How a Hurricane Forms Birth Creation Start

So, your little thunderstorm wants to be a hurricane? Your little thunderstorm must grow first!

Feed him well on warm, humid air. Let him frolic in the heat over the ocean near the equator. Let move west. As he moves, the warm air under him needs to rise up into him rapidly, creating rain and more thunderclouds. He feeds on the warmth and it makes him stronger! Right now his name is Tropical Wave.

As the warm air turns into thunderclouds, it warms up the cool air just above our little thunderstorm. This new warm air rises, allowing our little storm to grow taller and suck up more air from down by the ocean. The warm air turns into more thunderclouds and warms the cool air, which lets the storm suck up more warm air that turns into thunderclouds … Round and round, bigger and bigger! We shall change his name to Tropical Disturbance.

Your little thunderstorm is growing into a big, fine tropical storm! To help him become a hurricane, he needs some converging winds. That means that the wind down under him is blowing in all directions, and it begins to crash into itself. As the wind crashes into itself, it moves upward, which makes the rising warm air move even faster. It’s time to rename him Tropical Depression.

Your storm must also have very strong wind blowing at high altitudes. This keeps the storm spinning and sucks hot air out of its center. This is very important, because if too much warm air gets into the center, the storm will die, and we don’t want that, do we?

Your storm should have a big, beautiful eye by now. That is the hole in its center. Inside the hole is low pressure, and it wears a high-pressure hat on top, at high altitude. That way the center stays cool, but it can keep on sucking up that power-giving warm air. He is now named Tropical Storm.

As he creeps west, moving slowly and vacuuming up warm air, his wind machinery only moves faster and faster, rising, crashing together and racing toward higher altitudes, and pumping the hot air out of the eye. Once his wind speed reaches seventy-four miles an hour, we can at last pronounce him Hurricane. Unless he grew up in the Western North Pacific, in which case he is a Typhoon. Or, if he is in the Indian Ocean or Western South Pacific, he is a Tropical Cyclone.

Once he is a Hurricane (or Cyclone or Typhoon), it’s time to give him a name so the weathermen can talk about him. In the 1950s and on, hurricanes were called by lists of woman’s names, lists of men’s names, men and woman’s names together, and the Phonetic Alphabet (Abel-Baker-Charlie and so on). Starting in 2000, a big list of Asian names were gathered from the WMO’s Typhoon Committee.

So, let’s call our cuddly little hurricane Teddy.