What is a hurricane?
A hurricane is a storm with rapid formation that originates over an ocean with a temperature of at least 26ºC, which must be sustained. As soon as hurricanes reach land, they lose their energy.
Depending on the region of the planet where it develops, a hurricane can be called a cyclone or typhoon. Hurricanes in the North Atlantic basin (Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean) originate as storms off the west coast of tropical Africa. The continued increase in the surface temperature of the Atlantic Ocean (SST) is what provokes the increase in frequency and intensity of hurricanes in the Caribbean. In this region, the hurricane season is mainly from the months of June to November.
The intensity of hurricanes is measured by using the Saffir-Simpson scale:
- Category 1: sustained winds of 119 – 153 km/h
- Category 2: sustained winds of 154 – 177 km/h
- Category 3: sustained winds of 178 – 208 km/h
- Category 4: sustained winds of 209 – 251 km/h
- Category 5: sustained winds of > 251 km/h
The climatic events of speeds below 119 km/h are known as Tropical Storms (sustained wind speeds of 63-118 km/h) and are recorded, along with hurricanes, with proper names following the letters of the Latin alphabet.