Why do hurricanes form?

Scientists call hurricane tropical cyclones. However, you may also know them as typhoons or cyclones depending on where they form. Only tropical cyclones that form over the Atlantic Ocean or eastern Pacific Ocean are called “hurricanes.” No matter how they are called they all form the same way.

The reason of hurricanes is rapid pressure change. Hurricanes use moist air and warm as fuel to come up. Obviously, they form only over warm ocean water closer to the equator. When warm air rises upward there is less air near the surface. As a result, an area of low pressure occurs. Air from surrounding areas with higher air pressure pushes in to the low pressure area. The “new” air becomes warmer and moister and rises upward, too. The surrounding air swirls to replace the air that goes up. The whole system of clouds and wind spins and grows, fed by the ocean’s heat and water evaporating from the surface.


Interesting fact that storms spin different directions. Storms that form north of the equator spin counterclockwise and those that form south – spin clockwise. This difference is because of Earth’s rotation on its axis.
As the storm system rotates faster and faster, a vortex forms in the center. It is very calm and clear inside and the level of air pressure is very low. Higher pressure air from above flows down into the vortex.
There is a scale which is used for measuring the level of tropical cyclone’s danger. A tropical storm occurs when the winds in the rotating storm reach 39 mph. And when the wind speeds reach 74 mph, the storm is officially a “tropical cyclone,” or hurricane.


When tropical cyclones are no longer being “fed” by the energy from the warm ocean waters they hit the land. However, they often move far inland, dumping many inches of rain and causing lots of wind damage before they die out completely.
In order to be aware of the hurricanes and other natural phenomena that are moving to your region use weather app or try APIXU weather APIs that use the most accurate and relevant data.

Category: Api


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