View inside the eye of a hurricane?

Have any Dopers ever been in the eye of a hurricane? I’ve always wondered what you would see if you were on the ground in the dead center of the eye. Would the eye be large enough that you wouldn’t see a cloud in the sky? Or would it be small enough that you’d see a ring of clouds completely encircling the horizon? My Google search isn’t very successful. I can find pictures of hurricane eyes taken from airplanes, but none from the ground.

I remember it being somewhat brighter than when the hurricane was going on, but not devoid of clouds. There may have been patches of sky visible, but it was still cloudy and windy as the eye passed overhead. It just wasn’t as bad as when the other parts of the hurricane were going on. This was from when I was in high school (I’m 42 now). You could tell it was stormy, but it looked like the type of weather you get just before a storm.

I remember it being overcast, and the air seeming very “heavy.” I don’t recall seeing any blue sky. This was almost 50 years ago; I was seven, but I do remember it fairly well.

I was in a hurricane back in the 80s. The one thing I remember about the eye is: there were monarch butterflies. I have no idea how or why.

We were in Long Island at a conference when a hurricane came directly overhead. I don’t remember the name of the hurricane, but it was the same week when Gorbachev was overthrown by the hard liners.

It poured buckets of rain, then suddenly stopped. We came out and the sky above us was blue, but we could see the dark storm clouds moving away from us. We looked behind us, and we could see more think storm clouds coming right at us and we ducked back inside.

It never really occurred to us that we were in the eye of a hurricane because you can’t easily see the entire structure all at once like you can from the sky where you really see a wall of clouds. From the ground, it wasn’t really that impressive. Especially when you are dripping wet and cold.

That must have been Hurricane Bob.

I haven’t myself, but I talked to several deputies who stayed in town for Katrina when it passed over our town. They said when the wind died down they went outside thinking that the storm might be over. Their first clue were the birds-large numbers of birds flying in circles overhead. Then they turned around. Then they hurried back in doors. It was clear in the eye.
Fortunately they were better off than the police force of Bay St. Louis. They stayed in their police station in spite of warnings. By the time the water went down everything except the people were gone. equipment, cars, the building itself. the officers, according to the story, survived by holding on to the tops of the tall bushes that were in the lawn. So, surviving the winds is only part of the solution. :slight_smile:

You walk outside to see what damage has been done. It is calm, very calm. But you know it will all start over in a short time but the wind will be coming from the opposite direction. You don’t see a turning wall, just clouds in the distance from ground up in all directions. I was in one at Homestead ,Florida. We were on our way to Key West . They would not let us on the Key because a hurricane was going to make a direct hit. So we went to Homestead to wait it out. Of course it turned and went right over Homestead. Key West would have been fine.

It was night (this was Hugo) and the biggest thing is that the wind stopped and it was shockingly quiet.

The light looks really odd - sort of green, but not dark and gloomy, and it’s eerily quiet. I remember being able to hear the birds chirping, but nothing else at all. Which may have been just because we were hearing hurricane-force winds a few minutes before. The storm & winds started back up as quickly as they left.

I think the eye of Bob just grazed the tip of Long Island. The one I was in, a few years earlier, was Gloria . . . which went right through the middle of Long Island. I had an apartment right on the beach, and it was one of those things you should experience just once, and never again.

Typically, how big would the inside of the eye be, are we talking about 1 mile or many miles across? Does it vary with the strength of the hurricane?

I was in Boca Raton, FL when Wilma passed through in 2005 at around noon, and the eye went directly over my place. Like others have said, there was no blue sky, but the wind was almost zero and the rain stopped. The most impressive part of it was looking south and seeing the eye wall, it was almost a literal wall of clouds, moving very fast.

After the eye passed the winds reversed direction and were definitely stronger. My neighbors lost their pool screen, and I lost a palm tree in the front yard and most of the roof tiles.

It varies with the size. Small hurricanes can be more tightly wound up with small, compact eyes and pack greater peak winds.

When an eye went over where I was living in Taiwan, I also noticed the birds flying around in circles. I wonder if they keep flying at the same rate as the eye’s movement so they don’t have to fly into the approaching hurricane wall.

I was in Fort Myers, Fl in the mid-60s so I don’t remember the name of the hurricane; it was a few years after Donna flattened the place and people were still talking about Donna. Anyway, it passed over where I was at night so there wasn’t much to be seen anyway. I mainly remember the calm in the eye as apposed to the real storm. In any event, it was a minor hurricane and damage was very limited. It was interesting at the time but I’d hate to be in a big one.

I’ve been in the eye of several tropical storms and maybe a few hurricanes usually when they hit us they downgrade to tropical storms, but still.
It’s always kinda cool- at first it’s rainy and windy and overcast as anything, and it’s always really loud- hearing the rain just batter against the windows and such over and over- but then when we enter the eye, it just becomes nice and quiet, kinda overcast, and you can see grey clouds and all, but the rain just… stops. I’ve gone outside, and it’s always kinda neat- sometimes I’ve thought the air smelled a lil’ different, but it could have just been that particular storm, nothing really consistent. And usually the whole neighborhood is calm like that- it’s not like i can see a wall of rainy stuff coming back in the distance, though I could see over cast clouds, but it’s never small enough that it’s been like a ring of clouds or anything- just more like a storm in the distance, and you can feel coming. It’s always cool to be in the eye, and then know the other part is coming, the wind starts to pick up… the clouds darken up again, and then the noise starts to build up again of the rain- slow drops hitting the window, slowly speeding up again as the pitter-patter becomes a driving torrent again.

Very cool stuff.

Hurricane Andrew, 1992-- came in as a Category 5 storm, fast moving, small eye, passed over at night. The storm was incredible, the noise level so high that we were almost shouting to be heard, sitting in the dark wondering what was going to happen next. Suddenly the noise stopped. We went out the back door onto the concrete slab that had been a screen patio, now minus the aluminum frame and the screen. Big trees were down all over, fortunately none on my house. The air was still, the silence and the darkness profound. Overhead the stars were bright. This lasted only a few minutes as we were near the edge of the eye. When the wind resumed we went back inside for the “second half”.

Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne, 2004—both came in as Cat 2 storms, much larger and slower (and weaker) than Andrew. Frances’ eye seemed to stay over us forever, Jeanne almost as long. Again the absence of roaring noise was the most noticeable manifestation of the eye. Sky was mostly clear with ragged clouds. Hard to see the horizon with buildings, trees, etc around, so there was no sense of looming eyewall. Suddenly it just got dark with clouds again, and a squall of rain came in a sheet.

Hurricane Wilma, 2005—entered Florida’s west coast as a Cat 3 and we expected rapid deterioration over land. Surprise! She was still a 3 when her eye passed over us on the east coast, exiting Florida. This was a pretty fast storm, so the eye didn’t linger. We went out and perused damage, which was fairly extensive. Like the storms the previous year, sky cleared to patches of blue with mixed clouds. Wind dropped to virtually nothing. The return was sudden and forcefull.

To directly answer the OP, I’ve never been in a completely open area, like the ocean or perhaps the middle of the Everglades, where the horizon was visible all around during a hurricane passage. So I’ve never seen or felt that “middle of a bubble” experience.

Hurricane Beulah, 1967. Seagulls flying in it. Yes, it seemed very quiet, but as bbrp pointed out, we just finished going through a hurricane (and would in a few moments go through it again). Maybe the quiet was an illusion. Never thought about it that way. Thanks.

You can often see the eye very clearly in satellite photos, so I’d guess we’re talking dozens if not scores of miles.