Hurricanes room the most violent storms top top Earth. They kind near the equator over warm ocean waters. Actually, the hatchet hurricane is offered only for the big storms that form over the Atlantic ocean or east Pacific Ocean.

You are watching: Describe the three stages of development of a tropical cyclone

The generic, clinical term for these storms, where they occur, is tropic cyclone. Other names they room given, depending on where in the civilization they space born, room typhoons, cyclones, serious tropical cyclones, or severe cyclonic storms. Whatever they are called, the exact same forces and also conditions space at occupational in forming these huge storms, any of i m sorry can reason damage or devastation as soon as they hit land where world live.


Tropical cyclones are favor engines that call for warm, moist air together fuel. So the very first ingredient essential for a tropic cyclone is warmth ocean water. That is why tropical cyclones type only in tropical areas where the s is at the very least 80 degrees F for at least the height 50 meter (about 165 feet) listed below the surface.

The second ingredient for a dry cyclone is wind. In the case of hurricanes that type in the Atlantic Ocean, the wind blow westward throughout the Atlantic from Africa gives the important ingredient. As the wind passes end the ocean"s surface, water evaporates (turns right into water vapor) and rises. As it rises, the water vapor cools, and also condenses earlier into huge water droplets, forming huge cumulonimbus clouds. This clouds are just the beginning.


NOAA"s GOES-East weather satellite zoomed in on the eye of Hurricane Dorian in September 2019. Credit: NOAA

Meteorologists have split the advance of a dry cyclone into 4 stages: tropical disturbance, tropic depression, dry storm, and full-fledged tropic cyclone.

Tropical disturbance

When the water vapor native the warmth ocean condenses to type clouds, that releases its heat to the air. The warmed waiting rises and also is pulled into the obelisk of clouds. Evaporation and also condensation continue, building the cloud columns higher and larger. A sample develops, through the wind circulating roughly a facility (like water going under a drain). Together the moving column of air encounters much more clouds, it i do not care a cluster of thunderstorm clouds, referred to as a tropical disturbance.

Tropical depression

As the thunderstorm grows greater and larger, the air at the height of the cloud shaft is cooling and becoming unstable. As the heat energy is released from the cooling water vapor, the air at the peak of the clouds becomes warmer, making the waiting pressure higher and leading to winds to relocate outward away from the high pressure area. This movement and also warming causes pressures in ~ the surface to drop. Climate air in ~ the surface ar moves toward the reduced pressure area, rises, and also creates an ext thunderstorms. Winds in the storm cloud pillar spin faster and faster, whipping roughly in a circular motion. Once the winds reach in between 25 and 38 mph, the storm is dubbed a tropic depression.


Tropical storm

When the wind speeds with 39 mph, the tropic depression becomes a dry storm. This is additionally when the storm it s okay a name. The winds blow faster and begin twisting and transforming around the eye, or patience center, that the storm. Wind direction is counterclockwise (west to east) in the northern hemisphere and also clockwise (east come west) in the southern hemisphere. This phenomenon is known as the Coriolis effect.


When the wind speeds reach 74 mph, the storm is officially a hurricane. The storm is at the very least 50,000 feet high and also around 125 mile across. The eye is roughly 5 to 30 miles wide. The trade winds (which blow from eastern to west) push the hurricane toward the west—toward the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, or the southeastern coastline of the U.S. The winds and also the low air pressure also cause a substantial mound of ocean water to pile up near the eye of the hurricane, i beg your pardon can reason monster storm surges as soon as all this water reaches land.

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Hurricanes normally weaken once they fight land, because they room no longer being fed through the energy from the heat ocean waters. However, they often move far inland, dumping plenty of inches of rain and also causing several wind damage before they die out completely.

Lastly, what space the five categories the hurricanes?

Hurricane categories:

CategoryWind rate (mph)Damage at Landfall
1 74-95 Minimal
2 96-110 Moderate
3 111-129 Extensive
4 130-156 Extreme
5 157 or higher Catastrophic

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