Hurricanes are some of the most unpredictable weather phenomena on the plant. However, they are among the most deeply studied and understood acts of nature that we humans encounter.
The Atlantic hurricane season traditionally peaks during the late summer months when tropical waters are the warmest. Statistically speaking, we are not even at the traditional peak yet and have already broken statistical records.
Hurricanes, typhoons or cyclones all start out their life cycle pretty much the same. Tropical clusters of thunderstorms breathe in the warm, humid air of the tropics and are then lifted high into the atmosphere. The warm air turns into massive amounts of energy that eventually become hurricanes.
A tropical Storm has wind speeds of between 39 and 73 miles per hour. When winds reach 74 mph, the storm becomes a hurricane. Hurricanes are measured in categories of 1 to 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
Hurricanes also pack what is known as a storm surge.
Storm surge happens when winds from a hurricane force water at the shoreline. This is the number one killer from hurricanes. Researchers say that somewhere around 90 percent of all hurricane deaths happen because of storm surge.
No doubt that hurricanes are bad and destructive. But there is a reason for them. Hurricanes help move heat energy from the equator to the poles. This helps the earth maintain somewhat consistent temperatures.
While forecasting isn’t exact, it has gotten much better. Today, our forecasting models and data for a Storm is much better than they were just 10 years ago. The reality is that modern global advances in research, science and data is vital to creating better forecasts.