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11 Interesting Facts About Hurricanes You’ll Want to Know

By Jarrod Heil

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Hurricanes are among the most deadly and destructive natural disasters on the planet. In the past few years, the United States has been struck by a Category 5 and multiple Category 4 storms, and the rest of the world has seen its fair share of destruction.

While we strive to help you prepare for hurricane season as best as possible, this is also a time of year we like to shed light on little-known nuances in the powerful storms you might not know.

So here are 11 interesting facts about hurricanes you’ll want to know!

1. Hurricanes drop more than 2.4 trillion gallons of rain each day

That’s a whole lot of rain. In fact, that’s enough water to more than 3.6 million Olympic-sized swimming pools. That would take a lot of swimming to get that gold medal.

When hurricanes are out at sea, that rainwater simply falls into the ocean and makes the sea level rise a little bit. But, when it occurs over a landmass, it can create mass flooding as we’ve seen in the past.

2. Hurricanes can create a 20-foot storm surge that spans more than 93 miles wide

Much of the historical damage caused by hurricanes is actually due to storm surge, which can cause waves that reach up to 20 feet in height and span more than 93 miles in width. That can cause utter devastation to any piece of land that’s in the direct path of a hurricane.

3. The Atlantic hurricane season starts on June 1st

Although hurricanes typically make landfall in the United States until at least late-August, the official start to the Atlantic hurricane season is June 1st. Most hurricanes in the Atlantic ocean begin off the coast of Africa, so it takes a while for these to make their way across the wide Atlantic Ocean.

4. Hurricanes can only form in warm-water oceans

Warm water allows the warm, moist air to rise through the storm to create a lower air pressure near the surface. The low pressure throttles air circularly to create a funnel that can cause catastrophic destruction.

5. Florida accounts for 40% of all hurricane strikes in the U.S.

Yup, you read that right. Of all the hurricanes that hit the United States, 40% of them make some form of landfall in the state of Florida. That means two in every five hurricanes hit Florida. That’s a whole lot of damage the Sunshine State has withstood.

6. Hurricanes only went by female names from 1953 to 1979

When the National Hurricane Center began naming hurricanes in 1953, it stuck to female names to mimic naval meteorologists storm and ship naming conventions. They changed the naming conventions to include male hurricane names in 1979. The naming process has also been passed along to the World Meteorological Organization.

7. Hurricane names can be retired

Speaking of names, did you know that hurricane names can be retired if they’re powerful enough to cause exponential damage and destruction.

8. Hurricane Katrina was the most destructive storm in history

Causing around $125 billion in destruction and taking the lives of around 1,500 people Hurricane Katrina was the most destructive hurricane, in terms of property damage and repairs.

9. There’s an often forgot-about hurricane that was the most deadly in history

The Galveston Hurricane of 1900 was the deadliest hurricane in history, killing around 8,000 people in a single strike. The advances in technologies weren’t nearly as good as the current technology, so there was little warning that a destructive hurricane was bearing down quickly on Galveston, Texas.

10. Most hurricanes never reach land

Contrary to the number of hurricanes that seem to make landfall year after year, the majority of hurricanes form at sea and never touch a single piece of inhabited land before dissipating down to nothing. That means there are a bunch of 74-plus-mile-per-hour hurricanes that go unnoticed by the general public each year.

11. Hurricanes rotate both counterclockwise and clockwise

Hurricanes rotate counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere and counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere. The differentiation of spinning is determined by the wind and sea flow, which is opposite on each side of the equator.