August 27, 2010 - Hurricane Questions & Tropics Update

By: Mallory Brooke
By: Mallory Brooke

I'm answering your questions and giving a brief tropics update. Read all about it in today's blog!

I received 2 questions from a viewer about my previous blog - so let's get to it!

Don asked two questions, the first being: Why is the most intense part of a hurricane to the East of the storm?

The most intense part of a hurricane is typically in the eastern portion of it, specifically the northeast quadrant relative to the storms path. Sometimes it's easier to think of it as the "left" or "right" part of the system because not all hurricanes will have a due north path. 

With counterclockwise winds around the hurricane, the wind motion in the NE quadrant (or upper right)  would be following the storm's motion. Let's say we have a storm with 95 mph winds around it and it's moving at 15 mph. The NE quadrant would receive the 95 mph winds of the storm PLUS the 15 mph from the storm motion because they're in the same direction (directions are parallel), giving a total feel of 110 mph winds. Conversely, the SW quadrant would have the 95 mph winds but the storm motion is counteracting that with 15 mph winds, giving a total feel of 80 mph winds. This is the same reason we see stronger storm surge on the eastern side of the storm.

As I mentioned, this is relative to the storm's path. If the storm is moving due north, the most intense part of the storm would be on the east side. If the storm is moving west, the most intense part would be on the north side.

I hope this makes sense!

Don's second question was about that dreaded equation and where you could find it. There's a phenomenal website, www.theweatherprediction.com, that has EVERYTHING you could possibly think of when it comes to weather. It was beyond helpful while studying for my CBM (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist) exam.

Ok, a quick tropics update. Boy, the tropics are getting busy! Hurricane Danielle is in the midst of rapid intensification, even after being upgraded to Category 4 status. She has wobbled off track a bit during this intensification, placing her farther west than the official track from the National Hurricane Center. That's bad news for Bermuda. Further bad news for the little island as many models bring Tropical Storm Earl to hurricane status within 48 hours with a path closer to Bermuda - but possibly in between Bermuda and the East Coast. Finally, there's soon-to-be Fiona. I've had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach about her, but it's too early to speculate possible landfalls, if any.

Josh & George will keep all of you updated in my absence on these storms. Valley weather will be dry, calm, and hot. With inactive weather in the Valley, all eyes will be kept on the tropics as the East Coast is not out of the woods by any means with this weather pattern.

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