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Subject: D6) Why are the strongest winds in a hurricane typically on the right side of the storm?
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Contributed by Chris Landsea

First, the "right side of the storm" is defined with respect to the storm's motion: if the hurricane is moving to the west, the right side would be to the north of the storm; if the hurricane is moving to the north, the right side would be to the east of the storm, etc.

In general, the strongest winds in a hurricane are found on the right side of the storm because the motion of the hurricane also contributes to its swirling winds. A hurricane with a 90 mph [145 km/hr] winds while stationary would have winds up to 100 mph [160 km/hr] on the right side and only 80 mph [130 km/hr] on the left side if it began moving (any direction) at 10 mph [16 km/hr].

Note that forecasting center advisories already take this asymmetry into account and, in this case, would state that the highest winds were 100 mph [160 km/hr].

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For tropical cyclones in the Southern Hemisphere, these differences are reversed: the strongest winds are on the left side of the storm. This is because the winds swirl clockwise south of the equator in tropical cyclones.

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