- from Hurricanes
Why don’t hurricanes ever form in Kansas, Oregon, or Vermont? Why do they always start in the tropics?
It’s because of a part of the tropics that lies between five degrees north and five degrees south latitude of the equator. There, ocean waters are at least 80°F over a large area. That is the first ingredient a hurricane needs to develop. The second ingredient is wind blowing westward off the continent of Africa.
Hurricanes feed on warm moist air rising from the Atlantic Ocean. Warm water evaporates (turns into water vapor) and rises from the surface of the ocean. As it rises, it cools. This causes the water vapor to condense (to become more dense or compact). Then, cumulonimbus clouds form. A cumulonimbus is a very large thunderstorm cloud that rises to a great height. Once these clouds form, the first stage of hurricane development has begun.