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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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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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Allison 2001 rainfall.gif

Rainfall total map of Tropical Storm Allison in June 2001. The rainfall caused severe flooding along its path, particularly near Dallas, Texas, resulting in over $6 billion in damage. Map provided by David Roth, Hydrometeorological Prediction Center.


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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


Did you know…

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Tropical cyclone anniversaries

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  • July 31, 1996 - Typhoon Herb (pictured) hit Taiwan near its peak intensity with 240 km/h (150 mph) winds. Herb caused $5 billion of damage on Taiwan and killed about 500 people.

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