A Hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone, a low pressure system, that generally forms in the tropics. A cyclone is accompanied by thunderstorms, and in the Northern Hemisphere, a counterclockwise circulation of winds near the earth’s surface.
Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage to coastlines and several hundred miles inland. Winds can exceed 155 miles per hour. Hurricanes and tropical storms can also spawn tornadoes and microbursts, create storm surges along the coast and cause extensive damage from heavy rainfall.
Hurricanes are classified into five categories based on their wind speed, central pressure, and damage potential. Category three and higher hurricanes are considered major hurricanes, though categories one and two are still extremely dangerous and warrant your full attention.
Hurricane season runs from June 1 until November 30 each year and while much attention is focused on the storms that start in the Atlantic Basin and move slowly westward toward the United States, it is very important to closely monitor and prepare for those storms that form in the Caribbean, the Bay of Campeche and the Gulf of Mexico. These storms can form and intensify quickly and, since they are closer to our area, can strike rather quickly.
For more information about hurricanes click here (for NOAA) or here (for NASA).