The name hurricane is derived from the word hurricane of the Arawak speaking Indians of the West Indies. Basically hurricanes are inward spiraling storms with intense wind velocities (75 miles per hour or more), severe thunderstorms, and torrential rainfalls.
A misnomer is the act of applying a wrong name to some person or thing. Hurricanes and typhoons are violent tropical storms that are often given names that can sound casual or harmless. Such names as Andrew, Camille, Ginger, Flora, Bob, Gloria, Julio, or Hugo have been used to identify hurricanes in the past; however, their designations belie their behavior and the death and destruction they can bring. The annual selection of names is agreed upon in advance by the World Meteorological Organization of the United Nations. The nomenclature is multicultural. The Atlantic storms' list is mainly American and French. Central Pacific cyclones have Hawaiian names, and Hispanic names dominate storms of the eastern Pacific.
These powerful storms generally have a number of common characteristics. They form in late summer and early fall, have intertropical origins, and tend to start around the western margins of the ocean basins of the Northern Hemisphere. Usually there is an eerie calm in the air before a hurricane strikes. The hurricane itself is a huge round cone of counterclockwise churning air within a very low pressure system. The center, the eye of the storm, is calm. A hurricane can travel over the surface up to 100 miles per hour and extend to 300 miles wide. It can reach heights far above sea level.
Hurricane routeways include the West Indies, the Gulf Coast of Mexico and the United States, and the south Atlantic Coast of the United States. Hurricanes have, however, hit a number of states farther north, into Long Island and New England. In specific years the frequency has ranged irregularly from two to twenty-one hurricanes in the Atlantic with about an average of seven annually in the eastern Pacific. The hur-