What is the difference between hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones?

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  • Published on:  3/15/2017
  • All three names are names used to describe some of the most powerful and destructive meteorological systems on earth - but what is the difference between them?

    You can find out more about how hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones are formed on the Met Office website: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/tropicalcyclone/hurricane

    So what is the difference?

    The quick answer is - nothing.

    Hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones are actually just different names for the same type of storm.

    Each name is used depending on the part of the world from which the storm originates.

    They are all used to describe large rotating storm systems that develop over warm tropical waters.

    These storms begin life known simply as tropical cyclones and become classified as a hurricane, typhoon or cyclone when the winds within them reach 74 miles per hour or higher.

    In the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, the term Hurricane is used.

    In the Northwest Pacific they are known as typhoons.

    In the South Pacific and Indian Ocean, they are called cyclones.

    The strong winds, heavy rain, flooding and storm surges associated with these storms can cause major damage.

    To learn more about the history of meteorology and the science behind the weather headlines, you can listen to our audio podcasts here:

    https://soundcloud.com/metofficepodcasts

    Music: PlutoTracks - Breathless
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