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How big can hurricanes get?

Adam Flowers, Staff Reporter

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  Hurricane Florence has recently touched down on the eastern coast. The effects so far have been rather catastrophic, but how do other hurricanes compare?

  According to the YouTube channel, RealLifeLore, the Saphir-Simpson scale is a measurement used to measure hurricanes. It ranges from category one, being the lowest, and reaches to category five, being the highest.

  The smallest known hurricane, or cyclone, on record, is Tropical Storm Marco. A storm needs to have wind speeds of about 74 mph in order to be classified as a category one storm, yet Marco only reached 65 mph. The hurricane was comparatively smaller to other storms and the damage was very minimal.

  Hurricane Nate in 2017, a category one storm, became one of the costliest natural disasters in the history of Costa Rica, reaching as high as $787 million and taking the lives 48 total people.

  For reference, a category one storm has wind speeds ranging from 74 mph to 95 mph, which Nate was on the higher end of the scale at 90 mph.

  Hurricane Arthur is a recent example of a category two storm. The storm grew roughly to the size of the country Montenegro. Everything in category three and above can be considered to be major storms.

  Hurricane Otto in 2016 happened to be the first hurricane since 1996 to travel across the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific ocean. It had wind speeds of 115 mph and it was close in size to The Netherlands.

  Although this hurricane is only a category four storm, the deadliest hurricane in world history was the 1970 Bhola Cyclone that touched down in Bangladesh. It was the size of Albania and its aftermath caused 500,000 deaths.

  One of the most recent examples of a category five storm in American history is Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Katrina compares to the size of Poland and it caused $125 billion in damage, which is amongst some of the costliest hurricanes in world history.

  Hurricane Florence is classified as a category five storm and is roughly the size of France.

  Hurricane Patricia in 1979 was the size of Spain and Portugal combined and had wind speeds of 215 mph, the fastest in history.

  As terrible-sounding as all of these hurricanes may seem, the largest hurricane ever was Typhoon Tip in 1979. It started in the northwest Pacific and it was the size of India. At its peak, the wind speeds were 190 mph, yet it weakened down before it even touched Japan.

  These hurricanes seem very large and catastrophic, but in the mere future, hurricanes will most likely get bigger due to climate change. They will gain wind speeds from roughly 4 mph to 22 mph.

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About the Writer
Adam Flowers, Staff Reporter

I have been on the BluePrints staff since I was a sophomore. I enjoy performing, music, running, and naps.

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How big can hurricanes get?