How Does Tropical Cyclone Form?


How does Hurricane or Typhoon or Storm or Cyclone form? We have seen the satellite pictures of ocean, surrounded with swirling clouds, during monsoons. How do these swirling clouds form? What can we interpret from the satellite pictures shown in news media when hurricanes form?

Hurricane or Typhoon or Storm or Cyclone

Here are the answers to these questions! Hurricane or Typhoon or Storm or Cyclone, is commonly known as Tropical Cyclone.

  1. Sea water warms up near the equator. As a result, the water vapors, coming out of the ocean’s surface, mix up with the surrounding air. This warm, moist air moves vertically upwards.
  2.  The above process leaves very less air as a remainder in the region, where the vaporization took place. This causes the ambient air pressure to decrease in that region.
  3. In order to maintain equillibrium, the atmospheric air in the surrounding regions swirls at high velocity towards the low pressure region. In other words, the atmospheric air in the surrounding areas fills in the gap produced in the low pressure region.
  4. The warm moist air rises up and cools off, and the water forms clouds. The clouds rotate along with the air that rotates with high angular velocity.
  5. Steps from 1 to 4 above repeats over and again.

This continuous vaporization process, causes a deep depression.  Very strong wind is required, in order to fill in this very low pressure area. This wind swirls in towards the central part of the low pressure zone, with very high velocity and attempts to fill in the gap. As the strength of the wind increases, it ultimately becomes tropical cyclone.


The satellite pictures show these swirling clouds with a hole in the center. This hole is known as Eye of the cyclone. Depending on the velocity, density, and area of the swirling clouds, we can estimate the strength of the tropical cyclone.

When this high velocity cyclonic storm comprising swirling clouds makes the landfall, it hits the land severely with thunder showers. As the cyclonic storm travels in land, it weakens gradually.



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