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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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Typhoon Tip at its record peak intensity on October 12, 1979

Typhoon Tip was the largest and most intense tropical cyclone on record. The nineteenth tropical storm, twelfth typhoon, and third super typhoon of the 1979 Pacific typhoon season, Tip developed out of a disturbance in the monsoon trough on October 4 near Pohnpei. Initially, a tropical storm to its northwest hindered the development and motion of Tip, though after it tracked further north Tip was able to intensify. After passing Guam, it rapidly intensified and reached peak winds of 305 km/h (190 mph) and a worldwide record low pressure of 870 mbar (hPa) on October 12. At its peak strength, it was also the largest tropical cyclone on record with a diameter of 2220 km (1380 mi). It slowly weakened as it continued west-northwestward, and later turned to the northeast under the influence of an approaching trough. Tip made landfall on southern Japan on October 19, and became an extratropical cyclone shortly thereafter.

Air Force Reconnaissance flew into the typhoon for 60 missions, making Tip one of the most closely observed tropical cyclones of all time. Rainfall from the typhoon breached a flood-retaining wall at a United States Marine Corps training camp in the Kanagawa Prefecture of Japan, leading to a fire which injured 68 and killed 13 marines. Elsewhere in the country, it led to widespread flooding and 42 deaths. 44 were killed or left unaccounted for due to shipwrecks offshore.

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Man-Yi 12 july 2007 0505Z.jpg

Typhoon Man-Yi (04W) off Taiwan near peak intensity, as seen from the MODIS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite on July 12, 2007. Man-Yi later weakened and struck Japan, causing three casualties.


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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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Currently active tropical cyclones

Italicized basins are unofficial.

North Atlantic (2019)
No active systems
East and Central Pacific (2019)
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West Pacific (2019)
No active systems
North Indian Ocean (2019)
No active systems
South-West Indian Ocean (2018–19)
No active systems
Australian region (2018–19)
Tropical Low 11U
Tropical Cyclone Riley
Tropical Low
South Pacific (2018–19)
No active systsms
South Atlantic (2018–19)
No active systems
Mediterranean (2018–19)
No active systems

Did you know…


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  • …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)?
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Guba 2007-11-16 Aqua.jpg


Tropical cyclone anniversaries

Cleveland Point flooded 28 January 2013.JPG

January 22

  • 1997 - Cyclone Pancho-Helinda reached its peak with a central pressure of 925 hPa (mbar) in the eastern Indian Ocean.
  • 2009 - Cyclone Oswald (flooding pictured) weakened into a tropical low, but its remnants brought torrential rainfall of over 1,000 mm (39 in) to eastern Australia. The rains caused widespread flooding that left US$2.28 billion in damage and six deaths.
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January 23

  • 1997 - Cyclone Gretelle (pictured) struck southeastern Madagascar with 220 km/h (140 mph) winds, which produced floods 16 m (52 ft) deep in some places. About 80,000 people were left homeless, and many were isolated after roads were damaged. The storm killed 152 people and left US$50 million in damage to the country.
  • 2005 - Cyclone Ernest hit Madagascar with 130 km/h (80 mph) winds. Ernest killed 19 people on the island.
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January 24


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