Cross-Section of a Hurricane
The high level clouds moving clockwise out away from the hurricane at heights of over 35,000 feet. These clouds are indicative of air spreading out over the top of the storm, which is essential to its development.
2. Feeder Bands
These are squally bands of showers characterized by strong gusty winds and heavy rains. These bands become more pronounced as the storm intensifies, and are fed by the warm ocean.
3. The Eyewall
A band of clouds, strong winds and heavy rains surrounding the eye of the storm. At the eyewall, there is rapid movement of air toward the center and upward into the cloud.
4. The Eye
What goes up must come down, so with the violent rising air converging toward the storm center at the eye, sinking air develops within. This air dries out, creating the clear, calm eye. Winds are very light here since the focus of convergence and hence strong winds are in the eyewall.
The Storm Surge
Low pressure in the hurricane can act as a plunger, slightly pulling up the water level. However, the components that contribute to the greatest storm surge affect are the winds blowing to the left side of the storm and the topography of the land as the storm makes land fall. The strongest surge comes ashore just to the right of the eye, where the fierce hurricane winds are blowing toward land. Winds on the left side of the storm might actually cause the water level to run slightly lower than normal. Higher water level allows waves to strike farther inland, causing massive property damage.
The Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale is a categorical classification of hurricanes based on their wind speed, used by the U.S. government's National Hurricane Center.
To qualify as a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane intensity scale, maximum sustained winds must exceed 155 mph (135 kt).
Hurricanes that have a severe impact on lives or the economy are remembered by generations after the devastation they caused, and some go into weather history.
AccuWeather.com has created a number of specialty maps designed for tracking the progress of tropical storms and hurricanes. Use these maps in conjunction with our Hurricane Position graphic, as well as statements issued by the NHC with storm positions.
Hurricanes (by whatever name) are by far most common in the Pacific Ocean, with the western Pacific being most active. In some years, the Philippines are struck by more than 20 tropical storms and typhoons.
Low pressure in the hurricane can act as a plunger, slightly pulling up the water level. However, the components that contribute to the greatest storm surge affect are the winds blowing to the left side of the storm and the topography of the land as the storm makes land fall.