Tropical Cyclone: Interesting Facts and Categories

For the next three months, the residents of Vanuatu are in need of food aid according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The devastation brought by Cyclone Pam on March 13 and 14 was so massive and widespread. It is now considered as one of the worst natural disasters in history.

Australia is one of the countries who had responded to Vanuatu President’s emotional plea for humanitarian assistance. Military planes, support personnel, tonnes of food, relief goods and medicines have been sent to the country as pledge of ongoing support.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop visited Vanuatu and in one of her statements said:

“I was delighted to see so many Australians on the ground, working with the local people in rebuilding houses, putting schools back together. We had a medical team at Port Vila who, since last Sunday, have treated about 600 people.”

Cyclone Nathan
Cyclone Nathan

Meanwhile, another tropical cyclone has battered the northern part of Australia. According to the Bureau of Meteorology official, Cyclone Nathan was nearing a record-breaking life span.

Since it was formed in the Coral Sea on March 10, Cyclone Nathan has made its third landfall near Goulburn Island which is located 300 kiometers east of Darwin.  A state of emergency has been declared in the region due to strong winds and heavy rains.

Interesting facts about tropical cyclone

  1. Develops over warm waters; has a well-developed eye, eye wall and spiral bands of convection
  2. Called in different names for recording and historical purposes
  3. Referred to as Hurricane (North Atlantic Ocean, Northeast Pacific Ocean or South Pacific Ocean)
  4. Referred to as Typhoon (Northwest Pacific Ocean west of the dateline)
  5. Non-severe tropical cyclone is referred to as tropical storm
  6. Has a life cycle: formative stage, immature stage, mature stage, decay stage
  7. Cyclone with longest recorded lifetime: Hurricane Ginger (1971) – 30 days
  8. Two of the most devastating cyclone in history happened in Bangladesh:  Year 1970 – Great Bhola Cyclone, 300,000  – 500,000 deaths;   Year 1737  – Hooghly River Cyclone, 300,000 deaths

Cyclone Categories

Source: (

CATEGORY 1 –  Strongest winds: Gales, 90 – 125 km/h
Negligible house damage. Damage to some crops, trees and caravans. Boats may drag moorings.

CATEGORY 2 – Strongest winds: Destructive, 125 – 164 km/h
Minor house damage. Significant damage to signs, trees and caravans. Heavy damage to some crops. Risk of power failure. Small boats may break moorings.

CATEGORY 3 – Strongest winds: Very destuctive,165 – 224 km/h
Some roof and structural damage. Some caravans destroyed. Power failures likely.

CATEGORY 4 – Strongest winds: Very destuctive, 225 – 279 km/h
Significant roofing loss and structural damage. Many caravans destroyed and blown away. Dangerous airborne debris. Widespread power failures.

CATEGORY 5 – Strongest winds: Very destuctive, more than 290 km/h
Extremely dangerous with widespread destruction.

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