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    How Do Tropical Storms and Hurricanes Form?

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    Similarly to the natural process of pregnancy in humans, an animal, or other living creatures, storm systems have a distinct set of factors and processes to go through before a tropical storm or hurricane can be born.

    First and foremost, the environment has to be conducive for such storms to develop. Warm sea surface temperatures of around 79°F (26°C) or higher, low atmospheric wind shear, and high relative humidity from the surface up through the lower troposphere are a few of the primary characteristics that will promote tropical cyclone development. The second ingredient needed is a cluster of thunderstorms or some sort of cyclonic circulation within the favorable environment. Combined these two factors together, and a disorganized cluster of thunderstorms has a good shot to organize into a more formidable tropical storm or hurricane.

    Typical breeding grounds for tropical development during the Atlantic Hurricane season extend from the Cape Verde Islands (located approximately 350 miles to the west of Africa) westward into the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, and then northward along the Gulf Stream waters of the western Atlantic Ocean. The best breeding grounds for tropical development fluctuate throughout the Hurricane Season.

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