The fifth grade class from Dana L. Lyon Middle School is featured in this week’s Weather Wisdom. Gage Thomas from group four asked, “How do hurricanes form?”
Ingredients needed for hurricane development include warm ocean water, thunderstorm activity, and low wind shear.
Unstable air temps cool with height, which this leads to convection and cloud development. We need moisture at higher levels to support thunderstorm activity, but we also need low wind shear. When ocean waters are at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit, this helps fuel storm development.
With a tropical depression, wind circulation is 38 mph or less. Next is a tropical storm with wind circulation of 39 to 73 mph. Then, the next stage is a hurricane which has wind circulation of 74 mph or more.
Once a hurricane makes landfall, it no longer has the warm ocean water to fuel it. Hurricanes weaken after hitting land but still creates damage in its path.