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WeatherTalk: Hurricane force winds are only found in a small part of a hurricane

The strongest winds are mostly found in and near the eye wall.

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Debris covers a road after heavy rains from Tropical Storm Erika hit the Caribbean island of Dominica in this picture from Robert Tonge, Dominican Minister for Tourism and Urban Renewal, taken August 27, 2015.
Robert Tonge, Dominican Minister for Tourism and Urban Renewal / Handout via Reuters
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FARGO — Did you know that the strongest winds of a hurricane are typically found only within a small portion of the hurricane? When you see hurricane updates that say "sustained winds," these winds are not found in the entire hurricane, but mostly in a relatively small area known as the eye wall. The eye wall surrounds the actual "eye" of the hurricane, and this is the spot of a hurricane that does most of the catastrophic damage.

Typically, hurricane force winds, from 74 mph to over 200 mph, are found within a relatively small area of the overall hurricane's area. This does not mean that the rest of the storm is weak. Extremely heavy rainfall and flooding from the coastal storm surge can do considerable damage tens of miles from a hurricane's center, and the outer rain bands of hurricanes are prime locations for tornadoes to develop.

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