Hurricanes are one of the deadliest natural disasters that occur on a frequent basis in the United States of America. However, they are nearly exclusive to coastal cities and states. Inhabitants of these areas are often on the look-out for weather reports that may warn of an incoming hurricane. Even though hurricane development is fairly easy to understand and therefore easy to predict, few people know the science behind them. There are three main factors that must come together to form a hurricane, and they all depend on the temperature of a large body of water such as the Gulf of Mexico.
The biggest factor in hurricane formation in the Gulf of Mexico is the temperature of the water. The water must be at least 79 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius) to even begin hurricane formation. If the water in the Gulf of Mexico is below 79 degrees Fahrenheit, it is very difficult for a hurricane to form. Even if a small hurricane begins to form, it will quickly dissolve once it rises above the water. The water in the Gulf of Mexico is frequently above 79 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the perfect breeding ground for a hurricane
Another important step during hurricane formation is humid air that rises above the water level. This humid air creates the clouds needed for the hurricane. Once again, this depends largely on the temperature of the water. When the water in the Gulf of Mexico is above 79 degrees Fahrenheit, it is much easier for water vapor to rise and form clouds. Without warm water, it is very difficult for warm, humid air to rise to the necessary levels to form clouds. Without these clouds, hurricane development is highly unlikely.
The last important step for hurricane formation is the collision of warm and cool air near the storm. Cool air comes out from the coastal areas surrounding the coastal cities near the Gulf of Mexico. The warm air is provided from the Gulf of Mexico itself, but only when the temperature of the water is warm. If the water is not warmer than 79 degrees Fahrenheit, then the air is not as warm. When the cool air coming towards the storm is not met with warm enough air, then it is highly unlikely that a hurricane will form.
All three of these important steps for hurricane formation depend largely on the temperature of the Gulf of Mexico. It is safe to say that the temperature of the water in the Gulf of Mexico is the single biggest factor in hurricane formation in that region. If the water is above 79 degrees Fahrenheit, hurricane development is possible; if it is below 79 degrees Fahrenheit, hurricane development is highly unlikely.