Q:

How are hurricanes tracked?

A:

Quick Answer

Satellites, Doppler radar, aircraft and observations are used in the process of tracking hurricanes. Tracking hurricanes is a constantly evolving process that sometimes requires the use of only some of these tools and at other times requires the use of all these tools.

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How are hurricanes tracked?
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Full Answer

Satellite images are extremely important to forecasters. Satellites can put several hours of pictures into motion. This helps meteorologist gather information about the track and the development of hurricanes.

Doppler radar helps detect rain associated with hurricanes. It covers rainfall surrounding a distance of 200 to 250 miles from the Doppler location. It also helps provide estimated rainfall amounts and helps spot rain bands, the eye and the eye wall within a hurricane.

Aircraft are used to gather information about wind speed, rainfall and the eye of a hurricane. Dropsondes are instruments dropped into a hurricane by aircraft. These devices record wind speed, wind direction, air pressure and air temperature.

Observational data, such as that collected by data buoys placed throughout the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic and Pacific seaboards, is relayed as radio or satellite signals, providing information about a hurricane. This includes the air and water temperature, wind speeds, air pressure and the conditions of the waves occurring with a hurricane.

Information obtained from all these tools about past hurricanes helps meteorologists forecast a new hurricane's potential path and any changes in intensity long before the hurricane ever makes landfall.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How big are hurricanes?

    A:

    On average, a hurricane measures 100 miles in diameter. The eye of the average-sized hurricane measures 30 miles in diameter. A hurricane is measured using the diameter of the hurricane and the wind speeds that it reaches.

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  • Q:

    Why do we have hurricanes?

    A:

    Hurricanes form over warm ocean water when the air is cooler above. Winds must be at the surface of the ocean and spiral air inward for the hurricane to form.

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  • Q:

    Where do hurricanes usually happen?

    A:

    Most of the hurricanes that affect the United States form in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa and travel west towards America. A smaller number come together in the Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico and move north.

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  • Q:

    What are some games about hurricanes?

    A:

    Some games about hurricanes include Create-a-Cane, Aim a Hurricane and Stop Disasters. Each game focuses on a different aspect of hurricanes, from their creation, to their movement, to their effects on humans.

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