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Tropical revolving storm:

a roughly circular atmospheric vortex originating in the

tropics or sub-tropics ;

the winds blow in converging spiral tracks reach or exceed
Beaufort Force 8;

the isobars are nearer to true circles;

the pressure gradient is very steep.

WMO categorises tropical disturbances based upon the strength of
the winds associated with the storm:

1. Tropical depression - winds not greater than Beaufort Force 7.

2. Moderate tropical storm - winds of Beaufort Force 8 and 9.

3. Severe tropical storm - winds of Beaufort Force 10 and 11.

4. Hurricane - winds of Beaufort Force 12.

The hurricane force winds are the result of a very steep pressure

Every TRS is different in regard to size, intensity and behaviour;
the tracks and rate of travel vary with the general pressure
distribution at the time of the occurrence.
Size of tropical cyclones

Diameters vary from 50 to 1,000 miles

rarely less than 50 or more than 500;

more often than not they are over 100 miles.


500 miles to 120 miles from the centre - slow fall;

120 miles to 60 miles from the centre - distinct fall and diurnal
variation in pressure is masked;

60 miles to centre - rapid fall.



form mostly on the western sides of the oceans

require a water temperature of 26C

form between the latitudes of 8 and 20 north and south of the
equator. (not within 5 of the equator because Coriolis Force is too
small in these latitudes and a circulation cannot develop).

develop from pre-existing disturbances such as easterly waves (a
type of trough) or clusters of clouds associated with the Inter
Tropical Convergence Zone.

westerly then north-westerly or south westerly, according to

recurving in about 20 or more of latitude and then moving off
towards the north-east in the northern hemisphere and south-east
in southern latitudes.

the point of re curvature also called the VERTEX

vortex is the centre of the storm

movement is not regular but sometimes very erratic.
Schematic of a Hurricane:

Moist air is pulled into the low pressure region at the center, rises and
condenses into clouds at the eyewall. It then gets expelled outwards at the
top into high cirrus clouds. The low rain clouds rotate counter-clockwise,
and the high cirrus clouds clockwise (inward flow instead of outward flow).
They tend to
curve round
the adjacent

An area of
high pressure
blocking the
path can
cause the
storm to
change its
Speed of Progress

varies with different storms

slow at first and gradually increases to 10 or 12 knots

during re curvature they slow down, more so if the curve is
sharp; sometimes they may become stationary or nearly
stationary for a time.

after re curvature speed increases to over 20 knots and
considerably more if they reach temperate latitudes.
Wind force and direction

the pressure gradient is generally very steep within about
100 miles from the centre (10hPa in 50 miles and increasing
as the centre is approached).

the winds are strongest on that side of the storm which is
nearest to the adjacent subtropical high (because the
cyclonic circulation is reinforced by the general air stream
in which the storm is moving)

the strongest winds occur in the right hand semicircle in the
northern hemisphere and in the left hand semicircle in the
southern hemisphere
In the centre there is a small circular area (of up to 40 miles in
diameter) called the EYE or the VORTEX

there are light variable winds, patches of blue sky visible
between broken low clouds and a mountainous confused sea

around the calm central eye lies a ring of very strong winds
which is known as the "eye wall

beyond the eye wall the winds decay towards the outer limits
of the storm. (at a range of 200 miles the wind force may
reduce to Force 6 or 7, with correspondingly smaller waves,
although there will probably be a very heavy swell,
particularly on the path in advance of the storm).

Very heavy rain is a feature of all tropical revolving
The cloud sequence in a TRS is:



cumulus fractus,



In the "eye" there will be a partly clear sky.

Fair weather clouds broken up by strong winds. No
Scud cloud
Irregular cloud found beneath nimbostratus or cumulonimbus
clouds (viewing scud clouds means that there is a
cumulonimbus parent cloud)

Very heavy rain is a feature of all tropical revolving storms

usually commences as light rain at a distance of about 100 to
150 miles from the centre.

close to the centre:
- violent rain,
- hurricane force winds
- extremely violent squalls
- sudden shifts of wind
- sometimes thunder and lightning
- the sea becomes exceptionally high and is covered with froth
and flying spray which mingles with the rain and fills the air
with water
- visibility is very seriously impaired.
RSMC - Regional Specialised Meteorological Centres (as
designated by the World Meteorological Organisation
Dangerous Semi-
Put wind on starboard bow and
make best speed.
Alter course to stbd as the wind
Navigable Semi-
In the Path
Put wind on starboard quarter and
make best speed.
Alter course to port as the wind


Dangerous Semi-
Put wind on port bow and make best
Alter course to port as the wind

Navigable Semi-
In the Path
Put wind on port quarter and make
best speed.
Alter course to stbd as the wind
Storm surge is an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm,
over and above the predicted astronomical tides.
Should not be confused with storm tide, which is defined as the
water level rise due to the combination of storm surge and the
astronomical tide.