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What Are the Parts of a Hurricane?

The main parts of a hurricane are its eye, the eyewall, and the rain bands.

Image from The National Weather Service’s JetStream – Online School for Weather.

The rain bands are the curved bands of clouds and thunderstorms that trail away from the center in a spiraling fashion.

The eye of Hurricane Isabel.

The eyewall is a ring of tall thunderstorms circling the center eye. Usually this is where we find heavy rains and the strongest winds.

The eye is the very center of the storm. From space, it looks like an open dot in the middle of the swirling clouds. It can be so clear that as it passes over, a person can look up and see blue sky or the night stars. It is often perfectly quiet and calm. A person who does not understand how hurricanes are structured might be relieved to think the terrible storm is over and then dismayed as the storm begins all over again, just as strong but with the winds coming from the opposite direction.