Beware Hurricane Season! Last week, the East Coast endured Hurricane Irene, and here on the STACKS, we tested your knowledge of hurricanes with a Hurricane Trivia Quiz. How much do you know about these brutal storms? Read on for the answers.
- When does the Atlantic hurricane season begin and end?
The Atlantic hurricane season officially runs from June 1st – November 30th. Since the Pacific Ocean is larger and warmer, its season is longer and more intense. And some areas are so active, there is no official season – these storms sprout up virtually year-round.
- Many of the worst hurricanes in U.S. history have all taken place within the same two weeks of every year. What is this peak date?
The average peak date is Sept. 10th, with many of the worst in U.S. history within 2 weeks of this date. For example, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on August 29, 2005. Hurricane Floyd hit on September 16, 1999.
- Why do East Coast U.S. hurricanes typically only happen in late summer?
A hurricane forms over really warm ocean water of 80 degrees or more. That’s why on the East Coast, they are more common in the warm waters of the Caribbean, and only after the summer has had a couple months to heat up the ocean water to its warmest temperatures. Basically, the sun acts as a giant heater, baking the ocean. The water evaporates, rises, cools, and falls back down as rain. This creates a thunderstorm. The thunderstorm becomes the building block of a hurricane, and it swirls into strong winds, increasing its power as it travels.
Some scientists say hurricanes help control the Earth’s climate by hauling heat around the planet, moving it out of the tropics and toward the poles.
- How fast can hurricanes travel?
Hurricanes can travel at speeds from 75-200 miles per hour. Just think, 65 miles per hour is a fast moving car, 90 miles per hour is a really fast baseball pitch, and 500 miles per hour is about as fast as an airplane goes!
- What is the difference between a hurricane and a typhoon?
They are basically the same kind of storm, but tropical storms that form in the Atlantic Ocean are called hurricanes, and tropical storms that form in the western part of the Pacific Ocean are called typhoons.
- Which is worse: a Category 1 storm or a Category 5 storm?
Scientists classify hurricanes by strength, from Category 1 to Category 5. Category 1 has winds around 74 mph, while a Category 5 has over 155mph. Yikes!
- How do hurricanes get their names?
The World Meteorological Organization is in charge of naming hurricanes. In the U.S., the National Hurricane Center created six lists of hurricane names that go alphabetically from A-Z, alternating boys' and girls' names. So each year, we run through the alphabet with these predetermined names. And every 6 years, the list starts over again.
- What will the next hurricane's name be?
We just had Hurricane Irene. So the next hurricane will be named Jose. Then Katia, then Lee, then Maria, then Nate. And so on.
- Which past hurricane name will never be used again?
Some of the most destructive hurricane names have been “retired” and will never be used again. Hurricane Katrina was replaced by the name Katia, and Floyd was replaced by Franklin.
This is only the tip of the iceberg – there is so much information out there on the insane world of hurricanes. But after going through Hurricane Irene last week, I think I need a break! Leave your thoughts about hurricanes in the Comments below.
- Ratha, Stacks Writer