StormTracker provides a mapped picture of tropical cyclones (tropical storms, hurricanes, typhoons) around the globe with access to the following:
- Track history of all current tropical cyclones
- Six-day forecast tracks for current tropical cyclones from the Met Office Unified Model
- Latest observed cloud cover (infra-red and visible satellite) and sea surface temperature
StormTracker provides general guidance on current tropical cyclone activity and one possible forecast outcome. It should not be used on its own to formulate a definitive decision based on this one outcome occurring. No indication is given as to forecast uncertainty or other possible forecast outcomes. To understand the most likely outcome for life and limb or operational decisions please refer to the official warnings and guidance issued by regional warning centres:
Active tropical cyclones can be selected from the drop down list above the map. Select the name to zoom in and see the observed and forecast tracks. Click on the globe symbol in the top left to zoom out to a global view. Other map layers (e.g. satellite imagery) can be switched on and off using the controls to the right of the map.
What are the storm names used in StormTracker?
StormTracker displays the observed and forecast tracks of all currently active tropical cyclones. This includes named storms, hurricanes and typhoons and also weaker tropical disturbances and depressions. The latter often do not have a name, but are denoted by an identifier consisting of two digits and a letter. When a tropical depression strengthens into a storm it is usually given a name.
What is a tropical cyclone?
A tropical cyclone is the generic term for a low pressure system over tropical or sub-tropical waters, with organised convection (i.e. thunderstorm activity) and winds at low levels circulating either anti-clockwise (in the northern hemisphere) or clockwise (in the southern hemisphere). The whole storm system may be five to six miles high and 300 to 400 miles wide, although sometimes can be even bigger. It typically moves forward at speeds of 10-15 mph, but can travel as fast as 40 mph. At its very early and weak stages it is called a 'tropical depression'. When the winds reach 39 mph it is called a 'tropical storm'. If the wind should reach 74 mph or more the tropical storm is called a 'hurricane' in the Atlantic and the north-east Pacific or a 'typhoon' in the north-west Pacific. In other parts of the world, such as the Indian Ocean and South Pacific the term 'cyclone' or 'tropical cyclone' is used.