Why do hurricanes rotate counterclockwise?

November 19, 2008 11:49:54 AM PST
Hurricanes only rotate counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, but you're right, they always rotate counterclockwise. This is because of the Earth's rotation.

Erica's Answer:

The rotation centers around the Equator. Winds to the north of the Equator will get deflected to the north. This force of deflection is called the Coriolis force, and it gets stronger as you travel further away from the Equator. Low pressure systems such as hurricanes have converging winds; that is, the wind moves inward toward the center of the storm. When this inward movement of air gets deflected by the Coriolis force, it causes a counterclockwise rotation. This rotation is true for all large low pressure systems in the Northern Hemisphere. That includes blizzards, Nor'Easters, and all other storms that are a few hundred miles wide or wider.

- Erica


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