AskDefine | Define hurricane

Dictionary Definition

hurricane n : a severe tropical cyclone usually with heavy rains and winds moving a 73-136 knots (12 on the Beaufort scale)

User Contributed Dictionary

see Hurricane



From huracán, ultimately from the name of the Maya god of storm Jun Raqán meaning "one leg" in the classic Maya language.


  • (RP): hŭ'rĭ-kən, //, /"hVrIk@n/
  • (US): hŭr'ĭ-kān" or hŭr'ə-kān", /ˈhʌrɪˌkeɪn/ or /ˈhʌrəˌkeɪn/, /"hVrI%keIn/ or /"hVr@%keIn/


hurricane (plural hurricanes)(Many variant spellings.)
  1. A severe tropical cyclone in the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, or in the eastern North Pacific off the west coast of Mexico with winds of 75 miles per hour (120.7 kph) or greater accompanied by rain, lightning, and thunder that sometimes moves into temperate latitudes. Variant names given to the same type of storm in other areas of the world include typhoon (eastern Asia), cyclone (India), and baguio (China Sea).
  2. a wind scale for quite strong wind, stronger than a storm


weather phenomenon
meteorology: a wind scale for quite strong wind
  • Finnish: hirmumyrsky
  • Japanese: 大暴風

Extensive Definition

A tropical cyclone is a storm system characterized by a low pressure center and numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and flooding rain. A tropical cyclone feeds on heat released when moist air rises, resulting in condensation of water vapour contained in the moist air. They are fueled 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.
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 counterclockwise rotation in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise rotation in the Southern Hemisphere. Depending on their location and strength, tropical cyclones are referred to by other names, such as hurricane, typhoon, tropical storm, cyclonic storm, tropical depression and simply cyclone.
While tropical cyclones can produce extremely powerful winds and torrential rain, they are also able to produce high waves and damaging storm surge. They develop over large bodies of warm water, and lose their strength if they move over land. This is the reason coastal regions can receive significant damage from a tropical cyclone, while inland regions are relatively safe from receiving strong winds. Heavy rains, however, can produce significant flooding inland, and storm surges can produce extensive coastal flooding up to from the coastline. Although their effects on human populations can be devastating, tropical cyclones can also relieve drought conditions. They also carry heat and energy away from the tropics and transport it toward temperate latitudes, which makes them an important part of the global atmospheric circulation mechanism. As a result, tropical cyclones help to maintain equilibrium in the Earth's troposphere, and to maintain a relatively stable and warm temperature worldwide.
Many tropical cyclones develop when the atmospheric conditions around a weak disturbance in the atmosphere are favorable. Others form when other types of cyclones acquire tropical characteristics. Tropical systems are then moved by steering winds in the troposphere; if the conditions remain favorable, the tropical disturbance intensifies, and can even develop an eye. On the other end of the spectrum, if the conditions around the system deteriorate or the tropical cyclone makes landfall, the system weakens and eventually dissipates.

Physical structure

All tropical cyclones are areas of low atmospheric pressure near the Earth's surface. The pressures recorded at the centers of tropical cyclones are among the lowest that occur on Earth's surface at sea level. Tropical cyclones are characterized and driven by the release of large amounts of latent heat of condensation, which occurs when moist air is carried upwards and its water vapor condenses. This heat is distributed vertically around the center of the storm. Thus, at any given altitude (except close to the surface, where water temperature dictates air temperature) the environment inside the cyclone is warmer than its outer surroundings.


Rainbands are bands of showers and thunderstorms that spiral cyclonically toward the storm center. High wind gusts and heavy downpours often occur in individual rainbands, with relatively calm weather between bands. Tornadoes often form in the rainbands of landfalling tropical cyclones. Intense annular tropical cyclones are distinctive for their lack of rainbands; instead, they possess a thick circular area of disturbed weather around their low pressure center. While all surface low pressure areas require divergence aloft to continue deepening, the divergence over tropical cyclones is in all directions away from the center. The upper levels of a tropical cyclone feature winds directed away from the center of the storm with an anticyclonic rotation, due to the Coriolis effect. Winds at the surface are strongly cyclonic, weaken with height, and eventually reverse themselves. Tropical cyclones owe this unique characteristic to requiring a relative lack of vertical wind shear to maintain the warm core at the center of the storm.

Eye and inner core

A strong tropical cyclone will harbor an area of sinking air at the center of circulation. If this area is strong enough, it can develop into an eye. Weather in the eye is normally calm and free of clouds, although the sea may be extremely violent. Intense, mature tropical cyclones can sometimes exhibit an inward curving of the eyewall's top, making it resemble a football stadium; this phenomenon is thus sometimes referred to as the stadium effect.
There are other features that either surround the eye, or cover it. The central dense overcast is the concentrated area of strong thunderstorm activity near the center of a tropical cyclone; in weaker tropical cyclones, the CDO may cover the center completely. The eyewall is a circle of strong thunderstorms that surrounds the eye; here is where the greatest wind speeds are found, where clouds reach the highest, and precipitation is the heaviest. The heaviest wind damage occurs where a tropical cyclone's eyewall passes over land.


The formation of tropical cyclones is the topic of extensive ongoing research and is still not fully understood. While six factors appear to be generally necessary, tropical cyclones may occasionally form without meeting all of the following conditions. In most situations, water temperatures of at least are needed down to a depth of at least ; waters of this temperature cause the overlying atmosphere to be unstable enough to sustain convection and thunderstorms. Another factor is rapid cooling with height, which allows the release of the heat of condensation that powers a tropical cyclone. the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), or the monsoon trough. Another important source of atmospheric instability is found in tropical waves, which cause about 85% of intense tropical cyclones in the Atlantic ocean, and become most of the tropical cyclones in the Eastern Pacific basin.
Tropical cyclones move westward equatorward of the subtropical ridge, intensifying as they move. Most of these systems form between 10 and 30 degrees away of the equator, and 87% form no farther away than 20 degrees of latitude, north or south. Because the Coriolis effect initiates and maintains tropical cyclone rotation, tropical cyclones rarely form or move within about 5 degrees of the equator, where the Coriolis effect is weakest. However, it is possible for tropical cyclones to form within this boundary as Tropical Storm Vamei did in 2001 and Cyclone Agni in 2004.

Movement and track

Steering winds

Although tropical cyclones are large systems generating enormous energy, their movements over the Earth's surface are controlled by large-scale winds—the streams in the Earth's atmosphere. The path of motion is referred to as a tropical cyclone's track and has been analogized by Dr. Neil Frank, former director of the National Hurricane Center, to "leaves carried along by a stream".
Tropical systems, while generally located equatorward of the 20th parallel, are steered primarily westward by the east-to-west winds on the equatorward side of the subtropical ridge—a persistent high pressure area over the world's oceans. These waves are the precursors to many tropical cyclones within this region.

Coriolis effect

The Earth's rotation imparts an acceleration known as the Coriolis effect, Coriolis acceleration, or colloquially, Coriolis force. This acceleration causes cyclonic systems to turn towards the poles in the absence of strong steering currents. The poleward portion of a tropical cyclone contains easterly winds, and the Coriolis effect pulls them slightly more poleward. The westerly winds on the equatorward portion of the cyclone pull slightly towards the equator, but, because the Coriolis effect weakens toward the equator, the net drag on the cyclone is poleward. Thus, tropical cyclones in the Northern Hemisphere usually turn north (before being blown east), and tropical cyclones in the Southern Hemisphere usually turn south (before being blown east) when no other effects counteract the Coriolis effect.
The Coriolis effect also initiates cyclonic rotation, but it is not the driving force that brings this rotation to high speeds – that force is the heat of condensation. A typhoon moving through the Pacific Ocean towards Asia, for example, will recurve offshore of Japan to the north, and then to the northeast, if the typhoon encounters southwesterly winds (blowing northeastward) around a low-pressure system passing over China or Siberia. Many tropical cyclones are eventually forced toward the northeast by extratropical cyclones in this manner, which move from west to east to the north of the subtropical ridge. An example of a tropical cyclone in recurvature was Typhoon Ioke in 2006, which took a similar trajectory.


Officially, landfall is when a storm's center (the center of its circulation, not its edge) crosses the coastline.

Multiple storm interaction

When two cyclones approach one another, their centers will begin orbiting cyclonically about a point between the two systems. The two vortices will be attracted to each other, and eventually spiral into the center point and merge. When the two vortices are of unequal size, the larger vortex will tend to dominate the interaction, and the smaller vortex will orbit around it. This phenomenon is called the Fujiwhara effect, after Dr. Sakuhei Fujiwhara.



A tropical cyclone can cease to have tropical characteristics through several different ways. One such way is if it moves over land, thus depriving it of the warm water it needs to power itself, quickly losing strength. Most strong storms lose their strength very rapidly after landfall and become disorganized areas of low pressure within a day or two, or evolve into extratropical cyclones. While there is a chance a tropical cyclone could regenerate if it managed to get back over open warm water, if it remains over mountains for even a short time, weakening will accelerate. Many storm fatalities occur in mountainous terrain, as the dying storm unleashes torrential rainfall, leading to deadly floods and mudslides, similar to those that happened with Hurricane Mitch in 1998. Additionally, dissipation can occur if a storm remains in the same area of ocean for too long, mixing the upper of water, dropping sea surface temperatures more than . Without warm surface water, the storm cannot survive.
A tropical cyclone can dissipate when it moves over waters significantly below . This will cause the storm to lose its tropical characteristics (i.e. thunderstorms near the center and warm core) and become a remnant low pressure area, which can persist for several days. This is the main dissipation mechanism in the Northeast Pacific ocean. Weakening or dissipation can occur if it experiences vertical wind shear, causing the convection and heat engine to move away from the center; this normally ceases development of a tropical cyclone. Additionally, its interaction with the main belt of the Westerlies, by means of merging with a nearby frontal zone, can cause tropical cyclones to evolve into extratropical cyclones. This transition can take 1–3 days. Even after a tropical cyclone is said to be extratropical or dissipated, it can still have tropical storm force (or occasionally hurricane/typhoon force) winds and drop several inches of rainfall. In the Pacific ocean and Atlantic ocean, such tropical-derived cyclones of higher latitudes can be violent and may occasionally remain at hurricane or typhoon-force wind speeds when they reach the west coast of North America. These phenomena can also affect Europe, where they are known as European windstorms; Hurricane Iris's extratropical remnants are an example of such a windstorm from 1995. Additionally, a cyclone can merge with another area of low pressure, becoming a larger area of low pressure. This can strengthen the resultant system, although it may no longer be a tropical cyclone. The winds of Hurricane Debbie—a hurricane seeded in Project Stormfury—dropped as much as 31%, but Debby regained its strength after each of two seeding forays. In an earlier episode in 1947, disaster struck when a hurricane east of Jacksonville, Florida promptly changed its course after being seeded, and smashed into Savannah, Georgia. Because there was so much uncertainty about the behavior of these storms, the federal government would not approve seeding operations unless the hurricane had a less than 10% chance of making landfall within 48 hours, greatly reducing the number of possible test storms. The project was dropped after it was discovered that eyewall replacement cycles occur naturally in strong hurricanes, casting doubt on the result of the earlier attempts. Today, it is known that silver iodide seeding is not likely to have an effect because the amount of supercooled water in the rainbands of a tropical cyclone is too low.
Other approaches have been suggested over time, including cooling the water under a tropical cyclone by towing icebergs into the tropical oceans. dropping large quantities of ice into the eye at very early stages of development (so that the latent heat is absorbed by the ice, instead of being converted to kinetic energy that would feed the positive feedback loop), or blasting the cyclone apart with nuclear weapons. Project Cirrus even involved throwing dry ice on a cyclone. These approaches all suffer from one flaw above many others: tropical cyclones are simply too large for any of the weakening techniques to be practical.


Tropical cyclones out at sea cause large waves, heavy rain, and high winds, disrupting international shipping and, at times, causing shipwrecks. Tropical cyclones stir up water, leaving a cool wake behind them, The broad rotation of a landfalling tropical cyclone, and vertical wind shear at its periphery, spawns tornadoes. Tornadoes can also be spawned as a result of eyewall mesovortices, which persist until landfall.
Over the past two centuries, tropical cyclones have been responsible for the deaths of about 1.9 million persons worldwide. Large areas of standing water caused by flooding lead to infection, as well as contributing to mosquito-borne illnesses. Crowded evacuees in shelters increase the risk of disease propagation.
Although cyclones take an enormous toll in lives and personal property, they may be important factors in the precipitation regimes of places they impact, as they may bring much-needed precipitation to otherwise dry regions. Tropical cyclones also help maintain the global heat balance by moving warm, moist tropical air to the middle latitudes and polar regions. The storm surge and winds of hurricanes may be destructive to human-made structures, but they also stir up the waters of coastal estuaries, which are typically important fish breeding locales. Tropical cyclone destruction spurs redevelopment, greatly increasing local property values.

Observation and forecasting


Intense tropical cyclones pose a particular observation challenge, as they are a dangerous oceanic phenomenon, and weather stations, being relatively sparse, are rarely available on the site of the storm itself. Surface observations are generally available only if the storm is passing over an island or a coastal area, or if there is a nearby ship. Usually, real-time measurements are taken in the periphery of the cyclone, where conditions are less catastrophic and its true strength cannot be evaluated. For this reason, there are teams of meteorologists that move into the path of tropical cyclones to help evaluate their strength at the point of landfall.
Tropical cyclones far from land are tracked by weather satellites capturing visible and infrared images from space, usually at half-hour to quarter-hour intervals. As a storm approaches land, it can be observed by land-based Doppler radar. Radar plays a crucial role around landfall by showing a storm's location and intensity every several minutes.
In-situ measurements, in real-time, can be taken by sending specially equipped reconnaissance flights into the cyclone. In the Atlantic basin, these flights are regularly flown by United States government hurricane hunters. The aircraft used are WC-130 Hercules and WP-3D Orions, both four-engine turboprop cargo aircraft. These aircraft fly directly into the cyclone and take direct and remote-sensing measurements. The aircraft also launch GPS dropsondes inside the cyclone. These sondes measure temperature, humidity, pressure, and especially winds between flight level and the ocean's surface. A new era in hurricane observation began when a remotely piloted Aerosonde, a small drone aircraft, was flown through Tropical Storm Ophelia as it passed Virginia's Eastern Shore during the 2005 hurricane season. A similar mission was also completed successfully in the western Pacific ocean. This demonstrated a new way to probe the storms at low altitudes that human pilots seldom dare.


Because of the forces that affect tropical cyclone tracks, accurate track predictions depend on determining the position and strength of high- and low-pressure areas, and predicting how those areas will change during the life of a tropical system. The deep layer mean flow, or average wind through the depth of the troposphere, is considered the best tool in determining track direction and speed. If storms are significantly sheared, use of wind speed measurements at a lower altitude, such as at the 700 hPa pressure surface ( above sea level) will produce better predictions. Tropical forecasters also consider smoothing out short-term wobbles of the storm as it allows them to determine a more accurate long-term trajectory. High-speed computers and sophisticated simulation software allow forecasters to produce computer models that predict tropical cyclone tracks based on the future position and strength of high- and low-pressure systems. Combining forecast models with increased understanding of the forces that act on tropical cyclones, as well as with a wealth of data from Earth-orbiting satellites and other sensors, scientists have increased the accuracy of track forecasts over recent decades. However, scientists are less skillful at predicting the intensity of tropical cyclones. The lack of improvement in intensity forecasting is attributed to the complexity of tropical systems and an incomplete understanding of factors that affect their development.

