Tropical cyclones can be hundreds of kilometres wide and can bring destructive high winds, torrential rain, storm surges and occasionally tornadoes.
Tropical cyclones are associated with a variety of hazards.
Damaging or destructive winds may reach speeds in excess of 300 km/h in the most intense systems. The combination of wind-driven waves and the low-pressure of a tropical cyclone can produce a coastal storm surge – a huge volume of water driven ashore at high speed and with immense force that can wash away structures in its path and cause significant damage to the coastal environment. Torrential rainfall results in flash-flooding, flooding, and potential landslides and mudslides.
Their potential for wreaking havoc caused by those associated hazards is exacerbated by the length and width of the areas they affect, their intensity, frequency of occurrence and the vulnerability of the impacted areas.
Related fact sheets: Storm surge, flash-flooding, flooding, landslides and mudslides.