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23 Which is the most intense tropical cyclone on record?




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This article is from the Storms FAQ, by Chris Landsea landsea@aoml.noaa.gov with numerous contributions by others.

23 Which is the most intense tropical cyclone on record?

Typhoon Tip in the Northwest Pacific Ocean on 12 October 1979 was
measured to have a central pressure of 870 mb and estimated surface
sustained winds of 85 m/s (165 kt) (Dunnavan and Diercks 1980). Typhoon
Nancy on 12 September, 1961 is listed in the best track data for the
Northwest Pacific region as having an estimated maximum sustained winds of
185 kt with a central pressure of 888 mb. However, it is now recognized
(Black 1992) that the maximum sustained winds estimated for typhoons during
the 1940s to 1960s were too strong and that the 185 kt (and numerous 160 kt
to 180 kt reports) is somewhat too high.

Note that Hurricane Gilbert's estimated 888 mb lowest pressure in mid-
September 1988 is the most intense [as measured by lowest sea level pressure]
for the Atlantic basin (Willoughby et al 1989), it is almost 20 mb weaker
(higher) than the above Typhoon Tip of the Northwest Pacific Ocean.

While the central pressures for the Northwest Pacific typhoons are
the lowest globally, the North Atlantic hurricanes have provided sustained
wind speeds possibly comparable to the Northwest Pacific. From the best
track database, both Hurricane Camille (1969) and Hurricane Allen (1980)
have winds that are estimated to be 165 kt. Measurements of such winds
are inherently going to be suspect as instruments often are completely
destroyed or damaged at these speeds.

 

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