Hurricanelaura

April 1, 2021
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How Hurricane Laura Got Her Name

… And why she may be the last “Hurricane Laura” in our history.

HURRICANES 101

  • “Hurricanes” (also called “tropical cyclones“) are storms with winds 74 mph or higher. Storms with winds below 74 mph are “tropical storms.”
  • As a hurricane gets closer to shallow waters and land, winds surrounding the center of it blows water to the surface.
  • Although a hurricane’s strength (category) is measured by its wind speed, it’s rising water levels that lead to dangerous storm surges & flooding.

BACKGROUND

  • Scientists began giving hurricanes names (vs. scientific terms or numbers) to make it easier for people to recall, pronounce, and communicate with others about it without confusion.
  • Traditionally, hurricanes were named after saints.
  • In the 1900s hurricanes were mostly female-sounding names – a tradition without an origin. The U.S. began using both male & female names in 1979.

TODAY

  • Hurricanes are named by the World Meteorological Organization.
  • There are six lists of 21 names for Atlantic hurricanes that are reused on a six-year rotation, i.e., the 2020 list will be used again in 2026.
  • The lists alternate between traditional male & female names starting with “A” incl. every letter except Q, U, X, Y & Z.
  • Greek alphabet (ex: Alpha, Beta) is used if more than 21 hurricanes in a year.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Hurricanes that are particularly destructive and deadly, like Katrina (2005), Sandy (2012) and Harvey (2017), have their names permanently retired from the lists.
  • Hurricane Laura, like Hurricane Harvey is expected to make landfall as a Cat 4.
  • Cat 4 hurricanes (wind speeds between 130-156 mph) involve “catastrophic damages” incl. widespread power outages and destruction of homes.

Hurricane Laura made landfall early Thursday AM in southwestern Louisiana as a Cat 4. It is now a Cat 2 as it moves through the state. It is expected to further weaken to a tropical storm before it moves into Arkansas tonight. Check out our source page to access the latest news.

LATEST HURRICANE LAURA NEWS & PODCASTS FROM THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER

HOW HURRICANES ARE MEASURED

  • Category 1: 74-95 mph
  • Category 2: 96-110 mph
  • Category 3: 111-129 mph
  • Category 4: 130-156 mph
  • Category 5: 157 mph or higher

2020 LIST OF HURRICANE NAMES

  1. Arthur
  2. Bertha
  3. Cristobal
  4. Dolly
  5. Edouard
  6. Fay
  7. Gonzalo
  8. Hanna
  9. Isaias
  10. Josephine
  11. Kyle
  12. Laura
  13. Marco
  14. Nana
  15. Omar
  16. Paulette
  17. Rene
  18. Sally
  19. Teddy
  20. Vicky
  21. Wilfred


by Jenna Lee,

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