A hurricane is a tropical cyclone type or severe tropical storm that forms in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Eastern Pacific Ocean. A typical cyclone is accompanied by thunderstorms, and in the Northern Hemisphere, a counterclockwise circulation of winds near the earth’s surface. All Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas are subject to hurricanes. Parts of the Southwest United States and the Pacific Coast also experience heavy rains and floods each year from hurricanes spawned off Mexico. The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June to November, with the peak season from mid-August to late October. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15 and ends November 30.
Hurricanes can produce winds exceeding 155 miles per hour as well as tornadoes and mircrobursts, causing catastrophic damage to coastlines and several hundred miles inland. Hurricanes can create storm surges along the coast and cause extensive damage from heavy rainfall. Floods and flying debris from severe winds are often the deadly and destructive results of these weather events. Slow moving hurricanes traveling into mountainous regions tend to produce especially heavy rain. Excessive rain can trigger landslides, mud slides or flash flooding.
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