Hurricanes Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Hurricanes are big and powerful storms with swirling winds. They form over warm ocean water. Learn how hurricanes form, why they spin, and how they use warm water found in tropical oceans for energy.

Definition of Hurricanes

Did you know that people living in Nebraska don't have to worry about a hurricane hitting their state? Nebraska is surrounded by land. Hurricanes are powerful storms that form over oceans and get their energy from the warm ocean waters. When they reach land, hurricanes lose much of their energy, so they can't travel very far inland.

A hurricane is a big storm that can grow up to 600 miles wide; that's about as big as the state of Texas! They form over warm tropical waters and are identified by their swirling winds that blow at least 74 miles per hour. That's faster than most cars drive on the highway. The winds can get up to 200 miles per hour, which is as fast as a racecar.

A Hurricane
A Hurricane

Hurricane winds spin due to the Coriolis effect, which is a force created by the spinning of the Earth. In the center of a hurricane there is a strangely calm area called the eye of the hurricane.

How Do Hurricanes Form?

Conditions have to be just right for a hurricane to form. In fact, there is a hurricane season that runs from the summer through the fall. These are the times when hurricanes are most likely to form because the ocean waters reach temperatures of more than 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The warm ocean waters cause moisture to evaporate and rise toward the sky. This warm, moist air meets the cooler air of the atmosphere causing the thick clouds seen with a hurricane.

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