First Alert Weather Academy: The eye of the storm

First Alert Weather Academy: The eye of the storm

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The center of circulation, area of lowest pressure, the “center” and the eye. All of these terms can be used to describe the area of lowest pressure within a tropical depression, tropical storm or hurricane.

While every tropical system has a spot where the pressure is lowest, not every system has one of those clear, easy-to-see, eyes.

So, how does that clear spot in center of a hurricane form?

It has to do with converging air! Severe winds around a hurricane flow towards the center, or area of lowest pressure, but are deflected around the eye due to the Coriolis force. Winds are then concentrated around the eye in what is called the eye wall.

Within the eye, weather conditions improve. The sky may clear, the sun may shine, and winds will be much weaker than in the surrounding eyewall.

Stronger hurricanes tend to have the clearest eyes. That's because some of the winds from the very powerful eye wall are forced towards the center of the storm where they collide and sink.

This sinking air is mostly above the ground – it limits cloud development and clears the sky within the eye.

A clear, symmetrical eye is often a sign of a very powerful hurricane. Keep than in mind next time the WTOC First Alert Weather team is tracking a tropical system on satellite.

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