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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. 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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Allison at peak intensity
Tropical Storm Allison was a tropical storm that devastated southeast Texas in June of the 2001 Atlantic hurricane season. The first storm of the season, Allison had an unusually long path for a June storm, which extended from Texas to the Mid-Atlantic states. Allison was also the first storm since Tropical Storm Frances in 1998 to strike the upper Texas coastline.

The storm dropped heavy rainfall along its path, peaking at over 40 inches (1000 mm) in Texas. The worst of the flooding occurred in Houston, where nearly $5 billion (2001 USD) in damage occurred. There, 30,000 became homeless after the flooding destroyed 2,744 homes. 23 people died in Texas.

Throughout its entire path, Allison caused $5.5 billion (2001 USD) in damage and 41 deaths. Aside from Texas, the places worst hit were Louisiana and southeastern Pennsylvania. Allison is the only tropical storm to have its name retired without ever reaching hurricane strength.

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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!

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Currently active tropical cyclones


Did you know…

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  • … that Hurricane Faith (pictured) was tracked until it was located 600 miles (965 km) from the North Pole?
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Tropical cyclone anniversaries

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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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July 25,

  • 1985 - Hurricane Bob (pictured) impacted South Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane. Bob caused about $20 million in damage.
  • 2002 - Hurricane Elida becomes the first of three Category 5 major hurricanes of the season. Elida had maximum sustained winds of 260 km/h (160 mph) and a minimum pressure of 921 hPa (27.20 inHg) out in the East Pacific.
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