Archive for June, 2009

Ask Anthony
June 27, 2009

If the beach water is at 92 degrees, would this make for a very severe storm should one develop…

R. Horine

Good question.  Water temperature is only one part of hurricane development.  Think of a tropical system like a race car.  The water temperature is the engine, the warmer it is the stronger a storm can get.  But you also need gas.  Gas would be the mid and upper layers of the atmosphere.  For a powerful storm you need the winds to go in one direction from the surface to 5,000 feet.  If there are shearing winds (winds that go in the opposite direction) it will typically weaken a storm.  Of course we need a good set of wheels…  I think you understand the analogy.  A storm needs a high relative humidity to gain strength; it also needs cooler temperatures in the upper levels of the atmosphere.  If the conditions are perfect a powerful hurricane will form.  Water temperature is only one part of the equation.
Anthony Yanez