Sometimes an area of low pressure in the Atlantic or pacific oceans can end up turning into a hurricane. Hurricanes don't just start at the top of the strength chart, they work their way up.
Let's look at some of the conditions needed to form hurricanes. First, the water needs to be at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Our Atlantic basin hurricanes develop in areas where there are very light winds through deep layers of the atmosphere.
Then, there must be clusters of thunderstorms grouped together forming a tropical wave. These thunderstorms may become organized and an area of low pressure will form.
Many of our hurricanes start as areas of low pressure as far away as western africa. Hurricane reconnaissance airplanes are sent out to find the center of low pressure, and if one is found, it is classified as a tropical depression.
Tropical depressions are numbered. When winds around the center reach 39 miles per hour, it is given the title tropical storm and assigned a name from our current year's hurricane name list.
Once wind speeds reach 74 mph, it is called a hurricane. Protect Your Financial Accounts during Hurricane Season
Typically an eye is seen at the center of the hurricane where no clouds are present and there is little wind due to sinking air.
Not all hurricanes have well defined eyes. The eye wall is the fiercest part of the hurricane with the strongest winds in the system. As the hurricane strengthens, it moves through different categories, 1 through 5. A category 5 hurricane can cause as much damage as an F-3 tornado
Storms fluctuate in intensity frequently throughout their lives and many storms do not even make landfall before dissipating.