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Portal:Tropical cyclones

Tropical cyclones portal

Satellite photograph of Typhoon Tip

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, as well as to 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 may 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 Typhoon Paka

Typhoon Paka (international designation: 9728, JTWC designation: 05C, PAGASA designation: Rubing, also known as Super Typhoon Paka) was the last tropical cyclone in the 1997 Pacific hurricane and typhoon season, and was among the strongest Pacific typhoons in the month of December. Paka, which is the Hawaiian name for Pat, developed on November 28 in the central Pacific Ocean from a trough near the equator well to the southwest of Hawaii. After initially tracking northward, the storm turned to the west due to a strong high pressure area to its north, and on December 7 it crossed into the western Pacific Ocean. The cyclone intensified into a typhoon as it crossed the Marshall Islands on December 10, and continuing to intensify Paka struck Guam and Rota on December 16 with winds of 230 km/h (145 mph). The typhoon strengthened further and reached its peak intensity by December 18 over open waters. Subsequently it underwent a steady weakening trend, and on December 23 Paka dissipated.

Typhoon Paka first impacted the Marshall Islands, where it dropped heavy rainfall and resulted in $80 million in damage (1997 USD, $100 million 2007 USD). Later, it passed just north of Guam, where strong winds destroyed about 1,500 buildings and damaged 10,000 more; 5,000 people were left homeless, and the island experienced a complete power outage following the typhoon. Damage on the island totaled $500 million (1997 USD, $645 million 2007 USD), which warranted the retirement of its name. Paka also caused light damage in the Northern Marianas Islands. The typhoon resulted in no fatalities.

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Wilma1315z-051019-1kg12.jpg

This false-color satellite image of Hurricane Wilma was taken at 13:15 UTC on October 19, 2005, just hours after Wilma had intensified to become the most powerful Atlantic hurricane ever observed with a pressure of 882 mbar. In this picture, Wilma has a 2 nautical mile wide eye, one of the smallest on record.


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Currently active tropical cyclones

Italicized basins are unofficial.

North Atlantic (2019)
No active systems
East and Central Pacific (2019)
No active systems
West Pacific (2019)
No active systems
North Indian Ocean (2019)
Depression ARB 07
Mediterranean (2019–20)
No active systems
South-West Indian Ocean (2019–20)
Tropical Cyclone Belna
Australian region (2019–20)
No active systems
South Pacific (2019–20)
No active systems
South Atlantic (2019–20)
No active systems

Last updated: 15:46, 8 December 2019 (UTC)

Did you know…


Hina Mar 16 1985 0319Z.png
  • …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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Tropical cyclone anniversaries

Wasa Dec 7 1991 1757Z.png

December 7,

Cleo.A2009342.0525.250m.jpg

December 8,

  • 1984 - Typhoon Doyle (1984) reaches peak strength as a Category 4 typhoon to the east of Luzon.
  • 2002 - Typhoon Pongsona made landfall in Guam becoming one of the strongest and costliest typhoons ever to hit the island. Pongsona caused a total of $700 million of damage.
  • 2009 - Cyclone Cleo (pictured) rapidly intensifies into an intense Category 4 cyclone over in the Indian Ocean.
Manny Dec 9 1993 1945Z.png

December 9,


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