Hurricane season: How volcanoes are used to predict tropical storms

Image copyright AFP Image caption A bomb cyclone is when a “bomb” ice from a tropical cyclone converts itself into a powerful low pressure system Tropical cyclones, or cyclones, are hurricanes, but they tend…

Hurricane season: How volcanoes are used to predict tropical storms

Image copyright AFP Image caption A bomb cyclone is when a “bomb” ice from a tropical cyclone converts itself into a powerful low pressure system

Tropical cyclones, or cyclones, are hurricanes, but they tend to develop at the same time and can share weather patterns.

They are the centre of the system with winds blowing over the entire tropical Atlantic Ocean. These hurricanes become islands that are separated by warmer water in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

When a tropical cyclone forms over the United States, it is known as a cyclone, not a hurricane.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Hurricanes are a nasty slice of chaos to tackle

A bomb cyclone happens when a tropical cyclone is drifting in the storm-strengthening direction at a heady speed, but its unusual “bomb” ice from a tropical cyclone converts itself into a powerful low pressure system.

This satellite image shows Hurricane Florence whirling about an eye at the storm centre in North Carolina.

Image copyright Google Images Image caption Tropical cyclones change shapes over a long period

Image copyright Internet Image caption This satellite image shows a bomb cyclone across the storm centre in the Eastern Pacific Ocean

In a “bomb” storm, air is injected by sea and sink into the storm centre, then being absorbed by it. This creates extreme winds, or hurricane force, which can range from 100kph to 150kph.

But the air goes through a very cold phase, similar to where it begins to go into its “bomb” phase.

Its rapid intensification brings really warm water to the storm and causes it to burst into flames.

Image copyright NASA Image caption The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says they have the names of almost 600 candidates for the 2020 hurricane season

Image copyright The Weather Channel Image caption Tropics don’t get any more tropical than tropical cyclones

Image copyright Typhoon Megi Image caption Typhoon Megi is the strongest known typhoon that made landfall in the Philippines in 2011

Huge amounts of moisture and wind are thrown into the storm’s growing vortex, which is called an eyewall, pushing sea levels up. In doing so it destroys a barrier barrier on the coast.

This causes severe flooding that kills many people because water becomes trapped by the storm surge and fills homes and buildings.

Water rises quite rapidly, raising the danger of the initial flooding. This is known as a “king tide”. And once water has been raised it can’t fall back down again.

It is possible to predict a storm’s intensity using different classifications: Category 2-3 hurricanes, a category 4-5 hurricane, a category 5-6 hurricane, and a category 7-8 hurricane.

Image copyright NASA Image caption The storm was over parts of Arkansas and Texas by the start of the week

Image copyright NASA Image caption People in the path of Hurricane Florence took to social media to discuss what hurricane season is like

Category 1 hurricanes are the worst, classified as having winds of 74-95kph.

Category 2 hurricanes move into tropical waters and usually have speeds of 96-110kph.

Category 3 hurricanes are generally ones with 120-150kph winds and are divided into those with winds of 151-160kph and “mega maxi-category” hurricanes with winds of 157-208kph.

Category 4 hurricanes are those with winds of 161-185kph and Category 5 hurricanes have winds exceeding 190kph.

Image copyright Nasa Image caption Hurricanes have been observed from space more frequently since the 1970s

Category 6 hurricanes are the most powerful, with winds of above 190kph.

The hurricane season in the Atlantic Pacific runs from June to November. A tropical cyclone is defined as a storm of 39-73 kph winds that is one day from arriving at the centre of the tropical Atlantic Ocean.

Image copyright NOAA Image caption A ship rests at sea in the wake of Hurricane Leslie

Image copyright NOAA Image caption The storm would not have hit the US if not for its rapid intensification

Image copyright NOAA Image caption A tornado crosses a highway near Matagorda, Texas, after Hurricane Leslie passed over the area in 2016

The number of hurricanes varies with the shape of the surface of the tropical Atlantic and could have increased by 50% since the 1950s.

Hurricanes are a nasty slice of chaos to tackle: with the scale of the individual storm often in dispute and all storm systems becoming increasingly unusual and unpredictable.

Forecasters don’t expect the first “bomb cyclone” to strike the US in quite some time.

However, a hurricane outbreak is likely to sweep through the western and northern Atlantic from October to November, and it could hit the US mainland if it merges with a low pressure system.

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