The National Weather Service has declared the week of July 14 – July 18 as Hurricane Awareness Week in New England.
Hurricanes, which are also referred to as “tropical cyclones,” are low pressure systems that generally form in tropical areas with warm ocean waters, atmospheric moisture, and relatively light winds. Hurricanes that affect the eastern parts of the United States typically form in either the tropical Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea or in the Gulf of Mexico. They consist of an eye, and eyewall, spiral bands of showers and thunderstorms, and reach sustained winds of up to 74 miles per hour or more.
In Maine, hurricanes don’t happen often but they can be devastating when they do. Recent storms that had impact on Maine are: Carol and Edna in 1954 (click here for actual Maine footage), Donna in 1960, Gloria in 1985, and Bob in 1991.
For more information on hurricanes and other natural disasters, we well as information on how to prepare, check out the Maine Prepares website.
Hurricanes have been named since World War II. In 1953, the U.S. started using a standardized list of female names when naming Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes. Male names were not used until 1979. There are currently six lists of names used in naming hurricanes with a different list being used each year. The lists are then repeated in six-year cycles. After names are used and have become associated with storms that caused significant death and/or damage, those names are retired from the list.
Here is the list of names that have been or will be used in 2014 (Hurricane Arthur already affected Maine in 2014 during the Fourth of July weekend):