Hurricanes are violent storms that can form over the warm waters of the oceans. The warm water heats the air above it. Warm air rises, like steam from a teakettle. The rising warm air creates an area of low pressure. Other air rushes toward the low pressure area from all directions, creating strong winds if the low pressure is low enough. The strong winds form the hurricane.
This photograph from a weather satellite shows hurricane Erika. Hurricane Erika formed over the Atlantic Ocean in September, 1997. Hurricane Erika was a big storm. This photo, taken on September 11, 1997, shows that Erika was about 400 miles across, covering an area the size of Virginia and West Virginia combined! The storm path shows how the storm travelled north across the Atlantic Ocean. In just four days, Erika travelled almost 1400 miles across the ocean.
The eye of a hurricane is a small area of calm air at the very center of the storm. Although the eye is calm, winds of up to 200 miles per hour rage in the storm all around the eye.
These storms are called hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, and are called typhoons in the Pacific Ocean. Forecasting these storms and predicting their storm paths is important work. For information on hurricanes and forecasts, you can visit the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center web page at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/products.html.
Meteorology (say "MEET-ee-or-ALL-oh-gee") is the science that studies storms like hurricanes. Visit the ReefNews Links to Other Pages about the Oceans for links to other web pages about meteorology, hurricanes, and photographs from weather satellites.