21.3.06

Rectifyfing a friends error on Tropical storms

The terms "hurricane" and "typhoon" are regionally specific names for a strong "tropical cyclone". A tropical cyclone is the generic term for a non-frontal synoptic scale low-pressure system over tropical or sub-tropical waters with organized convection (i.e. thunderstorm activity) and definite cyclonic surface wind circulation (Holland 1993). Tropical cyclones with maximum sustained surface winds of less than 17 m/s (34 kt, 39 mph) are called "tropical depressions" (This is not to be confused with the condition mid-latitude people get during a long, cold and grey winter wishing they could be closer to the equator ;-)). Once the tropical cyclone reaches winds of at least 17 m/s (34 kt, 39 mph) they are typically called a "tropical storm" and assigned a name. If winds reach 33 m/s (64 kt, 74 mph)), then they are called: • "hurricane" (the North Atlantic Ocean, the Northeast Pacific Ocean east of the dateline, or the South Pacific Ocean east of 160E) • "typhoon" (the Northwest Pacific Ocean west of the dateline) • "severe tropical cyclone" (the Southwest Pacific Ocean west of 160E or Southeast Indian Ocean east of 90E) • "severe cyclonic storm" (the North Indian Ocean) • "tropical cyclone" (the Southwest Indian Ocean) Please Americans do you see your Hurricanes are just a Cyclone it matters not what they are called as long as you understand they are one and the same and that it in fact pisses an Aussie off when he gets an e-mail from a friend in the USA and they are likened to a tornado; which they are not of course; Which we also get by the way; In fact other countries surely must. The one we have just had Cyclone Larry was a category 5 but is now down to 2, I think after wreaking it's wrath on the top end of Queensland; I felt a few drops of rain this morning so it could be a spin off from it. For readers other than the USA here is a Picture of a Tornado does that look like a Cyclone or Hurricane to you?. Actually most of my E-pals know the difference just the odd one does not. Images courtesy Courier Mail Brisbane.

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