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 and 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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Selected article

Radar image of Tropical Storm Barry making landfall

Tropical Storm Barry was a strong tropical storm that made landfall on the Florida Panhandle during August 2001. The third tropical cyclone and second named storm of the 2001 Atlantic hurricane season, Barry developed from a tropical wave that moved off the coast of Africa on July 24 and tracked westward. The wave entered the Caribbean on July 29 and spawned a low pressure area that organized into Tropical Storm Barry on August 3. After fluctuations in intensity and track, the system attained peak winds of 70 mph (110 km/h) in the Gulf of Mexico, and headed northward before moving ashore on the Gulf Coast.

Unlike the devastating Tropical Storm Allison earlier in the season, Barry's effects were moderate. Nine deaths occurred, six in Cuba and three in Florida. As a tropical cyclone, rainfall peaked at 8.9 in (230 mm) at Tallahassee, and winds gusts topped out at 79 mph (127 km/h). The wave that would become Barry dropped large amounts of rain across southern Florida, which led to significant flooding and structural damage. Moderate flooding occurred throughout the Panhandle, where damage was also reported as a result of high wind gusts. As the storm's remnants tracked inland, parts of the Mississippi Valley received light precipitation. Barry is estimated to have caused $30 million (2001 USD, $36.5 million 2008 USD) in damage.

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Selected picture

Gafilo 2004-03-06 0655Z.jpg

The MODIS instrument onboard NASA's Terra satellite captured this true-color image of Tropical Cyclone Gafilo churning in the waters northwest of Madagascar on March 6, 2004. At the time this image was taken, Gafilo has sustained winds of approximately 160 mph. Cyclone warnings had been posted for all of northwestern Madagascar.


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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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Did you know…

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Tropical cyclone anniversaries

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  • February 13, 2006 - Cyclone Vaianu (pictured) reached its peak intensity with a central pressure of 965 hPa (mbar). Vaianu caused flooding in Tonga.
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  • February 16, 2005 - Cyclone Olaf (pictured) reached its peak intensity with winds of 270 km/h (165 mph) to the northeast of American Samoa. Olaf caused over $10 million of damage on the islands.


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