Taken by Storm
Coastal states stay on alert during hurricane season
For many people, September isn’t just a time to stock up on back-to-school supplies. It’s also time to make sure emergency kits and plans are ready in case of a hurricane. Hurricane season officially lasts from June 1 to November 30. But more hurricanes strike the United States during September than during any other month.
Hurricanes are very large storms that swirl around a calm center called an eye. They start as thunderstorms in the tropical area near Earth’s equator.
A storm must have very strong winds to be called a hurricane. “Once the winds reach speeds of 39 mph, it’s strong enough to become a tropical storm,” says Dennis Feltgen. He studies weather at the National Hurricane Center. “When those winds reach 74 mph or higher, the storm can be classified as a hurricane.”
Scientists use the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale to measure a hurricane’s strength. This scale ranks hurricanes by their wind speeds and the damage they can cause. Category 1 hurricanes can damage trees or the roofs of homes. Category 5 hurricanes, the strongest type, can topple trees and destroy homes.