Abstract. The characteristics of the cyclone tracks that caused precipitation events of variable intensity for the period 1979–2011 over the island of Crete are presented. The data set used for cyclone identification is the 0.5° × 0.5°, 30 years European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) ERA-Interim mean sea-level pressure. Cyclone characteristics are calculated with the aid of the Melbourne University algorithm (MS scheme). Daily precipitation data from a dense gauging network over the island of Crete are also used for the classification of the precipitation events in terms of rain accumulation (intensity). Daily precipitation is classified in three categories and the associated cyclones are chosen according to their distance from Crete island. The seasonal and annual cycle of the physical characteristics of the cyclone tracks are investigated with respect to the cyclones' relative position to the island of Crete. It was found that cyclones affecting Crete most frequently approach from the western side of the island and the actual cyclone centers associated with precipitation events are usually located northwest and southeast of the Crete domain. Cyclone-induced rainfall increases in function to cyclones' depth, radius and propagation velocity increase as well as cyclones' pressure decrease. Spring cyclones that affect Crete with rainfall present lower pressures and higher cyclone propagation velocity in contrast to the ones associated with winter and autumn precipitation events. The examination of the relation between cyclone characteristics and precipitation occurrence provides valuable information related to forecasting potential and management of the water resources and the rainfall extremes.