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Storms that collapse like a house of cards: a global catalog of the extremely rapid weakening of tropical cyclones

Yung-Ching Wang


Extremely rapid weakening (ERW) is a form of abrupt intensity change of tropical cyclones (TCs) that has received scant scholarly  attention. On the basis of worldwide TC records, this study identifies and presents 89 6-hourly periods in which a TC’s maximum  sustained wind speed near center diminished by 40 kt (1 kt = 0.51 m/s) or more. The vast majority of these ERW periods occurred when powerful TCs made landfall (especially in mountains), but there are also exceptions in which ERW was the result of strong vertical  windshear over open oceans. Madagascar Island, Luzon Island, Taiwan Island, west Mexico, US Gulf Coast, and Yucatan Peninsula are  found to experience most ERW, while the incidence of such events has so far been zero at the Baja California Peninsula, the Korean  Peninsula, and the coast of the Arabian Sea. 

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eISSN: 1019-7079