All About Storms

Image Credit: Pixabay User AgencjaAIAC,via CC

You keep hearing about the storms that  bring a lot of wind and heavy rains to the areas where they strike. Different names are also used like hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes, typhoons and twisters. Are they all same or different?  Let us investigate.

It all starts with the wind. What is wind? Moving air is called wind. When the air moves fast it is a strong wind, and when it moves slowly it is called gentle breeze. Have you even wondered why the air moves? Well, air moves because of the uneven heating of Earth by the Sun. Warm air moves up and lowers the air pressure of that place, colder air is heavy stays lower and raises the air pressure. Air pressure is the force exerted on you by the weight of tiny molecules of air. Wind blows from high pressure areas to low pressure area. Higher the difference the stronger are the winds. When the difference is exceptionally strong,  it gives rise to a storm.

Image Credit: Pixabay User nemo,via CC

“Raging wings, releasing power”

What are cyclones?

A cyclone is a weather condition  where rapid air circulates around a low-pressure center, along with stormy and often destructive weather. Cyclones are the storms that begin in the Southern Pacific. The areas that are most affected are Southern Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean. The scale for measuring cyclones is called the Beaufort Scale and Saffir-Simpson scale. However, different countries might use different scales.

“So the hurricane has an eye, does it also have a heart? “

What are Hurricanes ? 

The cyclones that rage in the Atlantic ocean are called Hurricanes. They often lash out on the eastern coast of the tropics. Strong storms that rip out the trees and flatten the buildings certainly do not have a heart so how come they have an eye? The eye of a hurricane is the calm air in the center of the hurricane which is at a very low pressure. When the hurricane approaches and eye  passes over, you can actually see the blue skies.  This is very short lived and soon rain and strong thunderstorms follow. A famous idiom calm before the storm  describes this phenomenon. The winds can be as strong as 800km across, and takes almost 20 hours to pass. Each hurricane is given a name and is tracked by a weather satellite in order to warn people ahead of time.

“The air is hot and calm, but high winds follow soon, and some yelled, “Look there is a typhoon”.

What are typhoons ?

In the pacific ocean, the cyclones that start are known as typhoons. The mostly affect the western coast of North America and Japan. These cyclones mostly start on the water. On an average 103 typhoons hit every year.

While cyclones and tornadoes are both storms. Tornadoes are rotating column of air that can extend up to a mile. whirling at destructively high speeds, usually accompanied by a funnel-shaped downward extension of a cumulonimbus cloud. The winds rotate clockwise in the southern hemisphere and anticlockwise in the northern hemisphere.

There is so much more to tell about tornadoes. Perhaps later ;)

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