Weather Academy: Hurricane in a Bowl

Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 7:03 AM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Last week we explained how hurricanes formed, this week we are learning about the anatomy of a hurricane by making a hurricane in a bowl. Let’s put our knowledge to the test and make our own hurricane!

What you’ll need:

  • Large bowl
  • Water
  • Food coloring
  • Spoon
  • White construction paper (optional)


  1. Fill bowl ¾ of the way full with water*
  2. Stir the water in a counterclockwise position using the spoon
  3. Keep stirring to create a whirlpool that will keep spinning without needing to be stirred
  4. Add 1-3 drops of food coloring
  5. Watch how the food coloring spins and spreads out to the edges of the bowl!

*you can place the construction paper underneath the bowl so that it is easier to see the food coloring in the water

The center of the food color spiral represents the eye of the hurricane. This is typically the calmest area of the storm. Surrounding the eye of the hurricane is the eyewall which is where the most damaging winds are located. The food coloring has spread through the water and created bands. The bands moving around the center of the storm are the rainbands. Rainbands are the thunderstorms that circle around the eye of the hurricane. These storms are usually strong to severe and are capable of producing heavy rain, wind, and even tornadoes. Notice how the food coloring reaches all the way out to the edge of the bowl. This represents how large hurricanes can be. The average hurricane is about 300 miles wide, although the size can vary considerably from storm to storm. Some hurricanes are so large that they are even visible from space!

How did your hurricane in a bowl turn out? Submit photos and videos of your attempts at making a hurricane in a bowl here. Make sure to tune in next week when we learn about hurricane strength!

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