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Hurricane Ida strikes USA

GS Paper 1:

Topics covered: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc.


Context: Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana on Sunday. It is an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm, forcing those who did not flee to brace themselves for the toughest

When do hurricanes occur?

The Atlantic Hurricane season runs from June to November and covers the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, while the Eastern Pacific Hurricane season runs from May 15 to November 30.

  • Hurricanes are categorized on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which rates them on a scale of 1 to 5 based on wind speed.
  • Hurricanes that reach category three or higher are called ‘major hurricanes’ because of their potential to cause devastating damage to life and property.

What are hurricanes and how do they form?

Tropical cyclones or hurricanes use warm, moist air as fuel, and therefore form over warm ocean waters near the equator.

  • As NASA describes it, when the warm, moist air rises upward from the surface of the ocean, it creates an area of low air pressure below.
  • Air from the surrounding areas rushes to fill this place, eventually rising when it becomes warm and moist too.
  • When the warm air rises and cools off, the moisture forms clouds. This system of clouds and winds continues to grow and spin, fuelled by the ocean’s heat and the water that evaporates from its surface.
  • As such storm systems rotate faster and faster, an eye forms in the centre.
  • Storms that form towards the north of the equator rotate counterclockwise, while those that form to the south spin clockwise because of the rotation of the Earth.

What is the difference between a hurricane and a tropical storm?

There is no difference. Depending on where they occur, hurricanes may be called typhoons or cyclones.

  • As per NASA, the scientific name for all these kinds of storms is tropical cyclones.
  • The tropical cyclones that form over the Atlantic Ocean or the eastern Pacific Ocean are called hurricanes and the ones that form in the Northwest Pacific are called
  • Tropical storms that form in the Bay of Bengal or the Arabian Sea are called



Prelims link

  1. What is a hurricane?
  2. Regions where it is formed
  3. Conditions that give rise to hurricanes
  4. Differences between hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones 

Mains link

  1. Disaster preparedness vis-à-vis hurricanes