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Tropical Cyclones Portal

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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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Hurricane Isabel approaching North Carolina's Outer Banks

Hurricane Isabel was the costliest and deadliest hurricane in the 2003 Atlantic hurricane season. The ninth tropical storm, fifth hurricane, and second major hurricane of the season, Isabel formed from a tropical wave on September 6 in the tropical Atlantic Ocean. It moved northwestward, and within an environment of light wind shear and warm waters it steadily strengthened to reach peak winds of 165 mph (265 km/h) on September 11. After fluctuating in intensity for four days, Isabel gradually weakened and made landfall on the Outer Banks of North Carolina with winds of 105 mph (165 km/h) on September 18. It quickly weakened over land and became extratropical over western Pennsylvania the next day.

In North Carolina, the storm surge from Isabel washed out a portion of Hatteras Island to form what was unofficially known as Isabel Inlet. Damage was greatest along the Outer Banks, where thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed. The worst of the effects of Isabel occurred in the state of Virginia, which reported the most deaths and damage from the hurricane. About 64% of the damage and 68% of the deaths occurred in the two states alone.

Moderate to severe damage extended up the Atlantic Coastline and as far inland as West Virginia. Roughly 6 million were left without power in the eastern United States from the strong winds of Isabel. Rainfall from the storm extended from South Carolina to Maine, and westward to Michigan. Throughout the path of Isabel, damage totaled about $3.6 billion (2003 USD, $3.95 billion 2006 USD). 16 deaths in seven states were directly related to the hurricane, with 35 deaths in six states and one province indirectly related to the hurricane.

Recently featured: Hurricane IwaTropical Storm BilisHurricane PaulineEffects of Hurricane Isabel in Maryland and Washington, D.C.Hurricane JuanBrowse

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Agnes2.jpg

Remnants of Tropical Storm Agnes over the northeast United States. Agnes dropped torrential and record-breaking rainfall, causing over $2 billion in damage (1972 USD) and more than 100 deaths. The name was later retired.


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Related WikiProjects

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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Did you know…

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Tropical cyclone anniversaries

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TS Bill 2003.jpg
OlgaJul119700644zITOS1.jpg
  • July 1, 1970 - Typhoon Olga (pictured) reached its peak intensity with 260 km/h (160 mph) winds.
Typhoon Chataan 08 july 2002 0400Z.jpg



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