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Tropical Storms and Hurricanes

A hurricane is an intense tropical weather disturbance that occurs in the ocean when sustained winds reach 74 miles per hour or more.  Hurricanes thrive in waters with a temperature of at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit, combined with a moist environment and non-shearing winds in the upper atmosphere, which allow the hurricane to grow vertically.

Commonly, hurricanes move throughout a large and elevated pressure system called a Bermuda High, which is characteristic for the mid-Atlantic region of the United States; however some hurricanes can be difficult to forecast due to its unpredictable path.

Since 1953 hurricanes have been given names to keep track of storms occurring at the same time.  In 1979, male names were added to the register, which is comprised of six annual lists that are rotated every six years.  If a tropical storm or hurricane causes notable death or destruction, the name will no longer be used for future storms.


Although tornadoes occur in many parts of the world, these destructive forces of nature are found most frequently in the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains during the spring and summer months. In an average year, 800 tornadoes are reported nationwide, resulting in 80 deaths and more then 1,500 injuries. A tornado is defined as a violently rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground. The most violent are capable of tremendous destruction with wind speeds of 250 mph or more. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long.


Earthquakes strike suddenly, violently and without warning. Identifying potential hazards ahead of time and advance planning can reduce the dangers of serious injury or loss of life from an earthquake


Tsunamis are potentially devastating waves that can follow seismic events are threats to any coastal region. Florida has 1,197 miles of coastline, more than any of the lower 48 States.

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