An image of Hurricane Sandy taken by the GOES-13 satellite on October 28. This category 1 hurricane was huge, spanning a horizontal distance of about one-third the US continental landmass. The storm came onshore in New Jersey, and gradually moved northeast. The storm disrupted the lives of tens of millions in the eastern US, doing billions of dollars in damage, resulting in over 30 deaths. Visit the National Hurricane Center's webpage on Hurricane Sandy for details.
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Image courtesy of NASA

Hurricanes (also known as Tropical Cyclones)

Hurricanes form in the tropics over warm ocean water. The storms die down when they move over land or out of the tropics. At the center of the rotating storm is a small area of calm weather and clear skies called the eye.

Hurricane damage is often caused by flooding from storm surge. Hurricanes have strong waves and wind that cause damage too. And there is often tons of rain. Not all storms are the same. Large and strong storms cause much more damage than small storms. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is one way to describe the size of a hurricane.

As a hurricane moves, scientists try to figure out where it will go. They watch hurricanes with weather satellites and use computer models to predict its path. Each hurricane is given a name. Calling the storm by its name helps people spread the word that a storm was on its way.

Hurricanes usually happen at a particular time of year called hurricane season. The timing of hurricane season is different in different regions of the world. In the North Atlantic, hurricane season is from June 1st to November 30th each year.

Last modified April 29, 2016 by Jennifer Bergman.

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