MadSci Network: Earth Sciences

Re: Why is the center of a hurricane called the eye

Date: Mon Nov 30 15:40:47 1998
Posted By: Mark Friedman, Undergrad, Biology
Area of science: Earth Sciences
ID: 910902723.Es

Surprisingly, hurricanes are formed from simple thunderstorms. However, these thunderstorms can grow to hurricane strength only with cooperation from both the ocean and the atmosphere. First, the ocean water must be warmer than 81°F. It is this heat and moisture from the warm water ultimately provides the energy for hurricanes. Because of this, hurricanes will weaken rapidly when they travel over land or colder ocean

The “eye” is the circular region in the center of a hurricane with relatively calm winds and fair weather. There is little precipation and sometimes clear skies can even be seen. Eyes range in size from 5 miles to 120 miles across, but most are 20 to 40 miles in diameter. (Weatherford and Gray 1988) .

It appears that the center of a hurricane is given this term simply to describe its location and appearance.

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