How do Meteorologists Predict Hurricanes

A hurricane is a strong storm system with damaging and violent winds accompanied with torrential rains. Hurricanes can develop in the Atlantic, Pacific and the Indian Ocean.  Other countries may refer to it as typhoon and tropical cyclone.

How does a hurricane form?

A hurricane gets its energy from the warm and moist air just at the ocean surface. It begins with cloud clusters and thunderstorms. These are low pressure areas that when they sustain such condition, the surface pressure drops. As the air rises to form clouds, more air is drawn to the hurricane. At the center of the hurricane is called the eye. The weather in the eye is much different from the weather surrounding it. The winds grow calm and the sky may clear. When you are in the ground experiencing the storm, you will notice that there is a period of calm in between heavy storms. That is when the eye passes through your area. Surrounding the eye are bands of heavy rain and very high winds. When the hurricane comes to shore and makes a landfall, it can bring high waves, severe flooding and damage to properties. Hurricane can uproot trees, topple down power lines and destroy properties.

The Meteorologists and Hurricanes

When we want to know how an approaching weather disturbance like a hurricane affects us, meteorologists give us the answer. Meteorologists are scientists who study the atmosphere-that includes the weather and climate.  They try to predict the path of hurricanes- which direction they will go and how long a certain area will experience such conditions. When meteorologists give accurate forecasts, it helps people prepare for such disasters. Lives are saved because of the weather forecasts of meteorologists.

In order for meteorologists to predict a hurricane, they need to know about four things:  temperature, moisture, air pressure and wind. Wind causes most of the damage in a hurricane. Winds are produced when there are changes in pressure. Wind can produce waves than can cause flooding. Hurricanes move because of the steering winds. These are winds in and around the hurricane that pushes and moves it along. The steering wind controls the speed of the hurricane, the direction where it will go and the intensity of the hurricane.  Meteorologists can gather this data from the satellites, buoys on sea, ships and from aircrafts that are purposely flown through the hurricane to collect data. These aircrafts are often called “hurricane hunters”. These data plus the data on past hurricanes can help predict the path of approaching hurricane. These are all tabulated in a computer. With careful analysis, the meteorologist can map the path of the hurricane and warn the public when it is approaching a land mass.

Instruments and methods are now more advanced to further improve the data collection and forecasts when hurricanes strike. With changes in our climate, we rely so much more on meteorologists.