And now, I have meteorologist and star of the hit documentary series, "Weathering the Storm," Darius Dagger here with me to explain exactly what is going on when a hurricane, like Harvey, begins to wreak havoc.
I'm honored, Charlotte.
Hurricanes are circular storms that move in the counterclockwise direction. They have wind speeds of at least 74 mph, and some have wind speeds higher than 157 mph. They form in warm waters, such as the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean. Most hurricanes occur during hurricane season, from June to November. Harvey is happening during hurricane season, in August.
The rain bands are the clusters of clouds stretching out from the center of the hurricane. Rain bands lead to thunderstorms and lots of rain, and they're even responsible for starting tornadoes.
The eye wall, surrounding the eye, has stormy weather and the highest wind speeds.
The eye is located at the center of the hurricane. The weather in the eye is like the calm before a storm - mild winds, and light cloud cover.
THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON HURRICANE SCALE
Hurricanes are sorted into categories based on their wind speeds using the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Harvey was a category 4 hurricane because winds of 130 mph were reported in Texas. However, for hurricanes to get this strong, there needs to be very specific conditions present.
Temperatures of approximately 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
The warm waters of the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, or the Caribbean.
A location within 20 degrees of the Equator.
Low air pressure, which creates more stormy weather, causing more wind.
Heat from the tropical waters rises into the air, rising higher due to its low density.
High wind shear, which is when wind speed and direction changes rapidly.
When these conditions are present, a hurricane might start to form.
Next, rushing, powerful winds force the hot air even higher.
Beneath the layer of clouds, winds move inwards in a circular motion around the low pressure eye.
Hot, humid air meets the cold, unsteady air.
Cold, unstable air
Winds at slightly higher altitudes push the clouds outwards, which makes the dense, cold air sink.
The wind continues to swirl counterclockwise around and around the rising hot air and sinking cold air and beneath the cloud layer, with the storm centered at the low pressure eye. As the wind gets faster and faster, the storm goes from a tropical depression to a tropical storm to a hurricane.