Tropical Storms are formed in a life cycle much similar to our own. However, it could be considered that the tropical storm is merely the childhood or adolescent stage of a hurricane. Where as a tropical depression is the baby of both of these storm types. These rebellious storms are nursed from the warm waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans near the Earth’s equator.
It all begins with evaporation; a little process that occurs when liquid molecules are turned into gasses. With the warmth of the sun, this could be considered the incubation period of the tropical storm. When there is a very significant amount of warm moisturized air within the atmosphere, the potential becomes very conducent to more stages of a Tropical Storms life-cycle.
Other conditions that could potentially initiate tropical storms are:
1. The ocean temperature must be greater than twenty-seven degrees Celsius (approximately eighty-one degrees Fahrenheit).
2. Clouds form as a result of the heated moisturized air that is cooled and condensed by the lower temperatures of the atmosphere to the critical dew point. This is where we humans begin to feel uncomfortable due to intense humidity.
3. Low pressured air occurs that is caused by the air rising up high into the atmosphere. Tropical storm strength is determined by how intense the low pressured air is.
4. Water vapor (the gas phase of evaporation) is formed from the ocean’s surface thus cooling the rest of the ocean in the process.
5. Warm rain from condensation of the clouds fall and create stronger humidity.
6. Tropical storms are carried by wind shear, which is the change of wind speed or direction over a short period of time and within a short distance within the atmosphere. This condition is also needed in order to form tornados. When wind sheer is low, the heat and moisture build up to form the certain low pressure that causes the wind to spiral. This is what you typically see in photographs sent by satellites.
7. These winds feed even more warm moisture into the traveling air towards the center of the spiral; thus creating strong wind and rain as thunderstorms. The center of the spiral is called “the eye” of the storm and is where the strongest winds are at.
A tropical storm is just a slightly less intense variation of a hurricane where the wind speed and warmth are not quite strong enough for the full blown hurricane. Many storms never reach hurricane level and remain labeled as merely tropical storms and some of the tropical depressions never reach tropical storm strength.
Typically a tropical depression’s level goes up to thirty-eight miles per hour. A tropical storm’s level goes up to about seventy-three miles per hour, and a hurricane’s wind speeds averagege from around seventy-four miles per hour to about one hundred fifty-five miles per hour. A hurricane named Camille reached winds greater than two-hundred five miles per hour in Biloxi, Mississippi.
These storms have to have favorable conditions in order to be born, and there is a specific place that they grow in. To gain their strength they have to feed. Some storms live their full life to hurricane level; where as other storms were just not strong enough to survive to that point. Amazingly we could say that they breathe, have organs or parts of the storm to make its physical form, and the storms react to their surroundings including the work to destroy things in their path.
How tropical storms are formed is very comparable to our own human lives; and in the end, they of course, just like us, die.