Tell Me > Curiosity Corner > Weather > Extreme Weather > What makes hurricane winds so strong?

What makes hurricane winds so strong?

Hurricanes are very intense and powerful storms. They start out as thunderstorms in tropical areas and make their way to land.  They gather power and speed as they travel across the ocean.  Hurricanes take in warm, moist air from the surface of the ocean and release cooler air above. As the air rises, it creates storm clouds and rain. More moist air comes up from the surface of the ocean.  This cycle of moving air and heat in the atmosphere starts the winds rotating. Winds at the surface rotate and increase speed.  Strong winds at the top, where the air is released, keep circulating at the same speed.  This keeps the hot air out of the center (the eye) of the hurricane and the moist air keeps rising. This is what gives the hurricane its shape. When the storm hits the coast, it can let loose very strong winds, as high as 180 miles per hour (300 kilometers per hour).