Where Do Hurricanes Occur?

Where Do Hurricanes Occur?

Tropical Cyclone formation patterns Photo Credit: https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/climo/#bac

Hurricanes occur generally near the equator on tropical or subtropical waters. Hurricanes have the highest wind speeds of any storm, Super Typhoon Haiyan had the highest wind speed in 2013 at landfall it was estimated to have 196 miles per hour winds when it struck the Philippines. This is the fastest wind speed recorded worldwide.

A tropical storm is considered a hurricane if it is in the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, or the central/northeastern Pacific Ocean. In the Western Pacific Ocean it is called a Typhoon.  In the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean the same storm is called a cyclone. South Atlantic hurricanes are quite rare and only one has ever occurred in the region. 

Hurricanes occur in seven measurably specific locations on the planet. The Pacific Ocean has a  notable amount, with over twenty typhoons and tropical storms hitting the Philippines some years.  

Worldwide Tropical Cyclone Centers. Photo Credit: https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutrsmc.shtml

North Atlantic

Season: June 1st to November 30th. Some storms occur outside of these dates. Hurricanes usually form near the center of the Atlantic Ocean and are blown toward the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Most of the hurricanes start to form around August and stop forming toward the end of October. The hurricanes are pushed by a high pressure gyre towards the east coast United States and generally land along the southern Border of the U.S., Mexico, or travel across Cuba or Central America. 

Eastern Pacific

Season: May 15th to November 30th. Most hurricanes occur sometime between late August or early September. This region is the second most active area for hurricanes. Hurricanes form in the Northeast Pacific and are pulled to the Eastern Pacific Ocean, usually starting off the coast of western Mexico and dying out in the open ocean. Occasionally the storms make it to Hawaii and can hit land causing damage or flooding. 

Western Pacific

Season: July 1st to November 30th. Most hurricanes start between August and September. The Western Pacific is one of the most active hurricane regions. Storms start in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and travel west towards China, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam. An average of 25 storms occur in the Western Pacific every year and Super Typhoon Haiyan was one of these storms in 2013. 

Southwestern Pacific

Season: October 15th to May 15th. Most hurricanes start between March and February. Every decade about 100 to 150 storms occur but generally half of these storms become severe storms. These hurricanes start out at sea and move towards the coast of Australia and Papua New Guinea. 

Northern Indian Ocean

Season: April 1st to December 31th. Most cycles form between April and June or between October and December. The Northern Indian Ocean holds the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, both experience different cyclone activity. While storms in the North Indian Ocean contribute to only seven percent of the world’s total storms, they are also the most deadly since population density near the ocean is high. Storms occur in the Bay of Bengal much more frequently than the Arabian Sea due to the Arabian Sea having slightly cooler temperatures. Regions affected by hurricanes include India's southern coastline, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Oman, Yemen, Somalia, and rarely the southern coast of Iran. 

Southeastern Indian Ocean

Season: 15 November to 30 April. Most hurricanes start in late October or early November, then another cycle begins in January and February, usually ending before May. Storms can start in the Arafura Sea, Timor Sea, or between Indonesia and Australia and move south or west. If they move south they generally follow the coast of Western Australia until they die out and can cause damage to several cities. If the storm moves west it goes out to sea and dies out, causing much less or potentially no harm. 

Southwestern Indian Ocean

Season:  15 November to 30 April.  Most hurricanes start between December and March and the peak of that is January and February. Hurricanes start near the center of the Indian Ocean and move west toward Madagascar and Mozambique. They usually are pulled south and either hit land, Mauritius, La RĂ©union, or die out at sea.