Michael Bryan

Written by Michael Bryan

Modified & Updated: 11 May 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett

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Hurricanes are huge forces of nature. It can be destructive so we should know everything about it. To do that, here are some hurricane facts that will blow you away.

  1. Hurricanes are giant tropical storms that generate heavy rainfall with extremely strong winds.
  2. The wind speed of a Hurricane can exceed 252 kph, which is faster than an average car.
  3. The word “hurricane” comes from the Taino word “huricán”, who was the Carib Indian god of evil.
  4. Hurricane starts when warm seas rise into a cooling atmosphere and form into a tropical system.
  5. The hurricane orbits around the eye of the storm, meaning it is slightly calm within that radius.
  1. Since the year 1953, the World Meteorological Committee started to provide the lists of names for the hurricane.
  2. There’s only a limited number of hurricane names on the list that are often rotated every few years. But if the hurricane caused too much damage, meteorologists will not use the hurricane name again.
  3. Hurricane Harvey is one of the hurricanes to do some massive damage in Texas in August 2017. It caused catastrophic flooding and many casualties.
  4. Most hurricanes are harmless when they are still in the ocean, but once they move towards land, it can be extremely dangerous.
  5. Hurricane Maria was a devastating hurricane of Category 5. It battered Dominica, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico in September 2017. It has nearly 5,000 casualties.
  6. Hurricanes can also bring good things to the sea. It can break up bacteria and red tide. As it moves across the ocean, winds and waves toss the content of the water.
  7. Hurricanes also provide a Global Heat Balance for the earth. The earth tries to spread this warm wealth around the globe, and hurricanes are one of the ways to do this.
  8. Based on a study, the loss of foliage in hurricanes and other natural disasters helps long-distance seed dispersal. It can produce growth spurts in new plant life, which leads to a small increase in animal life.
  9. In terms of wind and storm surge, the right side of a hurricane is often stronger in the Northern Hemisphere.
  10. For the past 200 years, hurricanes have killed approximately 1.9 million people around the globe.
  1. The first time someone flew into a hurricane was in 1943, during the Second World War.
  2. Slow-moving hurricanes can produce more rainfall, damage, and flooding.
  3. An Australian weather forecaster named C. Wragge in the early 1900s is the same man who first gave names to hurricanes.
  4. The planet Jupiter has a hurricane that’s progressing for over 300 years. This is the large red spot on the planet, and this hurricane is bigger than the Earth itself.
  5. The season of Hurricane is from June to November, this is when the oceans are on its warmest temperature and most humid
Table of Contents

We measure hurricanes on a scale from 1 to 5.

Meteorologists use the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale to measure hurricanes. It runs from 1 to 5 rating category and based on sustained wind speed and potential property damage estimation. Miami engineer Herbert Saffir and Robert Simpson developed this scale in the 1970s.

A hurricane's size can reach up to 600-800 km in diameter. 

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Photo by Pixabay

The size of a hurricane can have a diameter of 600-800 km. It is usually determined by the diameter of a hurricane- and gale-force wind. However, this varies from storm to storm or per category.

The number of hurricanes increased over the years.

There are increasing numbers of Atlantic hurricanes. For example, 2005 was the worst season of the Atlantic hurricanes. Some researchers believe that the number of hurricane rises is due to the natural cycle. The first 30 to 60 years of the cycle are uncommon, while the next 30 to 60 years became more frequent. Many researchers think that global warming is responsible for it.

Hurricanes seem to be "evolving". 

There are incredible distances from hurricanes that hit the United States. Hurricanes start with a huge, complicated butterfly effect that starts over in Africa in the Sahara Desert. Hurricanes seem to be “evolving” as well, as there is an increase in hurricane counts and their strength.

Hurricanes are also described as cyclones and typhoons.

Hurricanes are also described as cyclones and typhoons depending on where they happen. If it’s in the Atlantic and Northwest Pacific Ocean they are hurricanes. In the Northwest Pacific, they are typhoons. If it’s in the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean, they are cyclones.

The Great Galveston Storm is the deadliest hurricane in U.S. in 1900.

Over 100 years ago, a strong hurricane hit Galveston, Texas, United States. The nameless hurricane holds the record for the deadliest hurricane in U.S. history. It caused the death of more than 8,000 people.

The strongest hurricane in the Atlantic is Hurricane Wilma.

Hurricane Wilma is the strongest Atlantic hurricane that has ever recorded, after reaching 882 MBAR in October 2005. This also made Wilma the strongest tropical cyclone around the earth outside of West Pacific.

The difference between tropical depression, tropical storm, and a hurricane is their strength.

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Photo from Pixabay

Although the scale, strength, and duration of each storm can vary considerably, each storm has to exceed such wind speeds before it becomes a hurricane. It needs to pass through several phases before it gets a name and category.

  • Tropical depression — winds reach 60 kilometers per hour.
  • Tropical storm — winds reach 60+ kilometers per hour and the storm gets a name.
  • Hurricane — winds reach 120 kilometers per hour or more and the hurricane needs to have a category.

There are 5 hurricane categories.

  • Category 1: Winds 120 to 152 km/h (Minor damage)
  • Category 2: Winds 153 to 177 km/h (Extensive damage — Can uproot trees and break windows)
  • Category 3: Winds 178 to 207 km/h (Devastating — Can break windows and doors)
  • Category 4: Winds 208 to 251 km/h (Catastrophic damage — Can tear off roofs)
  • Category 5: Winds 252 km/h or higher (The absolute worst that can destroy buildings)

There is a difference between a hurricane watch and hurricane warning.

Authorities issue a hurricane watch when they spot a hurricane within 36 hours. They issue a hurricane warning when the same conditions occur within 24 hours.

The longest hurricane lasted for 31 days.

