Hurricanes . . .

A hurricane is a tropical cyclone in which winds get to speeds greater than 119 km per hr. Wind speeds reach over 289 km per hr in some hurricanes.

The term hurricane is often restricted to those storms occurring over the N Atlantic Ocean.

The identical phenomenon occurring over the W Pacific Ocean is called a typhoon. Over the Indian Ocean and here is New Zealand, it is called a tropical cyclone.

Hurricanes have a lifespan of 1 to 30 days. They weaken after long contact with the colder ocean waters, and they rapidly decay after moving over land areas.

To find out how hurricanes are formed, read the section on Cyclones.

Hurricanes are a particular problem on the coast of the United States.

If a hurricane warning is given, people have to board up their houses (so the windows don't blow out), and then drive up to 200km inland to be safe. There is often a big storm surge (see Tsunami) which floods and washes away houses, as well as the tremendously strong winds.

If the hurricane is passing directly overhead, there will be a short lull as the "eye" of the storm passes overhead, and then the winds will come back from the other direction, as strongly as before.

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