|

Amazing Facts: Hurricanes

"Board up the windows, haul your boat onto dry land, get in a supply of food and water -- there's a hurricane coming!" These words are all too familiar to those who live on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Central America, the United States, and Canada. (There are hurricanes in the southern hemisphere, too.) The force of a hurricane, which can pack winds of 75 to 200 miles an hour, is truly awe-inspiring. These big, circular storms, up to 600 miles across, also produce high seas and major coastal floods. It's no wonder that the native peoples of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean saw these great storms as a sign of a god's anger. The name they gave this god was Huracan, controller of the mighty wind. The name was adopted by European explorers, so today the TV weather forecaster is paying tribute to a forgotten but powerful being without knowing it.

In light of the above, is it or is it not a coincidence that on the east coast of Asia, the same type of huge, violent storm is probably also named after a supernatural being? To the ancient Greeks, Typhon was a monster who roared out flames and smoke (lightning and thunder). When Typhon and other destructive giants were buried under Sicily's Mt. Etna by the gods, their struggles to escape produced earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The name of Typhon appears to have spread eastward as far as Asia, giving us the name of the fearsome Pacific typhoon.

As for the two other well-known types of circular wind storm, the cyclone comes from the Greek kyklos (circle), while tornado was originally the Spanish word tronada (thunderstorm). Whether it's a hurricane, typhoon, cyclone or tornado, better plan to stay out of it.

|


highlights

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

8 Products to Help Your Family Go Plastic-Free
How can you minimize your family's exposure to harmful chemicals and lessen your impact on the environment? Try swapping out some of your everyday plastic products with these non-plastic alternatives.

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks