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A tropical cyclone, or storm system, is a powerful rotating weather system characterized by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain and/or squalls. They’re also known as hurricanes in the northern hemisphere and typhoons in the southern hemisphere. One major benefit of these storms? Tropical cyclones bring a lot of precipitation to areas that need it (like regions experiencing drought). But they can also be devastating if you find yourself in their path! A tropical cyclone is a powerful storm system that can bring heavy rains and strong winds Here what you need to know about these storms

What Is A Tropical Cyclone?

Tropical cyclones are also called hurricanes, typhoons, or simply cyclones. A tropical cyclone will have maximum sustained wind speeds of at least 119 kilometers per hour (74 miles per hour). Tropical cyclones are fueled by the heat released when moist air rises and condenses into rain clouds. In essence, they’re giant thunderstorms with hurricane-force winds rotating around a low-pressure center. In order for a tropical depression to become a full-blown tropical storm or typhoon, it must first have maximum sustained wind speeds of at least 65 kilometers per hour (40 miles per hour). The spiral bands of thunderstorms wrapping around its center will continue to grow in size as more moisture is pulled in from surrounding areas. A tropical cyclone is a powerful storm system that can bring heavy rains and strong winds Here what you need to know about these storms

A tropical cyclone is a powerful storm system that can bring heavy rains and strong winds Here what you need to know about these storms
A tropical cyclone is a powerful storm system that can bring heavy rains and strong winds Here what you need to know about these storms

How Do These Storms Form?

Tropical cyclones form over warm oceans when large amounts of convection (thunderstorms) take place. Rising hot air causes instability, which leads to showers, thunderstorms, and low pressure areas. The circulation around low pressure systems cause them to spiral inwards, heating up even more; as they do so, they release hot air from their top-right side. If wind speeds are sustained at 74 mph or higher for at least six hours – and if it releases 2 inches of rain or more within 24 hours – it’s considered a hurricane or typhoon depending on where it forms: The Atlantic Ocean or Eastern Pacific Ocean respectively.

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What Are The Different Tropical Cyclone Systems?

There are three different types of tropical cyclones (also known as hurricanes) based on their structure, but each one has four key components: warm water, moist air, an atmospheric disturbance, and an upper-level low-pressure system. The main difference between hurricane categories is in how much potential damage they have—basically, it’s all about wind speed. Category 1 hurricanes have sustained winds below 96 miles per hour; category 2 have sustained winds between 96-110 miles per hour; category 3 have sustained winds between 111-130 miles per hour; category 4 have sustained winds between 131-155 miles per hour; and category 5 Hurricanes with sustained winds greater than 155 miles per hour.

How Common Are They?

If you live in an area where hurricanes are likely, it’s important to have an emergency plan for when one hits. But first things first: How common are tropical cyclones? The following maps from NOAA show just how common they really are on Earth, using 2016 as an example year.

Where Do They Occur?

Tropical cyclones form in areas where there are warm waters (at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit) on an ocean or sea surface. The waters do not have to be still, but they must remain relatively warm (above 76 degrees Fahrenheit). Also, when you look at satellite imagery of a developing tropical cyclone, it will appear as if there are two counter-rotating vortexes of low pressure surrounded by concentric circles of high pressure. That’s pretty important because those high-pressure circles will then act as a shield for any of your coastal cities from storm surge flooding. Not every city within 200 miles from an ocean or sea shore needs to be evacuated when there’s a low-pressure system brewing offshore–only those within 30 miles of its center.

A tropical cyclone is a powerful storm system that can bring heavy rains and strong winds Here what you need to know about these storms
A tropical cyclone is a powerful storm system that can bring heavy rains and strong winds Here what you need to know about these storms

What Happens During A Storm?

During a strong tropical cyclone, air near Earth’s surface flows in toward the center of rotation. This flow of air causes friction, which heats up both sides of low-pressure areas in ways that have nothing to do with sunlight (sound familiar?). These areas are called warm core systems because they don’t rely on heat from above (like solar heating). As warm air rises inside a hurricane or typhoon, it cools as it expands—but cooler air cannot hold as much moisture as warmer air. So, lots of moisture condenses into droplets and these droplets become clouds or even precipitation; when enough water vapor condenses into raindrops that fall faster than they evaporate or move away from their parent cloud, a convective burst happens!

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What Can I Do If I Get Hit By One Of These Cyclones?

The first thing to do if you get hit by one of these cyclones is take shelter in an interior room, or even better yet, in an interior closet or bathroom with no windows. If you are outside when a tropical cyclone hits, it’s important not to try and go inside your home since there could be flooding inside your house as well. Instead, make sure to seek out elevated areas like rooftops or trees so that flood waters don’t reach you. Once you’re safely on an elevated area make sure to stay put until all signs of flooding have subsided.

Where Can I Find More Information About Tropical Cyclones?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has a more in-depth breakdown of tropical cyclones here . More information on what conditions create favorable breeding grounds for hurricanes in your area can be found at NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center here . If there are tropical disturbances expected to affect your area, follow NOAA’s Weather Radio service here . If you have any other questions or concerns about how to prepare for one of these storms, contact your local weather department or local emergency management office.

Q. & A.

What’s behind severe thunderstorms? What makes some hurricanes stronger than others? Get answers to common questions about hurricane safety. Find out more at www.ready.gov/hurricanes The term tropical refers to the latitude in which they form (near the equator). The term cyclone refers to the low-pressure area around which this rotating air masses spiral, characterized by strong winds, heavy rain, and lightning. A low-pressure center – an area of relatively low atmospheric pressure – typically forms within a warm or tropical atmosphere during late summer in areas close to the equator with converging air currents; usually near coasts or over islands. It’s strongest between September and December, when the water in warm oceans near the equator begins to heat up. A typical cyclone has its origin near latitude 10°N-15°N on either side of the Equator.

A tropical cyclone is a powerful storm system that can bring heavy rains and strong winds Here what you need to know about these storms
A tropical cyclone is a powerful storm system that can bring heavy rains and strong winds Here what you need to know about these storms

What means tropical cyclone?

Tropical cyclones are rotating storms that form over warm ocean waters and move inland along coasts where they reach their peak intensity, then weaken due to land interaction before eventually dissipating in drier air. These tropical systems are also called hurricanes, typhoons, or cyclones depending on which ocean basin they form in (the Atlantic or Pacific). The word cyclone comes from Greek word kuklos, meaning circle.

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What is the difference between a tropical cyclone and a hurricane?

A hurricane forms in warmer waters, whereas a tropical cyclone forms in colder waters. A hurricane’s maximum sustained wind speed is 64 kph (39 mph), while a tropical cyclone’s maximum sustained wind speed is 72 kph (44 mph). Tropical cyclones are weaker than hurricanes, but they last longer because they form over cooler waters. When both types of storms hit land, however, their strength diminishes rapidly as they come in contact with land-based warming.

Why is it called a tropical cyclone?

Hurricanes and typhoons are both types of tropical cyclones, which are also called cyclones when they occur in temperate latitudes, or typhoons when occurring near East Asia. Cyclones are often simply referred to as tropical storms in the Atlantic basin. A few other names for them include monsoon depressions, extratropical cyclones (sometimes confused with subtropical cyclones), and polar lows.

What are the 3 tropical cyclones?

Tropical cyclones, also known as hurricanes, typhoons, or tropical depressions depending on where they form, are rotating weather systems characterized by low-pressure centers and closed low-level atmospheric circulation. They are often described as giant swirls because they typically have spiral rain bands wrapped around relatively calm centers—or at least calmer centers than their raucous surroundings would suggest.


By Niva Lohit

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