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Portal:Tropical cyclones

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Tropical Cyclones Portal

Typhoon tip peak.jpg

A tropical cyclone is a storm system characterized by a large low-pressure center, a closed low-level circulation, and a spiral arrangement of numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and heavy rainfall. Tropical cyclones feed on the heat released when moist air rises, resulting in condensation of water vapor contained in the moist air. They are fuelled by a different heat mechanism than other cyclonic windstorms such as nor'easters, European windstorms, and polar lows, leading to their classification as 'warm core' storm systems. Most tropical cyclones originate in the doldrums near the Equator, approximately 10 degrees away.

The term 'tropical' refers to both the geographic origin of these systems, which form almost exclusively in tropical regions of the globe, and their formation in maritime tropical air masses. The term 'cyclone' refers to such storms' cyclonic nature, with anticlockwise rotation in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise rotation in the Southern Hemisphere. Depending on its location and intensity, a tropical cyclone can be referred to by names such as 'hurricane', 'typhoon', 'tropical storm', 'cyclonic storm', 'tropical depression', or simply 'cyclone'.

Pictured: Typhoon Tip

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The Bhola cyclone on November 11, 1970, at 0858 UTC

The 1970 Bhola cyclone was a devastating tropical cyclone that struck East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) on November 12, 1970. It was the deadliest tropical cyclone ever recorded, and one of the deadliest natural disasters of modern times. At least 500,000 people lost their lives in the storm, mostly as a result of the storm surge that flooded many of the low-lying islands of the Ganges Delta. This cyclone was the sixth cyclonic storm of the 1970 North Indian Ocean cyclone season and was also the most powerful, reaching a strength equivalent to a Category 4 hurricane.

The cyclone formed over the central Bay of Bengal on November 8 and moved north, intensifying as it did so. It reached its peak with winds of 185 km/h (115 mph) on November 12 and made landfall on the East Pakistan coast that night. The storm surge devastated many of the offshore islands, wiping out villages and destroying crops throughout the region. In the most severely affected Thana, Tazumuddin, over 45% of the population of 167,000 was killed by the storm.

The Pakistani government was severely criticised for its handling of the relief operations following the storm, both by local political leaders in East Pakistan and in the international media. The opposition Awami League gained a landslide victory in the province and continuing unrest between East Pakistan and the central government trigged the Bangladesh Liberation War, which concluded with the creation of the state of Bangladesh.


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Inigo Apr 4 2003.png

Cyclone Inigo near peak intensity, as a Category 5 severe tropical cyclone on the Australian region scale, with 10-minute sustained winds of 150 miles per hour (240 km/h) and 1-minute sustained winds of 160 miles per hour (260 km/h). This image was taken from by one of NASA's EOSDIS satellites on April 4, 2003, while the cyclone was to the south of Indonesia.


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Did you know…


Hina Mar 16 1985 0319Z.png
  • …that according to an unofficial reanalyisis using the Dvorak technique, Cyclone Hina (pictured) had a peak intensity of 170 kt (195 mph, 315 km/h)?
Onil 02 oct 2004 0928Z.jpg
Guba 2007-11-16 Aqua.jpg
Hurricane Faith 1966.jpg
  • … that Hurricane Faith (pictured) was tracked until it was located 600 miles (965 km) from the North Pole?


Tropical cyclone anniversaries

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October 14,

  • 1982 - Typhoon Nancy with 1-minute sustained winds of 215 km/h (130 mph) makes landfall over northern Luzon killing 128 people and damages of $58 million.
  • 1998 - Typhoon Zeb (pictured) made landfall on northeastern Luzon in the Philippines having weakened from its peak intensity of 285 km/h (180 mph) winds. Zeb killed a total of 99 people and left about $800 million in damage.
Cecil Oct 15 1985 0737Z.png

October 15,

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October 16,


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