Hurricanes -- Tropical Storms
About the Hurricanes -- Tropical Storms Lesson
This lesson introduces students to hurricanes.
• To be able to describe the hurricane intensity scale.
• To be able to describe the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning.
• To be able to describe the naming process for hurricanes.
• To be able to describe the significance of Hurricane Katrina.
Hurricanes are tropical storms that are severe and are formed in the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, the southern Atlantic Ocean, and the eastern Pacific Ocean. Hurricanes get heat and energy from warm ocean waters. A hurricane’s power is increased by evaporating seawater.
Hurricanes rotate in a counter-clockwise direction and have winds that are 74 miles per hour or higher. The wind speed of a hurricane tells us how it will be classified. The hurricane intensity scale is also called the Saffir Simpson Scale.
There are five categories for hurricanes:
• Category 1 - Winds 74-95 miles per hour
• Category 2 - Winds 96-110 miles per hour
• Category 3 - Winds 111-130 miles per hour
• Category 4 - Winds 131-155 miles per hour
• Category 5 - Winds greater than 155 miles per hour
The official hurricane season in the US runs June 1-November 30, but hurricanes can happen at other times as well. Hurricanes are named in order to help identify and track them as they move across the ocean. Since there can be many hurricanes present at one time, naming them helps keep track of which hurricane is being discussed.
There are six different lists of names used for hurricanes. These lists are rotated every year. One name is selected for each letter of the alphabet except for Q, U, and Z. The only time a name is removed from the list is if a hurricane is extremely deadly or costly. If it is, the name is retired, and a new one is chosen to take its place.