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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Satellite Image of Hurricane Floyd.

Hurricane Floyd was the sixth named storm, fourth hurricane, and third major hurricane in the 1999 Atlantic hurricane season. A Cape Verde-type hurricane, it struck the Bahamas and paralleled the coastline of the Eastern United States, making landfall in North Carolina as a Category 2 hurricane. The hurricane produced torrential rainfall in the state, adding more rain to an area hit by Hurricane Dennis just weeks earlier. Floyd was responsible for 57 fatalities and $5.13 billion in damage (2005 USD).

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Visual comparison of Hurricane Floyd and Hurricane Andrew. The two storms are at similar positions and nearly identical intensities (933 mbar), but Hurricane Floyd is remarkably larger. In 1999 at the time of Floyd, it was believed that the wind speeds of the hurricanes were nearly identical as well, at 120 knots (140 mph, 220 km/h). In 2002, however, hurricane re-analysis concluded that Andrew had stronger winds than had previously been thought, and in the picture the storm winds are actually close to 145 knots (165 mph, 270 km/h).


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Currently active tropical cyclones

North Atlantic (2017)

No active systems

East/Central Pacific (2017)

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North-West Pacific (2017)

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North Indian Ocean (2017)

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South-West Indian Ocean (2016–17)

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Australian region (2016–17)

Tropical Cyclone Caleb
Tropical Cyclone Debbie
Tropical Low 25U
Tropical Low 26U

South Pacific (2016–17)

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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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March 24,

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March 25,

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March 26,

  • 1935 - An unnamed tropical cyclone made landfall near Broome, Western Australia, killing 141 people.
  • 2004 - Cyclone Oscar (pictured), in the Australian basin reaches peak strength of 10-minute sustained winds of 165 km/h (105 mph), as it approaches the South-West Indian Ocean basin and to be assigned the name Itseng.


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