Hurricane Nate makes landfall at mouth of Mississippi River
Hurricane Nate, the fourth hurricane to lash the United States in just over six weeks, gained strength on Saturday and made landfall in southeast Louisiana, near the mouth of the Mississippi River, as a Category 1 system.
It was expected to make a second landfall on the coast of Mississippi later on Saturday.
What Are Hurricanes?
Hurricanes are large, swirling storms. They produce winds of 119 kilometers per hour (74 mph) or higher. That’s faster than a cheetah, the fastest animal on land. Winds from a hurricane can damage buildings and trees.
Hurricanes form over warm ocean waters. Sometimes they strike land. When a hurricane reaches land, it pushes a wall of ocean water ashore. This wall of water is called a storm surge. Heavy rain and storm surge from a hurricane can cause flooding.
Once a hurricane forms, weather forecasters predict its path. They also predict how strong it will get. This information helps people get ready for the storm.
There are five types, or categories, of hurricanes. The scale of categories is called the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. The categories are based on wind speed.
- Category 1: Winds 119-153 km/hr (74-95 mph) – faster than a cheetah
- Category 2: Winds 154-177 km/hr (96-110 mph) – as fast or faster than a baseball pitcher’s fastball
- Category 3: Winds 178-208 km/hr (111-129 mph) – similar, or close, to the serving speed of many professional tennis players
- Category 4: Winds 209-251 km/hr (130-156 mph) – faster than the world’s fastest rollercoaster
- Category 5: Winds more than 252 km/hr (157 mph) – similar, or close, to the speed of some high-speed trains
What Are the Parts of a Hurricane?
- Eye: The eye is the “hole” at the center of the storm. Winds are light in this area. Skies are partly cloudy, and sometimes even clear.
- Eye wall: The eye wall is a ring of thunderstorms. These storms swirl around the eye. The wall is where winds are strongest and rain is heaviest.
- Rain bands: Bands of clouds and rain go far out from a hurricane’s eye wall. These bands stretch for hundreds of miles. They contain thunderstorms and sometimes tornadoes.
How Are Hurricanes Named?
There can be more than one hurricane at a time. This is one reason hurricanes are named. Names make it easier to keep track of and talk about storms.
A storm is given a name if it becomes a tropical storm. That name stays with the storm if it goes on to become a hurricane. (Tropical disturbances and depressions don’t have names.)
Each year, tropical storms are named in alphabetical order. The names come from a list of names for that year. There are six lists of names. Lists are reused every six years. If a storm does a lot of damage, its name is sometimes taken off the list. It is then replaced by a new name that starts with the same letter.
What is the difference between a hurricane, a cyclone, and a typhoon?
The only difference between a hurricane, a cyclone, and a typhoon is the location where the storm occurs.
Hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons are all the same weather phenomenon; we just use different names for these storms in different places. In the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, the term “hurricane” is used. The same type of disturbance in the Northwest Pacific is called a “typhoon” and “cyclones” occur in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean.