We hear about hurricanes every year, but how do hurricanes work? Most hurricanes that form in the Atlantic Ocean start as thunderstorms off the coast of Africa. As they travel across the tropical waters around the equator, they pick up moisture and energy, eventually crashing into land where they quickly fall apart.
Before they break up though, hurricanes create a lot of problems for people in their path. The sustained winds in a category 1 hurricane can be as low as 75+ miles per hour and for a category 5, they can be upwards of 155+ miles per hour! These winds can cause huge amounts of damage and storm surges, giant walls of water up to 18 feet tall, and flying debris. Those 3 factors (wind, water and debris) mixed together is a recipe for danger.
Tornadoes often spin out of hurricanes as an added bonus. The spinning action of a hurricane is the result of the Coriolis effect. Because hurricanes are so massive in size, the relatively tiny Coriolis effect is capable of accumulating rapidly, forcing the storm into a rotating pattern.
There is a long standing myth that the Coriolis effect has a direct effect on the direction of the water flowing down your sink or toilet. This is only a myth. In the case of the sink or toilet, the size of the water container is simply too small to cause any rotational preference. Sink and toilet draining directions are determined by the water’s motion in the container or in the case of a toilet, by the direction of the flush jets.
There are 40-50 of these giant storms manifesting around the world every year. It’s a good thing we live far away from where they hit, although because weather is such an amazing thing, we in the Midwest will no doubt be effected by residual rain and wind from the hurricane.
If you found this interesting, check out some of these related articles.
Tell us what you're thinking by leaving a comment below...