A hurricane is an intense tropical cyclone with a well-defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of seventy-four miles per hour or higher. The ingredients for a hurricane include a pre-existing weather disturbance, warm tropical oceans, moisture, and relatively light winds aloft (Elsner 7). If the right conditions persist long enough, they can combine to produce the violent winds, incredible waves, torrential rains, and floods associated with this phenomenon. .
A hurricane develops over the oceans and between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Tropical storms can also develop over the South Atlantic Ocean and the eastern South Pacific Ocean. Each year, an average of ten tropical storms develop over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico (Fitzpatrick 15). Hurricanes are known by different names in different parts of the world: typhoons (in the Western Pacific) and cyclones (in the Indian Ocean) are two examples (Danielson 382).
The "Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale" defines hurricane strength by categories. A "Category One" storm is the weakest hurricane with winds ranging from seventy-four to ninety-five miles per hour. A "Category Five" hurricane is the strongest with winds greater than one-hundred and fifty five miles per hour. The category of the storm does not directly relate to the damage it will inflict. Lower category storms can cause substantial damage depending on what other weather features they interact with, where they strike, and how slow they move.
The official hurricane season for the Atlantic Basin (the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico) is from 1 June to 30 November.
Hurricanes occur when the water temperature in these regions is greater than twenty-seven degrees Celsius. .
Hurricane movement is related to the global winds. The easterly winds in the tropics usually steer hurricanes westward. Most storms then gradually swing north-westward around the subtropical high to the north.