What is the largest recorded hurricane? I have heard of Typhoon Tip, but what about a hurricane? Wilma? Camille?
Posted October 31, 2007
MIKE MOSS SAYS: Christopher, First off it is worth noting that Typhoons and Hurricanes are the same kinds of storms, the only difference being the names used to describe them in the different ocean basins (typhoon is used for the northwest Pacific, while the eastern Pacific and Atlantic basins use the term hurricane). In either case, we can refer to these storms as tropical cyclones.
I'm not sure if you literally mean the largest tropical cyclone on record in terms of area covered, or if you're really interested in the most intense as measured by central pressure or maximum winds speed, but here is a quick rundown covering some of thoe factors.
Typhoon Tip (Oct 1979) is on record as having the lowest central pressure, at 870 millibars, while for the Atlantic basin Wilma (Oct 2005) holds that honor at 882 mb. Camille (Aug 1969), by comparison, had a minimum pressure of 905 mb.
When it comes to maximum sustained winds, there is somewhat more uncertainty in the historical record due to the inherent difficulty in making these measurements, but for now it appears that there is a tie between Typhoon Tip, Camille, and Atlantic Hurricane Allen (Aug 1980) all at around 190 mph. Note that the record books include a Typhoon Nancy (Sep 1961) with max winds 213 mph, but tropical cyclone experts now believe this was an erroneous report.
According to NOAA's Hurricane Research Division, Typhoon Tip takes the top prize for size, based on a radius of sustained tropical storm force winds, which extended to a radius of 675 miles at one point.