Why is the right side of a hurricane more dangerous?

Have you ever wondered why meteorologists say that the east side of hurricanes is the most dangerous? Or call it the “dirty side” of the storm?

Typically, the right front quadrant of a storm in the Northern Hemisphere brings stronger winds, waves and storm surge, according to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.

If you look at a satellite image of Hurricane Franklin in the Atlantic Ocean. The right front quadrant, essentially from 1 o’clock to 3 o’clock on our imaginary clock, will have the strongest winds and worst storm surge. The United States will not have to worry about the downside of Hurricane Franklin because it continues to move northeastward in the Atlantic Ocean.

Another image below of Hurricane Nicole in 2022 shows the right side of the storm.

Every cyclone or low pressure circulates internally counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, including hurricanes, nor’easters, and most tornadoes.

How the Right Front Quadrant Generates Faster Wind Speed

Steering currents, driven by atmospheric airflow at upper levels, increase the strength of maximum sustained winds in that quadrant. For example, if a hurricane’s directional currents were moving at 30 mph and the hurricane’s sustained winds were 80 to 100 mph, the combination results in a wind speed of 130 to 150 mph at 3 o’clock on the clock face. .

Researchers have found that the right front side of a hurricane has the strongest winds and the worst storm conditions.FOX Weather

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On the left side of the hurricane (9 o’clock on our imaginary clock), the maximum sustained winds flow against the directive currents. So in the example above, the 30 mph steering current would reduce the hurricane wind speed from 100 mph to 70 mph, according to UCAR. The National Hurricane Center takes this into account when issuing official wind estimates.

Storm surge is also higher on the east side of a hurricane

The faster winds on that energized “right side” of the hurricane create higher waves, slightly higher wind gusts, and storm surge. The National Hurricane Center wrote that the storm surge caused by the storm’s low pressure (the atmosphere that presses least on the surface of the water) is minimal (about 5%) compared to the amount of water pushed ashore by the wind with hurricane force.

When a storm surge caused by being in the right quadrant of the storm aligns with a waterway such as a bay or river, the effects can be even more dangerous.

Hurricane Idalia approaches the Florida coastHurricane-force wind speeds can reach at least 150 miles per hour, experts say. Andrew West/The News-Press / USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA

But being on the other side of the storm can have opposite effects. In 2017, Hurricane Irma made landfall on Marco Island, Florida, placing Tampa Bay on the left side of the storm.

The 115 mph northeasterly winds were coming from offshore and actually blew water out of Tampa Bay. The video shows exposed boardwalks and birds walking on what, just hours before, was under water on foot.

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Workers place plywood over the bar to protect it before the hurricane hits.Faster winds on the “right side” of a hurricane can cause higher waves, gusty winds and cause dangerous conditions.Getty Images

According to the National Weather Service, most tornadoes embedded in thunderstorms in the rainbands and hurricane eyewall also form in the right front quadrant. Tornadoes spawned by a tropical system are generally weak and short-lived, but can still cause damage.

The NWS analyzed tornadoes formed by tropical systems in central South Carolina and eastern Georgia between 1950 and 2013. Their research showed that most tornadoes originated from tropical storms and hurricanes that made landfall in the Gulf of Mexico and They traveled northeast.

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Source: vtt.edu.vn

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