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Storms FAQ



Frequently Asked Questions about hurricanes, storms, typhoons and tropical cyclones.

This FAQ about hurricanes, typhoons and tropical cyclones was compiled and written by Chris Landsea landsea@aoml.noaa.gov with numerous contributions by others.

Thanks:

Sim Aberson, Jack Beven, Gary Padgett, Tom Berg, Julian Heming, Neal Dorst, Gary Gray, Stephen Caparotta, Steven Young, D. Walston all provided substantial bits to this FAQ. Also thanks to the many people who provided additional questions and information for this FAQ: Ilana Stern, Dave Pace, Dave Blanchard, Ken Fung, James (I R A Aggie) Stricherz, Mike Dettinger, Jan Schloerer, Eric Blake, Jeff Kepert, Frank Woodcock, Roger Edson, Bill Cherepy, Stephen Jascourt, Kelly Dean, Malcolm ???, Jon Gill, Ken Waters, Derek West, Gert van Dijken, George Gumbert III, Edward Reid, Tim Trice, Michael Scott, Kerry Emanuel, George Sambataro, James Lewis Free, Sam Biller, David Faciane, Eric Gross, Jeff Hawkins, Mike Fiorino and Madeleine Hall. Many thanks also to Jan Null for providing the first .html version of the FAQ.

