2 swirls, but only one can be a hurricane

Here is the difference between two types of cyclones


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Check out this satellite. Looks like another storm right next to Tropical Storm Chris, but it won't ever get named and here's why.

Although both systems spin counterclockwise at the surface, they are built differently and only the tropical systems get named by the World Meteorological Society. 

Tropical systems are capable of becoming much stronger than higher latitude storms called cyclones because tropical cyclones convert warm ocean water into energy which strengthens the warm core in a hurricanes eye. 

The key difference between the two is how one has a cold core verses a warm center in tropical cyclones.

So in the satellite above, the hole in the middle of the clouds is the center of Tropical Storm Chris, which is about to become a hurricane. Eye formation is typically an indication of winds reaching the minimum hurricane threshold at 74 mph.

Winds increase closer to the warm core in tropical systems while exratropical cyclones have high winds at greater distances from the storm center. 

Dry air will also wrap into higher latitude systems as seen by the yellow colors spiraling into the non-tropical cyclone northeast of Chris. Tropical systems thrive in moisture rich areas shown in the image as blue above. 

Everything is just right for Chris to turn into a hurricane while the storm leading it will never get listed in the hurricane archive.



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