what causes tropical storms to form?



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    Tropical Storm, weather system composed of a cluster of thunderstorms and of wind speeds near the surface of between 39 and 74 mph. Tropical storms develop out of storms called tropical depressions, in which wind speeds are less than 39 mph. If a tropical storm intensifies so that its wind speed reaches 74 mph, the storm becomes a hurricane. In contrast to a hurricane, a tropical storm typically does not have an eye, or calm area, at its center. Tropical storms form over large expanses of warm tropical ocean water. However, they do not form on the equator, and are very rare south of the equator in both the Atlantic Ocean and the eastern part of the south Pacific Ocean.

    Tropical storms cause torrential rainfall and flooding, and can spawn tornadoes. Such storms can pose major threats to populated areas. For example, in 1994, tropical storms Alberto, Beryl, and Gordon caused nearly $1 billion worth of damage in the United States. The flooding caused by Alberto killed 30 people in Alabama and Georgia. In June 1972 tropical storm Agnes killed more than 100 people along the East Coast of the United States and caused catastrophic flooding in the northeastern part of the country. Tropical storms have been even more deadly and damaging in other parts of the world.

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