Hurricanes are severe tropical storms that form in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Hurricanes gather heat and energy through contact with warm ocean waters. Evaporation from the seawater increases their power. Hurricanes rotate in a counter-clockwise direction around an "eye." Hurricanes have winds at least 74 miles per hour. When they come onto land, the heavy rain, strong winds and heavy waves can damage buildings, trees and cars. The heavy ocean waves are called storm surges. Storm surges are very dangerous and a major reason why you MUST stay away from the ocean during a hurricane warning or hurricane.
The source of a hurricane's energy is derived from warmer than average ocean water along the equator and a corresponding higher level of humidity. In simplified terms, a low-pressure area is created when water-laden clouds release heavy rains as the warm air rises. Surface air spirals inward and upward in a counter-clockwise direction to fill the partial vacuum, reaching tens of thousands of feet above sea level to become the hurricane's eye. While the eye is almost calm and is often exposed to blue sky, the winds nearest the eye are strongest. More lives are claimed by storm surge and flooding than by the winds of a hurricane.
Okeechobee Hurricane There were no reliable wind-speed measurements from the storm, but Palm Beach authorities recorded a barometric pressure of 27.43, which would make this the 4th most intense storm to be recorded in the continental U.S. San Juan, Puerto Rico reported sustained winds of 144 mph when the storm pummeled the island.
Galveston Hurricane 1900 This hurricane was the deadliest weather disaster in United States history. Storm tides of 8 to 15 ft inundated the whole of Galveston Island, as well as other portions of the nearby Texas coast. These tides were largely responsible for the 8,000 deaths (estimates range from 6,000 to 12,000) attributed to the storm.