Where do hurricanes come from?

Once a long time ago in Greece, hurricanes and violent storms were thought to come from the Hecatoncheires. These were three gods, each wielding one hundred hands and fifty heads. They were believed to use this menagerie of body parts to create the destructive powers of a severe storm.

Combined with the Kyklopes brothers, who were the gods/artists who painted the skies with thunder and lightning, the Greeks thought that these severe storms were a punishment of sorts when the gods were angry, or even the results of a battle going on between multiple gods.

It is easy to see how such a story could be believed when you have seen the ultimate destructive capabilities of a hurricane. While the development of an actual hurricane storm is not near as dramatic, it is actually just as interesting.

The Atlantic ocean hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30, while the Eastern Pacific hurricane season is from May 15 to November 30. Tropical hurricanes form only over warm ocean waters of 80 degrees Fahrenheit and above. This is why hurricanes always begin nearest the equator.

Interestingly, the storm's original direction from the equator predicts the direction of the spin of the hurricane. Storms starting in the North spin counterclockwise, while storms starting in the South clockwise. This is all due to how the Earth is rotating on its axis.

The formation of a hurricane is quite simple and complex. It involves the warm moist air from the ocean, which naturally rises upward, much the same as it does in your home when you are trying to heat in the winter. This transference of warm air into the sky creates a low pressure scenario just above the oceans surface.

The warm air that has risen to the sky eventually cools, creating clouds. The continuous motion of warm air rising and cooling creates a swirling motion as new air molecules begin to get pulled into the warm stream. This is where things become a little unknown, or unpredictable if you will.

This occurrence sometimes can create a huge storm in a matter of hours, days, or just fizzle out and have no repercussion at all. This is what makes predicting a hurricane so difficult. Currently we can predict semi-successfully within a two or three day warning to residents within the hurricanes path, but many storms still take us by surprise.

The key to improving early prediction lies within the storms inner-core, and thankfully we are getting closer and closer everyday to cracking that code!

This post was inspired by Focus Earth.