With all this hurricane action going on, I decided to dig in and find out some information about them and get a better understanding of the terms being used by the meteorologists on television.
And it just so happens, I am in Atlanta to babysit my grand puppy, where rumor has it, Hurricane Irma and I could become acquainted. I like to know what I am dealing with.
A hurricane begins as a loosely formed group of storm clouds that come together over the ocean. From all that I have read, the conditions have to be apropos for this to take place.
In many ways, the perfect storm — which makes three happening at one time Harvey, Irma, Jose — a rare event.
A quick description: The moisture rises from the warm ocean surface. As the moisture rises it cools and forms large cumulonimbus clouds. Those big tall storm clouds.
When the warm ocean water vapor condenses to form these clouds, it releases heat into the air. Like in a house, hot air rises and is pulled into the clouds. That air helps create the cluster of thunderstorm within the clouds. These columns of clouds begin to grow taller and larger.
Bear with me. This will be the condensed Laura version.
As the thunderstorm gains in size, the air at the top of the cloud column cools and becomes unstable. As the heat is released from the cooled water vapor, making the air pressure higher and causing winds to move away from that area.
This movement causes more thunderstorms and the winds in those storm cloud columns to begin to spin and pick up speed. Creating the circular motion, much like water going down a drain.
You will hear the term “eye of the storm” or the “calm center.” This is in the very middle of the storm, literally. It is a lot to understand, and too much to write on this blog, however, what I described above forms a spinning circular column that leaves an opening. It is the calmest part of the hurricane cyclone.
To give you some perspective, they are saying the eye of Hurricane Irma is over 30 miles wide.
The “eye walls” is another term I have heard. It is the walls that form around the eye of the storm. It is the most dangerous part of the hurricane because of the strength of the air being forced upward there.
Hurricane severity is defined by categories ranking. The rank is determined by Wind Speed (mph), Damage at Landfall, and Storm Surge (feet). spaceplace.nasa.gov
- 74-95 mph Mild 4-5
- 96-110 mph Moderate 6-8
- 111-129 Extensive 9-12
- 130-156 Extreme 13-18
- 157 or higher Catastrophic 19+
Today I am thankful
- I tracked down most I what I need for my hurricane survival kit. A copy of The Wizard of Oz, wine, red sequined high tops, and a few other miscellaneous items.
- I got time by the pool before they took everything away to be stored till after the storm.
- It’s been a day of writing and reading.
What I want to know is who names the hurricanes. I read at livesscience.com How Do Hurricanes Get Their Names? by Sarah B Puschmann, those names are assigned for the purpose of public safety. Huh? People respond better and with more interest when a storm has a name according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Who by the way, assign the names.
Right now six years worth of names has already been planned out. As luck would have it, in 2020, there will be a Hurricane Laura.
In all seriousness, I do have a plastic bin filled with water, first aid kit, flash lights, extra batteries, food, toiletries, things for the grand puppy, a full tank of gas, and I have taken other precautions that I have read about online. I am as prepared as I can be.
Atlanta is being told that by the time Irma reaches here, she will have calmed to a category 1.
To my family and friends in Florida, be safe. My thoughts and prayers are with you
affectionately yours, Laura