricanes to develop. As warm air rises it creates the conditions for thunderstorms and low-pressure systems.

Coriolis Force

The Earth’s rotation causes hurricanes to spin in a counter-clockwise direction in the northern hemisphere. It spins in a clockwise direction in the southern hemisphere.

The Most Dangerous Part of a Hurricane 

The eye wall of a hurricane is the most dangerous area. It surrounds the calm eye in the center. The eye wall contains the strongest winds and heaviest rainfall. It brings significant risks to anyone caught in its path.

Historical Hurricanes

Throughout history, hurricanes have left a lasting impact on communities around the world. Hurricane Andrew struck South Florida in 1992. It caused extreme damage and made people start to build stronger buildings to protect themselves from future hurricanes. The Galveston Hurricane of 1900 was considered the deadliest hurricane in U.S. history. This storm caused many injuries in Texas due to its powerful winds and storm surge.

Tropical Storms and Storm Surges 

In addition to strong winds and heavy rainfall, hurricanes also bring storm surges. Storm surges are like giant walls of water that can flood coastal areas. These surges happen when the powerful winds of a hurricane push ocean water towards the land. This can lead to flooding and damage to buildings and roads along the coast.

Hurricanes are powerful storms that can be both amazing to learn about and dangerous to experience. They form over warm ocean waters and bring strong winds, heavy rain, and storm surges. By understanding how hurricanes work and taking steps to stay safe, we can protect ourselves and our community from these natural disasters. Always remember, it’s important to listen to weather forecasts and follow the advice of experts to stay safe during hurricane season.

Free Hurricane Worksheet

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