Hurricanes – Packing a Punch

Hurricanes – Packing a Punch

ambience: hurricane winds

Well, summer is here and it’ll soon be time for the Atlantic seaboard to batten down the hatches and prepare for another hurricane season. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. What begins as a cluster of thunderstorms building along a low-pressure area, is termed a tropical storm when its winds reach 39 miles an hour. Jay Barnes, author of several books on hurricane history, tells us at what point a tropical storm turns into a hurricane.

“Well, by definition, a hurricane has sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or greater. As these tropical systems build over a period of days their winds gradually increase – if the environmental factors are just right – and if they’re able to build into a rotating storm, the winds pick up, they can ultimately reach that. Of course, the winds in a hurricane can far exceed that going up to the most catastrophic storms of over 155 miles per hour, which are rare events fortunately.”

A typical hurricane might average 300-400 miles in diameter. But even with this massive size, it is the so-called “eye wall” that packs the biggest punch.

“The most damaging part of a hurricane is what’s known as they eye wall. This is the area just on the perimeter of the center of the storm, the calm eye that we are familiar with that we track when we track a storm moving across the ocean. The eye wall is where we’ll find the highest winds and we’ll also, as the storm makes landfall typically, see the highest storm surge right there around the perimeter of the eye.”

Hurricanes tend to change in intensity from minute to minute and hour to hour, making their strength difficult to accurately predict over time. We’ll hear more about hurricanes in future programs.

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Hurricanes - Packing a Punch

The most devastating force of a hurricane is concentrated in the rim of its eye.
Air Date:07/29/2015
Scientist:
Transcript:

Hurricanes - Packing a Punch

ambience: hurricane winds

Well, summer is here and it'll soon be time for the Atlantic seaboard to batten down the hatches and prepare for another hurricane season. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. What begins as a cluster of thunderstorms building along a low-pressure area, is termed a tropical storm when its winds reach 39 miles an hour. Jay Barnes, author of several books on hurricane history, tells us at what point a tropical storm turns into a hurricane.

"Well, by definition, a hurricane has sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or greater. As these tropical systems build over a period of days their winds gradually increase - if the environmental factors are just right - and if they're able to build into a rotating storm, the winds pick up, they can ultimately reach that. Of course, the winds in a hurricane can far exceed that going up to the most catastrophic storms of over 155 miles per hour, which are rare events fortunately."

A typical hurricane might average 300-400 miles in diameter. But even with this massive size, it is the so-called "eye wall" that packs the biggest punch.

"The most damaging part of a hurricane is what's known as they eye wall. This is the area just on the perimeter of the center of the storm, the calm eye that we are familiar with that we track when we track a storm moving across the ocean. The eye wall is where we'll find the highest winds and we'll also, as the storm makes landfall typically, see the highest storm surge right there around the perimeter of the eye."

Hurricanes tend to change in intensity from minute to minute and hour to hour, making their strength difficult to accurately predict over time. We'll hear more about hurricanes in future programs.

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.