The first grade class from Avoca Central School was featured in this week’s Weather Wisdom. The question was, “how do hurricanes happen?”
First ingredient needed for hurricane development is warm ocean water. When ocean waters are at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit, this helps fuel storm development. 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.
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.