As hurricane season begins and we prepare for yet another potentially devastating storm, it would be wise to educate ourselves on some interesting facts about hurricanes. From their deceptively calm cores to their massive size, these natural wonders offer us plenty of information and entertainment.
These interesting hurricane facts will keep the water cooler conversations going this summer: 1. Hurricane Dorian stalled for more than 24 hours over the Bahamas before finally moving northward and dissipating.
1. Hurricanes can spawn tornadoes
Hurricanes are well-known for their powerful winds and rainstorms, but they can also generate tornadoes. According to LiveScience, hurricanes’ “strong vertical shear,” or sudden changes in wind speeds and directions with changes in height, creates swirling air currents which have the ability to produce tornadoes – this phenomenon being more likely when landfall occurs than otherwise.
Hurricanes and tornadoes begin as warm, moist air rising up from tropical oceans. Once a storm reaches peak strength, its center may calm and become peaceful – this area is called its eye, usually surrounded by thick clouds forming its wall.
Wind and rain that surround the eye are dangerous, while its center remains safe. While many mistake the calm, peaceful spot as an oasis during a hurricane’s onslaught, this area actually presents one of its greatest dangers – due to a powerful hurricane’s strong winds pushing seawater inland in form of storm surge, which has killed half or more of all people killed by hurricanes since 1960.
Hurricanes typically feature two eyes, and their shape can provide meteorologists with valuable information about the strength of a storm. A ragged or asymmetrical eye may indicate a hurricane struggling to gain strength; conversely, smooth round eyes indicate powerful storms with good organization.
According to the Smithsonian Institution, hurricanes are capable of becoming so intense that they can engulf much of Jupiter’s atmosphere. But for this to be possible, at least one hurricane must have reached category five status, meaning it has maximum wind speeds exceeding 157 mph.
Hurricanes play an essential part in Earth’s complex weather system by helping maintain equilibrium between temperatures and moisture on our planet. Without these giant fans, the sun would likely heat too much of the tropics, rendering large areas inhabitable for plant and animal life.
2. Hurricane/Typhoon John is the longest-lived tropical cyclone on record
Hurricanes are massive storms that produce deadly winds, towering waves and torrential rainfall. Their power can produce fear-inducing winds while simultaneously inspiring wonder, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on hurricane facts and updates. From their humble origins to their extraordinary power, hurricanes possess much to be proud of. Born over warm ocean waters and capable of developing into hurricanes when conditions allow, these massive swirling monsters have much going for them. While cyclones cannot live on land due to lack of space available for growth, once passing over land they lose strength quickly. The National Weather Service keeps tabs on them all through various names used across different regions; tropical cyclones in Asia may be known as typhoons while those found in North America as hurricanes – each have different names used throughout.
Hurricane/Typhoon John held the record for longest duration ever and traveled the furthest distance. Starting as a tropical depression in the eastern Pacific on 11 August 1994 and peaking as a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale on 26 August, John traversed over 13,000 miles to dissipate on 11 September 1994.
John was distinguished by its complex track. It blasted into the Hawaiian Islands before proceeding towards central Pacific where it stalled and performed a hairpin loop while weakening. Finally it crossed over into northern hemisphere where it strengthened back up as Hurricane John.
Tropical Cyclone Freddy may or may not surpass Hurricane/Typhoon John’s record, but it appears likely. The South Indian Ocean storm has already devastated Madagascar, Mozambique and Zimbabwe before heading further inland and setting records in terms of Accumulated Cyclone Energy which measures storm power over time. Freddy was chosen by the World Meteorological Organization to honor an Australian meteorologist who died in 2023 and who introduced giving tropical cyclones names so people remember them easier.
3. Hurricane Dorian stalled over the Bahamas for more than a day
Hurricanes are immense storms that form by drawing heat from the ocean and turning it into energy for their winds, making them extremely strong–and dangerous! Since hurricanes cannot survive on land, their strength will diminish once they hit shore, an effect known as wind shear that may result in significant damages.
Dorian was a Category 5 hurricane that hit The Bahamas hard with destructive rainfall and winds, leaving over 77 people dead and thousands of homes destroyed in its path. Additionally, Dorian caused over $5.1 billion in damages across Florida and southeastern North Carolina making it the costliest natural disaster in Bahamian history.
Dorian was a powerful tropical storm that stalled for over 24 hours in the northern Bahamas, unleashing torrential rainfall and high winds to cause flooding, storm surge, and widespread damage on Great Abaco and Grand Bahama Islands.
Dorian became stationary over the Bahamas after its steering ridge of high pressure collapsed, allowing its westward motion to be gradually diminished and eventually stop altogether. At that time, maximum sustained wind speeds reached 185 mph during this timeframe.
Hurricane Dorian had become unusually weak over populated areas when it stalled over them on Friday morning, possibly due to shifting currents that pushed it west but would shift north by Tuesday – similar to how drivers slow down when making sharp corners, in order not to lose control.
Dorian finally weakened to a Category 2 hurricane on September 3, moving northwestward parallel to Florida’s east coast before turning northeast and making landfall near Cape Hatteras on September 6. Once it hit United States soil, Dorian quickly transitioned into an extratropical cyclone before dissipating over Greenland on September 10. Dorian became the fourth named storm, second hurricane, and first major hurricane of 2019 Atlantic hurricane season; his name was retired from rotating naming lists after killing at least 74 people and causing $5.9 billion worth of damages between The Bahamas and southeastern North Carolina.
4. Hurricane Harvey caused more than 60 inches of rain
Hurricanes are powerful storms with immense rainfall. Their intensity makes them very dangerous to people and animals alike, potentially causing flooding and destruction in its wake. To stay safe during a hurricane event, here are some important points you should keep in mind.
Hurricane Harvey brought record rainfall when it made landfall in August 2017, devastating parts of Texas and forcing many to evacuate their homes. The Category 4 hurricane produced more than 60 inches in some locations.
Harvey caused heavy downpours due to both its large size and prolonged stall after making landfall, effectively turning into an atmospheric conveyor belt by drawing water up from the Gulf of Mexico and dispensing it back onto land again – leading to devastating inland flooding as a result of Harvey.
Storm surge waters were so intense they submerged homes completely. The most severe flooding took place along Brazos, Colorado, and Guadalupe Rivers in southeast Texas – marking it as the most widespread and severe flood event ever seen due to hurricane in this part of Texas.
One of the most striking features of Hurricane Harvey was its prolonged stay over Houston. Over three days, its intense winds brought relentless torrential rainfall resulting in Houston being submerged by water and forcing thousands to evacuate their homes.
This storm brought not only heavy rainfall but also tornadoes and significant coastal community damage. This was the first major hurricane to strike this part of Texas since nearly 10 years, making its most intense landfall since 1961.
At times, facts about hurricanes may seem terrifyingly unpredictable. That’s why it is essential to stay up-to-date with weather news and develop ongoing hurricane preparation plans with AccuWeather Premium+ for advanced and hyperlocal severe weather alerts 24/7.