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What You Need To Know About Hurricanes

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Hurricanes! The word elicits fear from many who have experienced how severe these storms can be. In fact, hurricanes are the world’s most deadly storms.

Of course, when a hurricane is careening toward your home, the only thing you want to know about it is its speed, the wind velocity, what category storm it is, how much rain should one expect, and the height of the storm surge.

But there is a whole lot more about a hurricane you should know including:

  • Why it’s a hurricane and not a typhoon
  • Why do hurricanes spin
  • When is the hurricane season
  • How and why hurricanes are named
  • The difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning
  • The definition of what a hurricane category is
  • Why the hurricane eye wall is dangerous
  • Why do hurricanes have stronger sides
  • What’s the difference between a storm surge and a storm tide
  • What makes hurricanes worst than tornadoes
  • How do hurricanes develop
  • Why is the Gulf of Mexico ideal for the development of hurricanes
  • Why hurricanes are more dangerous when they slow down
  • What is the difference between a tropical disturbance, a tropical depression, a tropical storm, and a hurricane

Why It’s A Hurricane And Not A Typhoon

Although a hurricane and typhoon are two different types of storms, there are similarities. For example, both are tropical cyclones that pack winds of at least 74 miles per hour.

What makes them different is the location on the earth where they are created and wreck their havoc. Typhoons develop in the northwestern portion of the Pacific Ocean. Hurricanes develop in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean, and in the central and northeast Pacific.

Why Do Hurricanes Spin

Winds travel to and from the poles. In the Northern Hemisphere, winds moving north are redirected toward the east and in the southern hemisphere winds moving south are diverted toward the west. So a hurricane spins counterclockwise north of the equator and clockwise south of the equator.

When Is The Hurricane Season

Although hurricane season for the Atlantic and central Pacific starts June 1 and ends on November 30, the most active period for hurricanes in the Atlantic is early-to-mid-September.

How And Why Hurricanes Are Named

Prior to the 1950s, tropical storms were not assigned names. Instead, they were identified by the year they happen. However, people became aware that due to multiple numbers of storms per year, it would be necessary to name them.

In 1953, the International Committee of the World Meteorological Organization began naming hurricanes. At first, female names were used. However, by 1978 both male and female names were used for storms in the Northern Pacific. A year later, names for storms in the Atlantic went co-ed.

The National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Hurricane Center keeps track of each named storm.

The Difference Between A Hurricane Watch And A Hurricane Warning

A watch classification is made when a hurricane or tropical storm may develop within a 36-hour period. A warning is given when it appears that a tropical storm could become a hurricane within 24 hours.

The Definition Of A Hurricane Category

The category of a hurricane indicates how strong it is. Categories are based on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which sets a storm’s impact. A Category 1 hurricane features winds from 74 to 95 miles per hour. One should expect a Category 1 storm to cause minor damage. The most devastating hurricanes are identified as Category 5 storms. They include winds that are equal to or greater than 155 miles per hour and cause catastrophic damage.

Why The Hurricane Eye wall Is Dangerous

The eye wall of a hurricane is the area that directly surrounds the eye. The eye is the calm area at the center of the storm. The most damaging winds and rainfall occur in the eye wall.

Why Hurricanes Have Stronger Sides

The strongest winds of a hurricane are on the storm’s right side. The right side is defined on the general direction that the rotating storm is moving. If the storm is in the northern hemisphere and is traveling west, its right side is to the north. If the storm is in the northern hemisphere and is moving north, then its right side is to the east. The right side of the storm has the highest winds because its motion is contributing to the wind speed.

So a stationary hurricane that has winds clocked at 90 miles per hour would have winds on its right side of up to 100 miles per hour. If the storm begins to move at a speed of 10 miles per hour, its left side will have winds of only 80 miles per hour.

What’s The Difference Between A Storm Surge And A Storm Tide?

High winds of an approaching tropical storm or hurricane pushes seawater onshore and causes a storm surge. The surge is above and beyond the height of a normal astronomical tide. A storm tide is the height of the surge plus the height of the normal tide. So assuming that the normal high tide is 2-feet above sea level and the arriving hurricane generates a storm surge of 15 feet, then The storm tide is 17 feet.

What Makes Hurricanes Worst Than Tornadoes

It is true that the strongest tornadoes have higher winds than the strongest hurricanes. Tornadoes peak at around 207 miles per hour and hurricanes peak at more than 131 miles per hour. Still, hurricanes cause more damage because of their size, duration, and the assortment of ways it causes damage including storm surge, wind, rainfall, and floods.

How Do Hurricanes Develop

Conditions necessary for the creation of a hurricane include warm tropical waters of or beyond 80°F (or 27°C), low wind shear, and a pre-existing disturbance.

The developing hurricane gets its energy from the warm water. It needs low wind shear because it can’t endure winds blowing at different speeds or directions. And, it needs a pre-existing weather feature like a tropical wave or an area of low pressure to focus the squalls.

Why Is The Gulf of Mexico Ideal For The Development Of Hurricanes

The Gulf consists of very warm water.

Why Hurricanes Are More Dangerous When They Slow Down

A slow moving hurricane has more time for its winds to affect an area and the amount of rainfall it produces is directly due to its speed of movement. The slower the speed, the greater the rain.


It is evident that hurricanes are complex weather conditions that can leave a region totally devastated and without power. If you live in a region of the United States where hurricanes are common, then you should consider adding a stand-alone generator to your home. A generator assures that your home will never lose power regardless of the intensity of the storm.

APElectric offers a wide range of stand-alone generators from such manufacturers as Cummins, Westinghouse, Kohler, Briggs & Stratton, Generac, Firman, and Guardian. They have a large inventory to choose from. Many models feature Wi-Fi so that you can monitor and control the generator from anywhere on Earth. The website also includes a generator sizing calculator and offers information on how to select the proper generator for your situation.

As storms get stronger, it’s best to be prepared. Visit the APElectric website and browse their supply of generators. Purchasing one can give you peace of mind during crazy storm seasons.