What Makes a Hurricane? The Guide to Hurricane Classification.

What Makes a Hurricane? The Guide to Hurricane Classification.

Hurricane season started on June 1. The classic visual of a hurricane involves extremely high winds, torrential downpours, uprooted trees, and even building destruction. However, there is a little more to a hurricane than high winds. With instruments such as a Kestrel weather meter, we can accurately measure elements of hurricanes such as wind speed and even help predict their arrival.

What is Classified as a Hurricane?

The simplest description of a hurricane is when the sustained wind speed during a tropical storm reaches 74 MPH. Hurricanes form in the Atlantic basin, which includes the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. The entire storm can consist of hundreds of thunderstorms and can grow to 1000 km (621 miles) in diameter.

The Saffir Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is used to measure the strength of a hurricane. These are the 5 categories of hurricanes along with their wind speeds:

  • Category 1: Winds 74 to 95 MPH (minor damage)
  • Category 2: Winds 96 to 110 MPH (Extensive damage such as uprooting trees and breaking windows)
  • Category 3: Winds 111 to 129 MPH (Damage is typically devastating, can break doors)
  • Category 4: Winds 130 to 156 MPH (Damage of catastrophic levels, can tear roofs off of buildings)
  • Category 5: Winds of 157 MPH or higher (Worst damage, can level buildings)

Essentially, the higher the category of hurricane, the more potential damage can occur as a result.

The Right Conditions for a Hurricane

Just like your summertime pop-up thunderstorm, conditions need to be just right for a hurricane to occur. They require heat and moisture with a warm layer of water on the surface of the ocean. While you can't necessarily predict the track of a hurricane with 100% accuracy, you can gain insight into conditions that can result in a hurricane.

When the hurricane arrives, there are tools that meteorologists use to measure wind speed and more.

Measuring Hurricane Wind Speed with Kestrel Weather Meters

Hurricanes are large and dangerous storms, which means they must be tracked with care and as accurately as possible. Meteorologists rely on highly accurate devices such as the Kestrel weather meter to measure hurricane wind speed. This is one of the key factors for categorizing and tracking hurricanes.

Another important component is barometric pressure. This demonstrates how the weight of the atmosphere is shifting. As barometric pressure falls, it typically means a storm is arriving within the next 12 to 24 hours. A significant drop in barometric pressure can signify a major storm such as a hurricane.

The Kestrel weather meter tracks wind speed and barometric pressure to help meteorologists predict hurricanes. It provides insight on how rapidly the storm is approaching or if it's getting stronger or weaker. This is one of the most reliable devices on the market to help warn the public of impending hurricanes while helping them to prepare for any potential damage.

Hurricane season lasts through November 30. Consider investing in a Kestrel weather meter to keep yourself in the loop of storms of all sizes.

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