Classifications, terminology, and naming

Intensity classifications

Tropical cyclones are classified into three main groups, based on intensity: tropical depressions, tropical storms, and a third group of more intense storms, whose name depends on the region. For example, if a tropical storm in the Northwestern Pacific reaches hurricane-strength winds on the Beaufort scale, it is referred to as a typhoon; if a tropical storm passes the same benchmark in the Northeast Pacific Basin, or in the Atlantic, it is called a hurricane. It should also be noted that typhoons with sustained winds greater than or are called Super Typhoons by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
A tropical depression is an organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined, closed surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of less than or . It has no eye and does not typically have the organization or the spiral shape of more powerful storms. However, it is already a low-pressure system, hence the name "depression".
A tropical storm is an organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds between () and (). At this point, the distinctive cyclonic shape starts to develop, although an eye is not usually present. Government weather services, other than the Philippines, first assign names to systems that reach this intensity (thus the term named storm). |- ! Beaufort scale ! 10-minute sustained winds (knots) ! N Indian OceanIMD ! SW Indian OceanMF ! AustraliaBOM ! SW PacificFMS ! NW PacificJMA ! NW PacificJTWC ! NE Pacific &N AtlanticNHC, CHC & CPHC |- | 0–6 | <28 | Depression | Trop. Disturbance |rowspan="3" | Tropical Low |rowspan="3" | Tropical Depression |rowspan="3" | Tropical Depression |rowspan="2" | Tropical Depression |rowspan="2" | Tropical Depression |- |rowspan="2" | 7 | 28–29 |rowspan="2" | Deep Depression |rowspan="2" | Depression |- | 30–33 |rowspan="3" | Tropical Storm |rowspan="3" | Tropical Storm |- | 8–9 | 34–47 | Cyclonic Storm | Moderate Tropical Storm | Trop. Cyclone (1) |rowspan="11" | Tropical Cyclone | Tropical Storm |- | 10 | 48–55 |rowspan="2" | Severe Cyclonic Storm |rowspan="2" | Severe Tropical Storm |rowspan="2" | Tropical Cyclone (2) |rowspan="2" | Severe Tropical Storm |- | 11 | 56–63 |rowspan="7" | Typhoon |rowspan="2" | Hurricane (1) |- |rowspan="8" | 12 | 64–72 |rowspan="7" | Very Severe Cyclonic Storm |rowspan="3" | Tropical Cyclone |rowspan="2" | Severe Tropical Cyclone (3) |rowspan="8" | Typhoon |- | 73–85 | Hurricane (2) |- | 86–89 |rowspan="3" | Severe Tropical Cyclone (4) |rowspan="2" | Major Hurricane (3) |- | 90–99 |rowspan="3" | Intense Tropical Cyclone |- | 100–106 |rowspan="3" | Major Hurricane (4) |- | 107–114 |rowspan="3" | Severe Tropical Cyclone (5) |- | 115–119 |rowspan="2" | Very Intense Tropical Cyclone |rowspan="2" | Super Typhoon |- | >120 | Super Cyclonic Storm | Major Hurricane (5) |}

Origin of storm terms

The most intense storm on record was Typhoon Tip in the northwestern Pacific Ocean in 1979, which reached a minimum pressure of 870 mbar (25.69 inHg) and maximum sustained wind speeds of or . Tip, however, does not solely hold the record for fastest sustained winds in a cyclone. Typhoon Keith in the Pacific and Hurricanes Camille and Allen in the North Atlantic currently share this record with Tip. Camille was the only storm to actually strike land while at that intensity, making it, with or sustained winds and or gusts, the strongest tropical cyclone on record at landfall. Typhoon Nancy in 1961 had recorded wind speeds of or , but recent research indicates that wind speeds from the 1940s to the 1960s were gauged too high, and this is no longer considered the storm with the highest wind speeds on record. Similarly, a surface-level gust caused by Typhoon Paka on Guam was recorded at or . Had it been confirmed, it would be the strongest non-tornadic wind ever recorded on the Earth's surface, but the reading had to be discarded since the anemometer was damaged by the storm.
In addition to being the most intense tropical cyclone on record, Tip was the largest cyclone on record, with tropical storm-force winds in diameter. The smallest storm on record, Cyclone Tracy, was roughly wide before striking Darwin, Australia in 1974.
Hurricane John is the longest-lasting tropical cyclone on record, lasting 31 days in 1994. Before the advent of satellite imagery in 1961, however, many tropical cyclones were underestimated in their durations. John is the second longest-tracked tropical cyclone in the Northern Hemisphere on record, behind Typhoon Ophelia of 1960, which had a path of 8,500 miles (12,500 km). Reliable data for Southern Hemisphere cyclones is unavailable.

