The official Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico hurricane season starts on June 1, ends on November 30, and averages seven named storms. Once a tropical storm exceeds wind speeds of thirty-nine miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) gives it a name. Names are given out in alphabetic order from rotating lists of male and female names. Between 1950 and 1978, hurricanes were given girl names. But before that, hurricanes were numbered, not named.
[Editor's Note: An updated version of this topic can be found here: Hurricanes]
Have I got a ride for you! The Hurricane Hunters of the Air Force Reserve are a one-of-a-kind Department of Defense organization that flies into tropical storms and hurricanes. Through the magic of cyber-flight, you are invited to join their flight into the eye of Hurricane Opal. "Attention to storm briefing, crew. Things are about to get busy, so please minimize chatter. The navigator will be directing the aircraft until we get close to the eye, then Weather will take us in from there, with the Nav backing him up. Copilot, guard the autopilot, and kick it off if we get into severe turbulence."
National Geographic Kids brings us another hurricane flight, this one into the eye of Hurricane Mitch in October of 1998. The hurricane hunters of the National Hurricane Center in Miami take off in two planes (nicknamed Kermit and Miss Piggy) to collect data that will tell meteorologists where Mitch is headed. Colorfully illustrated with videos and photos, the site also a section on hurricane survival tips.
"The worst part of the hurricane was not being able to find food. Everything blew away. We spent almost two days without any food." Meet the Benitez family of Homestead, Florida who survived Hurricane Andrew in 1992 by huddling together in a small closet. Have you ever experienced a natural disaster such as a hurricane, fire, flood or earthquake? You can add your story to the Healing Quilt. Also on display are instructions on building your own weather station, and an introduction to hurricane tracking.
This segment on hurricanes is part of National Geographic's Eye in the Sky feature, "an investigation into the state of the planet from the point of view of satellites." To traverse it, use the horizontal menu just below the Hurricane title, instead of the competing menus to the left and on top. My favorite click is the animation of how hurricanes form, which is accessible from both both The Effect and The Phenomena pages.
"Hurricanes are classified into different categories according to the Saffir-Simpson scale." Hurricane basics in easy-to-understand language plus outstanding graphics and animations put this site at the top of the list. It is chock-full of links to articles on hurricane science, storm history, hurricane safety and hurricane hunters. Follow the hyperlinked text to get the meat of this USA Today site.