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Hurricane Earl in the process of becoming a post-tropical cyclone on September 10, 2022
Hurricane Earl in the process of becoming a post-tropical cyclone on September 10, 2022

A post-tropical cyclone is a former tropical cyclone that no longer possesses enough tropical qualities to be considered a tropical cyclone.[1] The word may refer to a former tropical cyclone undergoing extratropical transition or a tropical cyclone degenerating into a remnant low. A tropical cyclone degenerating into a trough or wave lacks a cyclonic circulation and is referred as remnants instead of a post-tropical cyclone. However, post-tropical cyclones or remnants can continue producing high winds and heavy rains.[2]

Hurricane Paulette becoming post-tropical on September 16, 2020.
Hurricane Paulette becoming post-tropical on September 16, 2020.



Two classes of post-tropical cyclones exist

Other post-tropical cyclones

Not all systems fall into the above two classes. According to the guideline, a system without frontal characteristics but with maximum winds above 34 knots may not be designated as a remnant low. It should be merely described as post-tropical.[9] A few examples falling into this grey area are listed below.

However, there has been an occasion that the United States National Hurricane Center went against that definition and designated Calvin (2011) as a 35-knot remnant low.[19]

Also, if a tropical cyclone degenerates into a tropical wave or trough, then it does not qualify as a post-tropical cyclone. It would be referred as the "remnants of (tropical cyclone name)".

Météo-France classifies systems in the South-West Indian Ocean undergoing an extratropical transition or losing tropical characteristics as “post-tropical depressions”, since the 2012–13 cyclone season. They would be re-classified as extratropical depressions after completing the process.[20]


A post-tropical cyclone is formed when the typical characteristics of a tropical cyclone are replaced with those of extratropical cyclones, otherwise known as extratropical transition.[21] After the initial formation, a post-tropical cyclone has the potential to gain strength and intensity by forming an extratropical storm.[21] If a post-tropical cyclone does become an extratropical storm, it will eventually decay through the process of occlusion.[22]


The re-intensification of a post-tropical cyclone can cause dangerous conditions in North Atlantic shipping routes with high seas and winds comparable to those of hurricanes.[21]


The terminology was initiated by Canadian Hurricane Centre in 1998 during Tropical Storm Bonnie.[23] In 2008, the National Hurricane Center used this term for Tropical Storm Laura to address the limitation of the two classes (extratropical/remnant low) mentioned above.[24] The term was later adopted by the National Weather Service on May 15, 2010.[9]


The Bureau of Meteorology in Australia refers to a former tropical cyclone as an "ex-tropical cyclone".[25] An example is ex-tropical cyclone Oswald.

See also


  1. ^ "Glossary of NHC Terms".
  2. ^ "Glossary of NHC Terms". Retrieved 2021-01-25.
  3. ^ "Glossary of NHC Terms".
  4. ^ "Post-Tropical Cyclone Dorian Forecast+Discussion". Retrieved 2019-09-07.
  5. ^ "Dorian causing damage in Canada after losing 'hurricane' status". 8 September 2019.
  6. ^ "Glossary of NHC Terms".
  7. ^[bare URL PDF]
  8. ^ "Post-Tropical Cyclone MARIE". Retrieved 2021-02-19.
  9. ^ a b "SERVICE CHANGE NOTICE 10-06". National Weather Service. January 15, 2010. Archived from the original on October 30, 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  10. ^ "Post-Tropical Cyclone EUGENE". National Hurricane Center.
  11. ^ "Post-Tropical Cyclone MICHAEL". National Hurricane Center.
  12. ^ "Post-Tropical Cyclone NADINE". National Hurricane Center.
  13. ^ "Post-Tropical Cyclone HUMBERTO".
  14. ^ "Post-Tropical Cyclone JOAQUIN". National Hurricane Center.
  15. ^ "Post-Tropical Cyclone MATTHEW". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2016-10-09.
  16. ^ "Post-Tropical Cyclone JERRY". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2019-09-28.
  17. ^ Reinhart, Brad (June 20, 2022). Post-Tropical Cyclone Blas Advisory Number 26 (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved June 20, 2022.
  18. ^ Beven, Jack (September 10, 2022). Post-Tropical Cyclone Earl Advisory Number 32 (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 10, 2022.
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Saison 2012-2013" (in French). Météo-France. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  21. ^ a b c Pelissero, Jonathon; Chiao, Sen (July 5, 2013). "The influences of post-tropical reintensification and dissipation on North Atlantic shipping routes". Meteorological Applications. Royal Meteorological Society. 21 (3): 755. Bibcode:2014MeApp..21..755P. doi:10.1002/met.1410.
  22. ^ "Extratropical Cyclone". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
  23. ^ "Learn about hurricanes: Post-tropical cyclones". 16 June 2009.
  24. ^ "Tropical Storm LAURA".
  25. ^[bare URL]