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Subject : C3) Aren't big tropical cyclones also intense tropical cyclones?

Contributed by Chris Landsea

No. There is very little association between intensity (either measured by maximum sustained winds or by central pressure) and size (either measured by radius of 15 m/s [gale force, 30 kts, 35 mph] winds or the radius of the outer closed isobar) (Weatherford and Gray 1988). Hurricane Andrew is a good example of a very intense tropical cyclone (922 mb central pressure and 70 m/s (145 kt, 165 mph) sustained winds at landfall in Florida) that was also relatively small (15 m/s winds extended out only about 150 km [90 mi] from the center). Weatherford and Gray (1988) also showed that changes of both intensity and size are essentially independent of one another.


Last Revised 08/20/2009

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