This is the first Fun Friday article! This semester and possibly beyond, I will be publishing weekly Fun Friday articles covering weather-related topics in more entertaining ways due to an increase in my workload.
For the first one, I researched the smallest, largest and most powerful tropical cyclones alongside with few other interesting tidbits.
Smallest Tropical Cyclone
The smallest tropical cyclone ever recorded was Tropical Storm Marco that formed in Gulf of Mexico in 2008. According to NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division, Marco took the record for the smallest tropical cyclone in the world with radius of tropical storm-force winds extending up to mere 12 miles (19 km). National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecaster had a hilarious reaction to Marco’s puny size as shown in the forecast discussion below.
Puny Marco was so tiny that its tropical-storm-force wind field could also even fit inside Rhode Island, the smallest U.S. state and would only affect slightly less than half of the state.
Largest Tropical Cyclone
On the other extreme, the largest ever was Typhoon Tip in Western Pacific in 1979. Its tropical-storm-force winds extended up to 675 miles (1100 km), according to Hurricane Research Division. Some estimates vary, but Tip was so massive that it could easily cover roughly a half to two-third of continental U.S. Imagine both Iowa and California experiencing tropical-storm-force winds from the same storm at same time!
Most Intense Tropical Cyclone (Wind)
For the most intense tropical cyclone in the record, Hurricane Patricia in Eastern Pacific was the winner. When it formed in 2015, it intensified and produced winds that rivaled even an EF-5 tornado. With estimated maximum sustained winds clocking in at 213 mph (325 km/h), according to National Weather Service’s JetStream page, making it the highest sustained wind speeds for tropical cyclones in the record book.
I am a trained spotter and weather enthusiast who spent years enjoying learning about weather. I provide my thoughts and commentaries, sometimes with light humor.