Parts of a Hurricane

The EYE is located directly in the center of the hurricane. The average diameter of the eye is 20-40 miles across. Larger storms, such as typhoons in the Pacific, may have eyes as wide as 50 miles. The entire storm rotates around the eye. Inside the eye the wind is calm, the skies are clear, and the air pressure is very low.

The EYE WALL surrounds the eye. It can be anywhere from 5-30 miles wide. The most damaging winds and heaviest rains are found in the eye wall.

RAIN BANDS are a series of dense clouds that form a spiral around the eye wall. They give the hurricane a pinwheel appearance. These dense bands of thunderstorms spiral slowly counterclockwise. They range in width from a few miles to tens of miles and are 50 to 300 miles long. Sometimes the bands and the eye are hidden by higher level clouds. This makes it difficult for forecasters to use satellite imagery to monitor the storm.

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Images of parts of a hurricane from the University of Illinois WW2010 Project.