-01 What is a hurricane, typhoon, or tropical cyclone?
The terms hurricane and typhoon are regionally specific names for ...
-02 What are "Cape Verde"-type hurricanes?
Cape Verde-type hurricanes are those Atlantic basin tropical cyclones that ...
-03 What is a super-typhoon?
A super-typhoon is a term utilized by the U.S. Joint Typhoon ...
-04 Where do these easterly waves come from and what causes them?
It has been recognized since at least the 1930s (Dunn 1940) that lower ...
-05 What is a sub-tropical cyclone?
A sub-tropical cyclone is a low-pressure system existing in ...
-06 How are tropical cyclones different from mid-latitude storms?
The tropical cyclone is a low-pressure system which derives its ...
-07 How are tropical cyclones different from tornadoes?
While both tropical cyclones and tornadoes are atmospheric vortices,...
-08 What does the acronym "CDO" in a discussion of tropical cyclones mean?
CDO is an acronym that stands for central dense overcast. This is ...
-09 What is a "TUTT"?
A TUTT is a Tropical Upper Tropospheric Trough. A TUTT low is a TUTT ...
-10 How do tropical cyclones form?
To undergo tropical cyclogenesis, there are several ...
-11 Why are tropical cyclones named?
Tropical cyclones are named to provide ease of ...
-12 What are the tropical cyclone names through 2001?
NORTHERN HEMISPHERE TROPICAL CYCLONE ...
-13 What names have been retired in the Atlantic basin?
In the Atlantic basin, tropical cyclone names are retired (that is, not ...
-14 Doesn't the low pressure in the tropical cyclone center cause the storm surge?
No. Many people assume that the partial vacuum at the center of a ...
-15 Doesn't the friction over land kill tropical cyclones?
(Parts of this section are written by Sim Aberson.)...
-16 Aren't big tropical cyclones also intense tropical cyclones?
No. There is very little association between intensity (...
-17 Why don't we try to destroy tropical cyclones by: pick one or more - a) seeding them with silver iodide, b) nuking them, c) placing a substance on the ocean surface, d) etc. ?
Actually for a couple decades NOAA and its predecessor tried to ...
-18 During a hurricane are you supposed to have the windows and doors on the storm side closed and the windows and doors on the lee side open?
No! All of the doors and windows should be closed (and shuttered) ...
-19 How are Atlantic hurricanes ranked?
The USA utilizes the Saffir-Simpson hurricane intensity scale (...
-20 How are Australian tropical cyclones ranked?
The Australian forecasters have developed a scale for ...
-21 Why do tropical cyclones' winds rotate counter-clockwise (clockwise) in the Northern (Southern) Hemisphere?
The reason is that the earth's rotation sets up an apparent force (...
-22 How do I convert from mph to knots (to m/s) and from inches of mercury to mb (to hPa)?
-23 Which is the most intense tropical cyclone on record?
Typhoon Tip in the Northwest Pacific Ocean on 12 October 1979 was ...
-24 Which tropical cyclone intensified the fastest?
Typhoon Forrest in September 1983 in the Northwest Pacific Ocean ...
-25 Which tropical cyclone has produced the highest storm surge?
The Bathurst Bay Hurricane produced a 13 m (about 42 ft) surge ...
-26 What are the largest rainfalls associated with tropical cyclones?
-27 Which are the largest and smallest tropical cyclones on record?
Typhoon Tip had gale force winds (15 m/s) which extended out for ...
-28 Which tropical cyclone lasted the longest?
Hurricane/Typhoon John lasted 31 days as it traveled both the ...
-29 Which tropical cyclones have caused the most deaths and most damage?
The death toll in the infamous Bangladesh Cyclone of 1970 has ...
-30 What are the average, most, and least tropical cyclones occurring in each basin?
Based on data from 1968-1989 (1968/69 to 1989/90 for the Southern ...
-31 What are the most and least tropical cyclones occurring in the Atlantic basin and striking the USA?
Starting in 1944, systematic aircraft reconnaissance was commenced ...
-32 For the U.S., what are the 10 most intense, 10 costliest, and 10 highest death toll hurricanes on record?
Updated from Hebert et al. (1992):...
-33 What tropical storms and hurricanes have moved from the Atlantic to the Northeast Pacific or vice versa?
(Stephen Caparotta, D. Walston, Steven Young and Gary Padgett compiled ...
-34 What regions around the globe have tropical cyclones and who is responsible for forecasting there?
There are seven tropical cyclone basins where storms occur on ...
-35 What is Prof. Gray's seasonal hurricane forecast for this year and what are the predictive factors?
Prof. Bill Gray at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, ...
-36 How has Dr. Gray done in previous years of forecasting hurricanes?
Here are the numbers that Dr. Gray has issued for his real-time Atlantic ...
-37 What are those track and intensity models that the Atlantic forecasters are talking about in the tropical storm and hurricane Discussions?
(Track model information contributed by Sim Aberson)...
-38 What is the annual cycle of occurrence seen in each basin?
While the Atlantic hurricane season is officially from 1 June ...
-39 How does El Nino-Southern Oscillation affect tropical cyclone activity around the globe?
The effect of El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) on Atlantic ...
-40 What may happen with tropical cyclone activity in a 2xCO2 world?
Two impacts of anthropogenic climate change due to increasing amounts ...
-41 Are we getting stronger and more frequent hurricanes, typhoons, and tropical cyclones in the last several years?
Globally, probably not. For the Atlantic basin, definitely not. In fact,...
-42 Why do tropical cyclones occur primarily in the summer and autumn?
As described in subject G1), the primary time of year for getting ...
-43 What determines the movement of tropical cyclones?
Tropical cyclones - to a first approximation - can be thought of ...
-44 Why doesn't the South Atlantic Ocean experience tropical cyclones?
Though many people might speculate that the sea surface temperatures ...
-45 Does an active June and July mean the rest of the season will be busy too?
No. The number of named storms (hurricanes) occurring in June and July ...
-46 Why do hurricanes hit the East coast of the U.S., but never the West coast?
Hurricanes form both in the Atlantic basin (i.e. the ...
-47 How much lightning occurs in tropical cyclones?
Surprisingly, not much lightning occurs in the inner core (within ...
-48 What is the Dvorak technique and how is it used?
The Dvorak technique is a methodology to get estimates of tropical ...
-49 Who are the "Hurricane Hunters" and what are they looking for?
(Contributed by Neal Dorst.)...
-50 References p1: Who are the "Hurricane Hunters" and what are they looking for?
Aberson, S.D., and M. DeMaria (1994): Verification of a ...
-51 References p2: Who are the "Hurricane Hunters" and what are they looking for?
Haarsma, R. J., J. F. B. Mitchell and C. A. Senior, (1993): ...
-52 References p3: Who are the "Hurricane Hunters" and what are they looking for?
-53 Where can I get real-time advisories for tropical cyclones?
There are three good ways to get these. Either telnet to a site and ...
-54 Where can I get real-time tropical weather analyses and forecast fields?
(Provided by Gary Gray.)...
-55 Where can I get real-time ship and buoy data?
(Provided by Gary Gray.)...
-56 Where can I get real-time sea surface temperature data?
(Provided by Gary Gray.)...
-57 Where can I get real-time satellite pictures?
(Provided by Gary Gray.)...
-58 Where can I get real-time radar data?
(Provided by Gary Gray.)...
-59 Where can I get real-time hurricane aircraft reconnaissance data?
(Provided by Gary Gray.)...
-60 Where can I get real-time tropical cyclone motion and intensity model forecasts?
(Provided by Gary Gray.)...
-61 Where can I get tropical cyclone preparedness information?
(Provided by Gary Gray.)...
-62 What computer software is available for tracking tropical cyclones?
(Descriptions kindly provided by Tom Berg and via the authors. Note that ...
-63 Where can I get historical data of tropical cyclones?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------...
-64 What journals have regular articles on tropical cyclones?
The American Meteorological Society publishes the _Monthly ...
-65 What books have been written about tropical cyclones?
BEST NON-TECHNICAL BOOKS: _The Hurricane_ and ...
-66 What refereed articles were written in recent years about tropical cyclones?
At the ftp site:...









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