Tropical cyclones may be difficult to forecast, as they can suddenly weaken or change their course. However, meteorologists use state-of-the-art technologies and develop modern techniques to forecast how a tropical cyclone evolves.
Meteorologists worldwide use modern technology, such as satellites, weather radars and computers, to track tropical cyclones as they develop. Tropical cyclones can be challenging to forecast, as they can suddenly weaken or change their course. However, meteorologists use state-of-the-art technologies and develop modern techniques such as numerical weather prediction models to forecast how a tropical cyclone evolves, including its movement and change of intensity; when and where one will hit land and at what speed. National Meteorological Services of the concerned countries then issue official warnings.
Around 85 tropical storms form annually over the world's warm tropical oceans. Among these, just over half (45) become tropical cyclones/hurricanes/typhoons. Proportionately, out of 85 tropical storms, 72% form in the northern hemisphere, and 28% in the southern hemisphere.
As a result of international cooperation and coordination, tropical cyclones are increasingly being monitored from their early stages of formation. WMO allows timely and widespread dissemination of information about tropical cyclones. WMO coordinates activities at global and regional levels through its Tropical Cyclone Programme. The Regional Specialized Meteorological Centres with activity specialization in tropical cyclones, and Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres, are all designated by WMO and function within WMO’s Tropical Cyclone Programme. Their role is to detect, monitor, track and forecast all tropical cyclones in their respective regions. The Centres provide, real-time advisory information and guidance to the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services.
Related fact sheets: Storm surge, flash-flooding, flooding, landslides and mudslides.
Related WMO activities:
The WMO Tropical Cyclone Programme provides information on these hazards and the WMO Severe Weather Information Centre provides real-time tropical cyclone advisories.