Weather 101: How hurricanes form

Weather 101: How hurricanes form

ARKLATEX (KSLA) - Hurricanes are one of the deadliest weather systems out there.

Where the storms form, however, can alter the name. In the Atlantic they are called hurricanes, typhoons in the Pacific, and cyclones in the Indian Ocean.

No matter where, the storms can cause highs winds, flash flooding, torrential rainfall, and storm surges.

Last year went down as one of the top ten most active hurricane seasons. According to Colorado State University, this year could be an above average active year for hurricanes as well.

The most active months are August and September.

Hurricanes start with thunderstorms. Temperatures cool with height create an unstable atmosphere. This instability increases the strength of these thunderstorms.

Tropical cyclones need three ingredients.

  • Moist air over the surface
  • Light upper-level winds
  • Ocean temperatures of at least 80 degrees

Tradewinds will then move this group of thunderstorms westward and the Coriolis effect will spin the system counterclockwise. The way we measure the strength of tropical systems and hurricanes depends on the wind speed.

  • Tropical Depression: Up to 38mph
  • Tropical Storm: 39-73mph
  • Category 1 Hurricane: 74-95mph
  • Category 2 Hurricane: 96-110mph
  • Category 3 Hurricane: 111-129mph
  • Category 4 Hurricane: 130-156mph
  • Category 5 Hurricane: 157mph or higher

Storm surges are one of the deadliest impacts of a hurricane. This is when there is an extreme rise of water due to a storm and can impact areas around the coastline.

Just because a storm doesn't have a name or is not a hurricane, doesn't mean it can't be deadly. Any tropical system can cause damaging winds, flash flooding, and heavy rainfall over multiple days.

Once a hurricane or tropical system makes landfall, it loses its warm gulf waters and will gradually weaken.

You can track tropical systems right on the Stormtracker 12 weather app.

Once you download, go to layers, turn on the tropical tracks, and the app will show you the storm and where it will track.

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