What are hurricanes?

Hurricanes are large swirling storms that produce winds of 119 kilometers per hour (74 mph) and higher. At those speeds, a hurricane is faster than a cheetah’s record sprint. Hurricanes form over warm ocean waters and sometimes move their massive winds toward land. When a hurricane reaches land, it pushes a wall of ocean water toward the shorelines. This wall of water is called a storm surge. With heavy rains and tidal surges, flooding damage can occur to buildings and the land around them.

There are five categories of hurricanes and are identified by the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. These categories are based on wind speed.

Category 1: Winds 119-153 km/hr (74-95 mph) – faster than a cheetah

Category 2: Winds 154-177 km/hr (96-110 mph) – as fast or faster than a baseball pitcher’s fastball

Category 3: Winds 178-209 km/hr (111-130 mph) – similar, or close, to the serving speed of many professional tennis players

Category 4: Winds 210-249 km/hr (131-155 mph) – faster than the world’s fastest rollercoaster

Category 5: Winds more than 259 km/hr (155 mph) – similar, or close, to the speed of some high-speed trains

Source: nasa.gov

Hurricanes 101 | National Geographic | YouTube


  1. What the video clip Hurricanes 101 by National Geographic. What ideal weather conditions are needed in order to create hurricanes?
  2. What are some of the destructive dangers hurricanes cause with its massive winds?

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15 replies

  1. 34 kiwis, is it likely to have many hurricanes in california?

    • Interesting question! It’s very unlikely to have hurricanes in California because we don’t have the right weather for them to exist. We are more likely to have dust storms because we live in desert areas with little rain each year.

  2. a hurricane spins more than 300mph a mintute

  3. The costliest hurricane to hit land fall was hurricane kartrina.

  4. other names for a hurricane are cyclone,typhoon, and a tropical storm : )>

  5. did you know that when a hurricane moves around land it loses strength :0

  6. when hot and cold air meet togather they form A TORNADO OR A HURRICANE 🙂

  7. One thing I learned from the video is that a Hurricane can be almost as big as Texas.

  8. Tornadoes have been observed on every continent except Antarctica. However, the vast majority of tornadoes in the world occur in the so-called “Tornado Alley” region of the United States, although they can occur nearly anywhere in North America.[6] They also occasionally occur in

  9. when the wind hits 74 miles a hurrcane will being

  10. I have seen the video, hurricanes can cause great damage

  11. Most tornadoes have wind speeds less than 110 miles per hour .

  12. well after i seen that video most hurricanes hit north america and the deadly one is hurricane andrew 😦