Hurricane/Typhoon John passed through both eastern and western parts of the Pacific Ocean. This lasted for 31 days in 1994, and this is longer than any other hurricane.

The average number of hurricanes per year is 10.

There are about 10 tropical storms per year and about 6 of them transform into a hurricane that develops over the Atlantic Ocean,  Caribbean Sea, or the Gulf of Mexico from June to November. Fortunately, most remain over the ocean. However, approximately 5 hurricanes strike the United States coastline every 3 years.

There is a difference between Northern and Southern Hemisphere hurricanes.

When the Hurricane is in the Northern Hemisphere, the winds move counterclockwise around the center. While in the Southern Hemisphere, the winds travel clockwise due to the Coriolis effect. It is the Earth’s rotation that causes this.

Hurricanes can sustain itself for as long as a month.

A typical hurricane lasts between 12 and 24 hours. But like Hurricane John in 1994, it sustained itself for about a month. Hurricane John was the longest-lived hurricane ever noted, detected from the Eastern Pacific to the Western Pacific and for a total of 31 days crossing back to the Central Pacific.

A single hurricane can bring a trillion gallons of water. 

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Photo from Pixabay

Hurricane is a combination of wind and water and a single hurricane can bring trillion gallons of water. Hurricane Harvey poured about 24.5 trillion gallons of water back in September 2017.

The biggest storm recorded was Typhoon Tip in 1979.

Typhoon Tip was the biggest and most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded that affected Caroline Islands, Philippines, Korean Peninsula, Japan, Northeast China, Russian Far East, and Alaska in 1979. It had the strongest winds of 305 km/h (or a category 5 hurricane). If there is a bright side for Typhoon Tip, it only has 99 fatalities recorded compared to other weaker hurricanes that took thousands of lives.

The Bhola Cyclone took not less than 500,000 lives.

A hurricane that occurred in Bangladesh in 1970 (Bhola cyclone), took away the lives of more than 500,000 people. This hurricane is supposedly the worst, in terms of loss of life.

Voodoo practitioners dropped by 90% after Hurricane Katrina.

One of the most surprising impacts occurred in the voodoo community. Before, they have 3,000 voodoo practitioners then dipped to 300 after the storm.

Hurricane Sandy did not deter the guards of the Unknown Soldier's Tomb.

The Unknown Soldier’s Tomb (a monument dedicated to deceased U.S. service members whose remains are not identified) has guards since July 2, 1937, for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even Hurricane Sandy can’t stop the guards. The mighty guards of the post did not evacuate their positions during the hurricane even though they had the permission to hide. Instead, they voluntarily choose to stay in the middle of a hurricane.

Scientists are not certain what triggers a hurricane.

Science says that hurricane usually forms during warm temperatures. The moisture of the air over the ocean rises and creates a spiral effect with a lowered air pressure. But what confuses the scientist is that hurricanes do not always happen in the right conditions or what triggers a hurricaneFor now, hurricanes will just be there whenever they feel like it, making the researchers more puzzled.

Female hurricane names started in 1953.

The National Hurricane Center was the first organization to give hurricanes female names in 1953. But, after the feminist groups protested over the suspected slur that women alone are tempestuous and unpredictable, they began to use men’s names in 1979.

Hurricane Katrina and Harvey are the costliest hurricanes.

The storm damages of Hurricane Katrina and Harvey cost over $100 billion each. Interestingly, most hurricanes in category 5 occurred in the years 2000-2009. These include Isabelle (2003), Ivan (2004), Emily (2005), Katrina (2005), Rita (2005), Dean (2007), Wilma (2005), and Felix (2007).

Hurricanes named after a woman tend to be more dangerous.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana backtracked the previous 60 years of hurricane incidents and they found out that female hurricane names tend to be more dangerous and deadly because of the psychology behind it — female names are less threatening and sound less dangerous.

Hurricane activity follows an alphabetical trend.

The World Meteorological Organisation maintains a list of names assigned to tropical storms in alphabetical order. They can reuse the names after 6 years.

At least 40% of hurricanes in America hit Florida.

hurricane facts, key west, florida
Photo from Pixabay

Florida is the most hurricane-prone area in the United States. At least 40% of all hurricanes in America hit Florida, while the most vulnerable to hurricanes are the Atlantic Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Hawaiian islands.

You can survive a hurricane without leaving your house.

If you don’t have plans in evacuating your house, it is best to stay inside and look for a safe spot away from glass doors and windows because this might break during the storm. The safest places to hide is under the basement or inside the closet.

Always be prepared for a hurricane.

Hurricane preppers should store drinking water that can last for over a week, canned foods, batteries, battery-powered radio, flashlight, and a whistle to signal for help. But remember, having a strong and positive mindset is also one of the most important assets in survival.

There is a common misconception in opening the windows during hurricanes.

It is a common misconception to open the windows during hurricanes to balance the pressure in the house so that the windows won’t break (logically), but according to the experts, doing this “strategy” will only weaken the house by allowing more wind, unwanted debris and rain to come inside your area. The safest thing to do is hide in the most sturdy area of your house.

Hurricanes stop droughts.

May is the least active month for a hurricane and September is the most active. It is mostly observed during late summer and early fall months. But one advantage of a hurricane is it can bring an end to droughts.

Here are some hurricane names that have retired.

WMC provides names to hurricanes but if the hurricanes produce numerous fatalities, destruction and damages, the name will lead to retirement. Most popular hurricane names that already retired are Agnes, Audrey, Bob, Camille, David, Edna, Floyd, Gilbert, Harvey, Hugo, Igor, Irma, Janet, Katrina, Lenny, Maria, Mitch, Nate, Noel, Opal, Otto, Paloma, Rita, Sandy, Tomas, and Wilma.

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