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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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Hurricane Mitch at peak intensity

Hurricane Mitch was one of the most powerful hurricanes ever observed, with maximum sustained winds of 180 mph (290 km/h). The storm was the thirteenth tropical storm, ninth hurricane, and third major hurricane of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season. At the time, Mitch was the strongest hurricane ever observed in the Atlantic Ocean in the month of October, though it has since been surpassed by Hurricane Wilma of the 2005 season. Mitch formed in the western Caribbean Sea, eventually reaching Category 5 status on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. It remained nearly stationary over water for several days, and eventually weakened, striking Honduras as a minimal hurricane.

Though Mitch weakened before striking land, it drifted just off the coast of Central America from October 29 to November 3, dropping historic amounts of rainfall, with unofficial reports of up to 75 inches (1,900 mm). Deaths due to catastrophic flooding made it the second deadliest Atlantic hurricane in history; nearly 11,000 people were killed with over 8,000 left missing by the end of 1998. The flooding caused extreme damage, amounting to around $7 billion (2005 USD), though exact totals will likely never be known.

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Floyd1999NCLandfall.gif

Radar animation of Hurricane Floyd making landfall on North Carolina.


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WikiProject Tropical cyclones is the central point of coordination for Wikipedia's coverage of tropical cyclones. Feel free to help!

WikiProject Meteorology is the main center point of coordination for Wikipedia's coverage of meteorology in general.

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Did you know…


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  • …that according to a unofficial reanalyisis using the Dvorak technique, Cyclone Hina (pictured) had a peak intensity of 170 kt (195 mph, 315 km/h)?
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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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July 22,

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July 23,

  • 1997 - The third of ten Category 5 typhoons, Typhoon Rosie reaches 10-minute winds of 185 km/h (115 mph).
  • 2005 - Tropical Storm Franklin reached its peak intensity with a central pressure of 997 hPa (mbar) to the southwest of Bermuda. Franklin caused only minimal effects on land.
  • 2012 - Typhoon Vicente (pictured) makes landfall over in Guangdong, China as a Category 4 typhoon, causing damages of nearly U$330 million.
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July 24,

  • 1979 - Tropical Storm Claudette (pictured) made landfall near the Texas-Louisianan border, bringing record levels of rainfall. The resulting floods caused about $400 million of damage.
  • 2005 - Tropical Storm Gert becomes the fourth of seven tropical cyclones to make landfall over in Mexico. As a weak tropical storm, Gert only killed one person and caused minimal damages.


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