Long-term activity trends

seealso Atlantic hurricane reanalysis
While the number of storms in the Atlantic has increased since 1995, there is no obvious global trend; the annual number of tropical cyclones worldwide remains about 87 ± 10. However, the ability of climatologists to make long-term data analysis in certain basins is limited by the lack of reliable historical data in some basins, primarily in the Southern Hemisphere. In spite of that, there is some evidence that the intensity of hurricanes is increasing. Kerry Emanuel stated, "Records of hurricane activity worldwide show an upswing of both the maximum wind speed in and the duration of hurricanes. The energy released by the average hurricane (again considering all hurricanes worldwide) seems to have increased by around 70% in the past 30 years or so, corresponding to about a 15% increase in the maximum wind speed and a 60% increase in storm lifetime."
Atlantic storms are becoming more destructive financially, since five of the ten most expensive storms in United States history have occurred since 1990. This can be attributed to the increased intensity and duration of hurricanes striking North America,
The number and strength of Atlantic hurricanes may undergo a 50–70 year cycle, also known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. Although more common since 1995, few above-normal hurricane seasons occurred during 1970–94. Destructive hurricanes struck frequently from 1926–60, including many major New England hurricanes. Twenty-one Atlantic tropical storms formed in 1933, a record only recently exceeded in 2005, which saw 28 storms. Tropical hurricanes occurred infrequently during the seasons of 1900–25; however, many intense storms formed during 1870–99. During the 1887 season, 19 tropical storms formed, of which a record 4 occurred after 1 November and 11 strengthened into hurricanes. Few hurricanes occurred in the 1840s to 1860s; however, many struck in the early 19th century, including an 1821 storm that made a direct hit on New York City. Some historical weather experts say these storms may have been as high as Category 4 in strength.
These active hurricane seasons predated satellite coverage of the Atlantic basin. Before the satellite era began in 1960, tropical storms or hurricanes went undetected unless a reconnaissance aircraft encountered one, a ship reported a voyage through the storm, or a storm hit land in a populated area.
In an article in Nature, Kerry Emanuel stated that potential hurricane destructiveness, a measure combining hurricane strength, duration, and frequency, "is highly correlated with tropical sea surface temperature, reflecting well-documented climate signals, including multidecadal oscillations in the North Atlantic and North Pacific, and global warming". Emanuel predicted "a substantial increase in hurricane-related losses in the twenty-first century". Similarly, P.J. Webster and others published an article in Science examining the "changes in tropical cyclone number, duration, and intensity" over the past 35 years, the period when satellite data has been available. Their main finding was although the number of cyclones decreased throughout the planet excluding the north Atlantic Ocean, there was a great increase in the number and proportion of very strong cyclones.
The strength of the reported effect is surprising in light of modeling studies that predict only a one half category increase in storm intensity as a result of a ~2 °C (3.6 °F) global warming. Such a response would have predicted only a ~10% increase in Emanuel's potential destructiveness index during the 20th century rather than the ~75–120% increase he reported.
Sufficiently warm sea surface temperatures are considered vital to the development of tropical cyclones. Although neither study can directly link hurricanes with global warming, the increase in sea surface temperatures is believed to be due to both global warming and nature variability, e.g. the hypothesized Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), although an exact attribution has not been defined. However, there is no universal agreement about the magnitude of the effects anthropogenic global warming has on tropical cyclone formation, track, and intensity. For example, critics such as Chris Landsea assert that man-made effects would be "quite tiny compared to the observed large natural hurricane variability". A statement by the American Meteorological Society on February 1, 2007 stated that trends in tropical cyclone records offer "evidence both for and against the existence of a detectable anthropogenic signal" in tropical cyclogenesis. Although many aspects of a link between tropical cyclones and global warming are still being "hotly debated",

Related cyclone types

In addition to tropical cyclones, there are two other classes of cyclones within the spectrum of cyclone types. These kinds of cyclones, known as extratropical cyclones and subtropical cyclones, can be stages a tropical cyclone passes through during its formation or dissipation.
An extratropical cyclone is a storm that derives energy from horizontal temperature differences, which are typical in higher latitudes. A tropical cyclone can become extratropical as it moves toward higher latitudes if its energy source changes from heat released by condensation to differences in temperature between air masses; additionally, although not as frequently, an extratropical cyclone can transform into a subtropical storm, and from there into a tropical cyclone. From space, extratropical storms have a characteristic "comma-shaped" cloud pattern. Extratropical cyclones can also be dangerous when their low-pressure centers cause powerful winds and high seas.
A subtropical cyclone is a weather system that has some characteristics of a tropical cyclone and some characteristics of an extratropical cyclone. They can form in a wide band of latitudes, from the equator to 50°. Although subtropical storms rarely have hurricane-force winds, they may become tropical in nature as their cores warm. From an operational standpoint, a tropical cyclone is usually not considered to become subtropical during its extratropical transition.

