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Treebeard's Stumper
19 September 2003

Hurricanes and Seasons

Mid-September is the peak of hurricane season, and Hurricane Isabel has been pounding the east coast. Next Tuesday, September 23 at 3:47 A.M. PDT, happens to be the autumnal equinox, the official end of summer. Tropical storms need heat and water vapor to develop. So why is the peak of hurricane season so near the end of summer? After all, the days have been getting a bit shorter ever since the summer solstice on June 21! As an oology bonus stumper, is there any good reason why it would be easier to balance an egg on its end on the equinox?

NASA photo (also here) of Hurricane Isabel approaching the east coast on September 15, 2003. This started as one of the strongest storms of the century, but it fortunately weakened as it approached landfall. Why do these huge tropical storms that depend on heat often develop months after the longest day of the year on the summer solstice?

Answer


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Copyright © 2003 by Marc Kummel / mkummel@rain.org