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The eyewall of a hurricane

At the center of the hurricane, all is calm, and an observer looking up and around would see a towering circular ring of clouds rising into the heavens, the eyewall of the hurricane. As dreadfully powerful as these storms can be, the eyewall is still a majestic beautiful thing.
According to Accuweather's page on the Anatomy of a Hurricane,
 http://www.accuweather.com/wx/school/anatomy.htm

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.

They also explain that the vacuum effect created by the rising air in the eye wall works like a toilet plunger on the ocean, lifting the water surface, and this creates the notorious storm surge, which is where the worst destruction of a hurricane is done.

The images of hurricane eyewalls were taken from the following linked pages...

 http://netesc.com/aoc/n42rf/Projects/2003/hurricane03/n42rfhurricane03.html
 http://hurricanes.noaa.gov/prepare/structure_eye.htm
 http://www.srh.noaa.gov/serfc/archive/Isabel/HurricaneHunter/INDEX.HTM

. 23.Sep.2005 10:37

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I was listening to a guy who had just flown over hurricane Rita and he said the top wind gust they measured was 236 mph!

more eye images 23.Sep.2005 11:43

superstorm

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even more eye images 23.Sep.2005 11:44

wickedstorm

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I experienced the eye of Katrina when it passed over Miami. 23.Sep.2005 19:18

Miami Resident

It was relatively dark at the time so we couldn't see the eye-wall well. The effect was amazing. As the eye-wall passed over use, just before the eye itself, trees were being ripped out of the ground and thrown like toys. Within moments, the air calmed down to a slight breeze and then nearly no wind at all. For a second I thought, "The storm has passed," but it was a surreal thought because I knew this was no ordinary storm, it was a hurricane. It suddenly occurred to me that this was they eye of the storm. I pulled out my video camera and waited for the eye wall at the other side of the eye to come. It was a longer wait than I expected, but when it did come it was amazing. I had to hold on to the balcony of my high-rise apartment to take the video, but that proved to be too difficult so I went inside. Our 1/2 think glass windows (made for hurricanes) were flexing as if they were made of plastic. Here's a video. It was shot at night, looking over a parking-lot from the window of the apartment. This is Katrina's eyewall at night when it was only a category 2. The distortion you see is the glass (1/2 thick) bending. The sound is the wind...
Katrina in Miami at night
Katrina in Miami at night