Tropical cyclones in popular culture

In popular culture, tropical cyclones have made appearances in different types of media, including films, books, television, music, and electronic games. The media can have tropical cyclones that are entirely fictional, or can be based on real events. For example, George Rippey Stewart's Storm, a best-seller published in 1941, is thought to have influenced meteorologists into giving female names to Pacific tropical cyclones. Another example is the hurricane in The Perfect Storm, which describes the sinking of the Andrea Gail by the 1991 Halloween Nor'easter. Also, hypothetical hurricanes have been featured in parts of the plots of series such as The Simpsons, Invasion, Family Guy, Seinfeld, CSI Miami, and Dawson's Creek. The 2004 film The Day After Tomorrow includes several mentions of actual tropical cyclones as well as featuring fantastical "hurricane-like" non-tropical Arctic storms.


External links

hurricane in Afrikaans: Tropiese sikloon
hurricane in Arabic: هوريكان
hurricane in Min Nan: Hong-thai
hurricane in Bosnian: Tropski ciklon
hurricane in Bulgarian: Тропическа буря
hurricane in Catalan: Cicló tropical
hurricane in Cebuano: Bagyo
hurricane in Czech: Tropická cyklóna
hurricane in Welsh: Teiffŵn
hurricane in Danish: Orkan
hurricane in German: Tropischer Wirbelsturm
hurricane in Estonian: Orkaan
hurricane in Modern Greek (1453-): Τροπικός κυκλώνας
hurricane in Spanish: Ciclón tropical
hurricane in Esperanto: Uragano
hurricane in Persian: تندباد دریایی
hurricane in French: Cyclone tropical
hurricane in Galician: Furacán
hurricane in Korean: 열대저기압
hurricane in Hawaiian: Makani Pāhili
hurricane in Croatian: Uragan
hurricane in Indonesian: Siklon tropis
hurricane in Icelandic: Fellibylur
hurricane in Italian: Ciclone tropicale
hurricane in Hebrew: סופה טרופית
hurricane in Georgian: ტროპიკული ციკლონი
hurricane in Latin: Typhon marinus
hurricane in Latvian: Viesuļvētra
hurricane in Lithuanian: Uraganas
hurricane in Lojban: vlile carna xamsi brife
hurricane in Hungarian: Trópusi ciklon
hurricane in Macedonian: Тропски циклон
hurricane in Malay (macrolanguage): Taufan
hurricane in Min Dong Chinese: Hŭng-tăi
hurricane in Dutch: Orkaan
hurricane in Japanese: 熱帯低気圧
hurricane in Norwegian: Tropisk syklon
hurricane in Norwegian Nynorsk: Tropisk syklon
hurricane in Polish: Cyklon tropikalny
hurricane in Portuguese: Ciclone tropical
hurricane in Quechua: Akapana
hurricane in Russian: Тропический циклон
hurricane in Albanian: Uragani
hurricane in Simple English: Tropical cyclone
hurricane in Slovak: Hurikán
hurricane in Slovenian: Tropski ciklon
hurricane in Serbian: Ураган
hurricane in Serbo-Croatian: Tropski ciklon
hurricane in Finnish: Trooppinen hirmumyrsky
hurricane in Swedish: Tropisk cyklon
hurricane in Tagalog: Bagyo
hurricane in Tamil: புயல்
hurricane in Thai: พายุหมุนเขตร้อน
hurricane in Vietnamese: Xoáy thuận nhiệt đới
hurricane in Turkish: Kasırga
hurricane in Ukrainian: Тропічний циклон
hurricane in Yiddish: האריקעין
hurricane in Contenese: 颱風
hurricane in Chinese: 熱帶氣旋

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

black squall, blaze, blizzard, blow, burst, convulsion, cyclone, dirty weather, equinoctial, eruption, explosion, fit, flare-up, foul weather, gale, gust, half a gale, heavy blow, ill wind, irruption, line squall, line storm, outbreak, outburst, paroxysm, rainstorm, rough weather, seizure, snowstorm, spasm, squall, squall line, storm, storm wind, stormy weather, stormy winds, strong wind, tempest, tempestuous rage, tempestuous wind, thick squall, thundersquall, thunderstorm, tornado, tropical cyclone, twister, typhoon, ugly wind, upheaval, violent blow, whirlwind, white squall, whole gale, williwaw, wind-shift line, windstorm
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