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What is the dirty side of the storm? Will it impact Florida?

Tornadoes, strongest winds occur in storms right front quadrant

ORLANDO, Fla- – Through coverage of Hurricane Dorian the Pinpoint Weather Team often refers to part of the hurricane as the dirty side of the storm.

Every part of a hurricane is bad, but one section in particular is even more intense.

The storms right front quadrant is relative to the motion of the storm. If the storm is moving north, it would be on the upper-right side if you drew a cross down the center.

If the storm is moving west into land, it would be on the upper-left side of that cross. An easier way to think about this is the worst of the weather will be to the right of the eye. 

The direction of the storm matters because as wind moves counter clockwise around the center of the storm, wind shear is amplified as it encounters land. This is the region where the tornado threat with land-falling storms is the highest. This region also promotes onshore flow which creates deadly storm surge as it pushes water inland from the ocean.

Dirty side:

  • Higher tornado threat
  • Storm surge along the coast
  • Often times has the strongest wind gusts.

Below is how the storm will be oriented as it moves on or near the Florida coast.

With the current track, the dirty side of the storm looks to remain offshore. Water will still be pushed inland as onshore flow occurs, but storm surge would be even greater if the storm comes ashore, perpendicular to the coast. The tornado threat with Dorian will be also lower than with Irma. Tornadoes will still be possible, however as the outer bands from Dorian create their own wind shear as they interact with land.

Remember, all parts of the storm are bad, the dirty side is just worse.

Keep on eye on Hurricane Dorian by downloading WKMG's Hurricane Tracker App


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