Ten Facts About Hurricanes That Will Blow You Away

Library of Congress; Currier and Ives lithograph

By Terri Bryce Reeves

These spectacular but dangerous weather phenomena actually play a vital role in regulating temperatures and moisture around the globe. They are Mother Nature’s air conditioning system, moving hot tropical air toward the poles. Without them, some areas of the planet would be too hot for life to exist.

Here are some other interesting facts about these one-eyed monsters:
Black and white picture of the Mayan God Huracan
Mayan God Huracan
1. The word “hurricane” originated from the Mayan
God “Huracan,” a devilish creature with one leg
and a serpent for the other. Huracan is said to be
in charge of storms, lightning, and evil in general.
2. Near the end of the 19th century, Clement
Wragge, a colorful Australian forecaster,
began pioneering ways to name storms including
politicians he didn’t like, calling them “bags of air” or saying they “wandered aimlessly.”
3. Today, the World Meteorological Organization is responsible for naming tropical cyclones; they try to be a bit more diplomatic. They also don’t take requests because wanting to be named for something that kills people just isn’t cool.
4. For hurricanes to form, water must be at least 200-feet-deep and
80 degrees or more to a depth of 150-feet.
5. Since oceans are typically warmest in September, we have more
hurricanes this month than others. With its extensive coastline,
Florida, unfortunately, leads the nation in hurricane landfalls.
6. The eye of the storm can be the most dangerous part for those caught out
in the ocean. Waves inside the eye converge from all directions and can form
erratic rogue waves with huge crests.
7. The deadliest natural disaster in the U.S. was the Great Galveston hurricane
in 1900—approximately 8,000 were killed. Among them were 90 orphans tied with a rope to 10 nuns, who were attempting to save them from the rapidly rising floodwaters.
8. Most often, people die from storm surges, which can be over 20-feet-high and can extend for many miles.
9. Hurricanes can be deadly for coral and sea creatures that can’t swim quickly to deeper waters such as the seahorse, sea turtles, crabs and oysters.
10. Hurricanes are a terrific source of natural energy. They can create up to 600 trillion watts of electricity – enough to power the U.S. for three years.
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