A Complete and Exhaustive Guide to Hurricanes – part five
Along with wind speed, swells, and clouds the surface pressure readings are also an indicator about the presence and strength of a hurricane. Any reading that is below 1010 MB should be treated with caution; in some extreme cases, as with Hurricane Gilbert, the pressure dropped to 888 MB. The normal surface pressure in the tropical and subtropical Atlantic during summer season and autumn is in the range of 1012 MB and 1020 MB.
Also small increases and decreases in the surface pressure can be attributed to strong winds that accompany a tropical cyclone.
A hurricane is steered by the environment or external causes and its own internal influences. The speed and direction of a hurricane are unpredictable. Hurricanes usually move forward with an average speed of around 13 – 17 knots. Often a hurricane may stall and sometimes it can accelerate to more than 50 knots. Hurricanes can loop, veer off course or follow a straight path. Because the path of a hurricane is not easy to gauge, meteorologists have to watch hurricane movements closely.
and low pressure systems, fronts, and middle or upper-level circulations and jet streams. As the intensity of a hurricane increases, factors influencing it have to be traced high up in the atmosphere. A strong tropical cyclone is usually steered by the winds in the middle and upper troposphere.
It is only when we begin to understand the mechanism that governs the motions of a hurricane then we place ourselves in a position to plan and evaluate our options for avoiding a hurricane. It is interesting to note that the eye of a storm often wobbles as much as 10 to 20 nautical miles from the average direction of a hurricane’s path.
Tracking of cyclones takes into account all the factors that influence the speed and direction of a hurricane. This is achieved with the help of data provided by weather satellites and data provided by computer simulations. Mid-August to late October is the period when the meteorological department has to be most aware. Tropical storms developing at different times of the hurricane season are liable to take different paths and hit different portions of the U.S coast.
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