The Anatomy of a Hurricane

The anatomy of a hurricane is fascinating, while a hurricane is only made of three parts and one part actually poses little to no danger at all the combination of the two remaining parts working together create one of Mother Natures biggest furies! A hurricane has three parts; spiral rain bands, the eye wall and the eye. All three pay an important role in the anatomy of a hurricane.

Spiral Rain Bands

The outer portion of the hurricane is known as the spiral rain bands, which is the largest part of the hurricane. The rain bands are mixed with wind that spirals in a counter clock wise motion towards the center of the storm.

The rain bands are mostly made up of thunderstorms that feed the hurricane. Helping the storm gain its speed and power. Tornadoes are also spawned from the rain bands.

Not every band has the same amount of rain, some bands can have significant rain in them, others have only a little and some bands are completely dry.

The rain bands can stretch hundreds of miles from the eye of the storm such as with Hurricane Gilbert in 1988, the rain bands extended over 500 miles.

The rain bands of an average hurricane have a width of 300 miles, although the category of the hurricane is not based on the size of the rain bands. Hurricane Andrew, historically documented as “the most devastating hurricane of the century” had rain bands that were only a 100 miles in width.

Eye Wall

The eye wall is the most powerful and dangerous part of the hurricane. It is a collection of clouds that surround the eye of the hurricane and contains the strongest winds and the largest amount of precipitation.

The eye wall is what creates the eye of the storm by sucking out any rain or clouds near the center of the wall. Wind speeds can reach up to 160 miles per hour in the eye walls.

The Eye

The eye of the hurricane is the calmest part of the hurricane with no rain or wind. It is a circular shape that measures 30 to 50 feet in width. This is the area that the hurrican hunters fly in to to meausre the wind speeds and air pressure to determine the category of the hurricane.

People often think the hurricane is over as they eye passes over and sun comes out again. However the remainder of the storm is yet to come. This is commonly known as the “Calm before the storm.”

While the second half of the hurricane is often more violent that the first part. The hurricane’s right side is much more powerful than the left side and in many cases the left side of the hurricane is experienced before the right side.

The anatomy of a hurricane is quite simple, almost too simple to believe that it can cause such devastation and destruction.