Hurricanes are terrifying natural disasters that are feared by many, but it’s helpful to know that most occur harmlessly out at sea and never make it to land.
They form over the ocean thanks to warm tropical waters combined with powerful thunderstorms but are quite rare with an average of only 10 per year.
In an average year, only 3 hurricanes make it to the coastline of the United States, whilst this may not seem like a lot they cause massive destruction and average around 30 – 50 deaths each.
Today, we’re going to take a closer look at hurricanes and specifically answer a question that is often asked when discussing these weather events. “Do hurricanes touch the ground?”
No, contrary to popular belief there is no contact between the clouds and ground in a hurricane. A hurricane is made up of strong winds, water as well as dirt, and debris but unlike a tornado, hurricanes don’t contact the ground.
Let’s take a closer look…
Do Hurricanes Touch The Ground?
Hurricanes DO NOT touch the ground. In fact, there’s no contact whatsoever between the hurricane and the ground at any despite it sometimes looking that way.
Not many people get up close and personal to hurricanes for obvious reasons, but from the ground, they look like really bad rainstorms combined with strong winds and debris.
Category 5 hurricane winds are a minimum of 157mph and are strong enough to pull trees right out of the ground.
But unlike tornadoes, hurricanes have no singular point of contact with the earth and can be over 300 miles wide!
The eye of a hurricane although relatively calm in comparison to the outside can be as large as 20 – 40 miles wide.
The eyewall which surrounds the eye is composed of dense clouds that contain the highest winds in the storm, which is why they look so magnificent from space.
How Often Do Hurricanes Make Landfall?
The good news is that many hurricanes form and die out over the ocean and never make it to land where they lose power.
They start off as a tropical wave over the ocean, then mixed with the right conditions they end up as the most violent storms on Earth.
In a typical year, only three hurricanes make landfall in the United States. It’s not very often this happens, but when it does it can bring severe weather and has the potential to cause many deaths.
Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that there have been over 300 hurricanes that have directly hit the U.S coastline since 1851.
Interestingly, more than 80% of those hurricanes hit three states – Florida, Texas, and Louisiana.
In the last 50 years, only nine category 4 or 5 hurricanes have hit the mainland United States, with six of these being from 2017 onwards.
Hurricane Andrew alone caused a whopping $26 billion in damages to the state in 1992.
What Happens When A Hurricane Makes Landfall?
When hurricanes make landfall they immediately begin to lose power as they are no longer drawing fuel from the ocean water.
However, depending on the strength of the hurricane it can still have time to cause millions in damages and take the lives of people living in the affected areas.
Once they cross a coastline, they start to dump several inches of rain, strong gusts, and perhaps thunder and lightning into the area below.
This can cause havoc on coastal towns as the storm can be so severe, often flooding whole areas, ripping trees out of the ground, and even toppling buildings.
But as the hurricane begins to travel further inland it weakens until ultimately it dies out. The clean-up process from a hurricane can take anywhere from weeks to months and requires massive effort.
Communities come together and often support packages are provided to help recover from the hurricane.
What Does A Hurricane Look Like From The Ground?
Whilst a hurricane from space may look menacing with a large rotating vortex, oftentimes they don’t look like much from ground level.
From ground level, a hurricane may look like a severe thunderstorm that is accompanied by strong winds and flooding.
However, oftentimes objects can be seen hurtling through the air due to the strong winds. This can be trees, cars, pets, or just about anything you can imagine being picked up by strong winds.
This will also be accompanied by intense rain and eery darkness that is brought on by the storm blocking out much of the sun’s rays.
It will also vary depending on the strength of the hurricane, with category 1 storms being the weakest and category 5 being the most dangerous.
A category 5 hurricane will look much different from a category 1. It’ll have much stronger winds and still be incredibly powerful when it makes landfall.
Hopefully, you never have to witness a hurricane from the ground, but if you do, make sure you’re far away from it and that you don’t see it up close as they are VERY dangerous.
Hopefully, you now have a clear answer to “do hurricanes touch the ground” and have learned something new today about these fascinating weather events.
Unlike tornadoes, hurricanes DO NOT touch the ground and actually make no contact with the ground at all during the storm.
Nevertheless, hurricanes are the most violent storms on earth and can cause massive destruction that can take months to recover from.
Communities are often flooded, buildings are toppled and farmlands get completely destroyed by hurricanes.
They bring incredibly strong winds, severe thunderstorms, and immense amounts of rain that make hurricanes very dangerous.
Hurricanes really are impressive forces of nature, they really put into perspective just how fragile life is.
I truly hope you never have to encounter one.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post and I’ll catch you in the next one!
Other Popular Posts
- Are Hurricanes Stronger Than Tornadoes?
- Can A Hurricane Cause A Tsunami?
- Hurricane Flooding: What You Need To Know
- Do Hurricanes Have Lightning?
- Do Hurricanes Form Over Land?
Hey, I’m Sam – the founder of GustyPlanet. I’ve had a fascination with all things weather for as long as I can remember. I witnessed my first tornado at the age of 6, and since then became an avid storm chaser that is hooked on learning as much as I can about extreme weather. This blog was created to share my knowledge and to expand and delve deeper into the wonderful world of weather phenomena. I hope you enjoy your stay here and thanks for visiting.