What are Hurricanes - Hurricanes facts for kids

Over the years, gigantic storms that originate in the tropics have killed more people around the world than any other single kind of storm.
These storms are known by different terms in different regions.
They are called hurricanes when they form over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, or the eastern Pacific Ocean north of the equator. 
The same storms are called typhoons when they form over the western Pacific and tropical cyclones when they occur over the southern Pacific or the Indian Ocean.
They all produce sustained winds of 120 km/h (74 mph) and faster.
In their earlier stages, when their winds range in speed from 63 to 119 km/h (39 to 73 mph), they are generally called tropical storms. Hurricanes, typhoons, and tropical cyclones receive individual names from the weather offices that forecast them and are the only kind of storms named as they occur.
Hurricanes occur over oceans with water that is 27°C (80°F) or warmer in areas where there is also a layer of humid air that’s a few thousand feet thick.
These storms draw their energy from the warm water and humid air.
During their lives, these storms flow along the paths of the Earth’s large-scale winds, much like twigs floating with the current of a river.
When the storm moves over land or cold water it begins to die, but a storm can stay over a warm ocean for a week or two, sometimes even longer, growing stronger or at least not losing much strength.
A hurricane consists of lines of thunderstorms that spiral into the storm’s calm center, which is called the eye.
Winds grow stronger as you approach the eye, and the very strongest winds occur in the wall of thunderstorms around the eye, called the eye wall.
As a hurricane’s winds blow hour after hour, sometimes faster than 160 km/h (100 mph), water piles up on the ocean surface near the hurricane’s center. If the storm hits land it brings with it this mound of water, called a storm surge, which can be up to 6 m (20 ft) high. Until 1969 storm surges accounted for most of the hurricane-related deaths in the United States.
Since then, better forecasts and well-organized evacuations have moved people out of the way of storm surges when hurricanes threaten, saving hundreds of lives.
From 1970 through 2000 storm surges killed only half a dozen people in the United States.
Since the 1970s the big killers in hurricanes have been floods on inland rivers and streams caused by the drenching rain that even a weak hurricane brings.
Storm surges still present a real danger for those who don’t evacuate, of course. While water kills most hurricane victims, a hurricane’s wind, which can blow faster than 160 km/h, is also dangerous; it accounts for many deaths and causes a great deal of destruction.
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