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Hurricanes 101

Top Questions on Hurricane Formation and Hurricane History in the United States


Every year, the National Weather Service receives an extraordinary number of requests for statistical information on hurricanes and tropical storm systems. Reporters, students, teachers, businesses, and emergency management professionals all have unique needs to gather and understand storm data. If you have ever wondered how hurricanes form, where hurricanes strike, and other facts about hurricanes, this is the place to start.

1. What Is a Hurricane Strike?

Sometimes, a hurricane will not make landfall, yet still be considered a hurricane strike.

2. What Is a Hurricane Strike Circle?

Hurricane Strike Circle
National Weather Service
A hurricane is considered a strike on land, without making landfall, if it falls withing the hurricane strike circle.

3. What Is a Tropical Cyclone?

Tropical cyclones are the names used for any hurricane, typhoon, or cyclone to form, depending on the location of the storm.

4. What Are Extra-Tropical Cyclones?

Hurricanes are low pressure systems. Extra-tropical cyclones are still low pressure systems, but with very different location than other tropical cyclones.

5. What Is a Super Typhoon?

A super typhoon can cause devastating damages. Find out just how strong a super typhoon is.

6. What Are the Possible Atlantic Hurricane Names?

Learn the names of every possible Atlantic hurricane name for 2007-2012.

7. Where Can I Find Hurricane Tracking Charts?

Use these maps for classroom activities on hurricanes to teach students to track hurricanes.

8. How Do Hurricanes Start In the Sahara Desert?

Hurricanes can start from disturbances very far away from the coastal regions of the United States.

9. What Is The Saffir Simpson Scale?

The Saffir-Simpson Scale is used to determine the overall impact of a storm by rating the winds in a hurricane on a scale from a Category 1 storm to a massive Category 5.

10. Can Two Hurricanes Merge to Become One Hurricane?

Hurricanes can do a sort of dance in the ocean, interacting with each other and stealing energy.

11. Can a Hurricane Strike Be More Severe Inland than in Coastal Regions?

A hurricane can actually strike a coastal region, and yet the inland effects can be greater than on the coast.

12. How Long Do People Remember Hurricanes?

People often believe that a hurricane cannot be as devastating in the future if a major hurricane has made landfall in a region. This simply is not true. People only remember the devastation for a period of time before the storms are all but forgotten.

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