ATLANTA — ATLANTA – Hurricane Dorian could bring coastal flooding and damaging winds to Georgia, but it appears the strongest winds will stay away from our state.

Like other hurricanes, the strongest winds of Hurricane Dorian are along the right front quadrant.

Why?

Hurricanes carry devastating rain and winds that can wreck an entire city. Whether a minimal category one or a monstrous category five, hurricanes have a strong side and “weaker” side. In the case of Hurricane Dorian, we’re talking about the northeast section of the hurricane.

“The right front quadrant is based on the direction on movement,” says David Stooksbury, Associate Professor in Engineering at the University of Georgia. “Thus, if the hurricane is moving due north, the right front quadrant would be the northeast quadrant of the storm. If the storm is moving due west, then the right front quadrant is on the northwest side of the storm.”

Dorian is taking a path similar to many other Atlantic hurricanes in the past. It formed in the warm waters of the Atlantic basin. Trade winds steered the hurricane to the west then to the north once it neared the United States.

The winds of a hurricane are strongest when they’re moving with the direction of travel.

“As the storm moves forward, likely to the west or northwest, the winds on the northeast side would be the strongest,” Joel Cline of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

Since Dorian is moving to the north, the right side of the hurricane where the winds are moving in a northerly direction are the strongest. Once the winds turn and begin moving to the south, against the direction of travel, they’re not as strong.

The impact of this can be quite significant.

“Wind speed includes the winds of the storm plus the winds associated with the movement of the storm,” Stooksbury explained.

If a hurricane has winds that are a consistent 75 miles an hour along the eye wall, and makes landfall traveling 15 miles an hour, the right front quadrant will carry the punch of a 90 mile an hour storm.

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