What is the difference between a hurricane and a typhoon?

Mildred

Reading — Advanced Level
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Hurricanes and typhoons are the same weather phenomenon: tropical cyclones. A tropical cyclone is a generic term used by meteorologists to describe a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters and has closed, low-level circulation.

The weakest tropical cyclones are called tropical depressions. If a depression intensifies such that its maximum sustained winds reach 39 miles per hour, the tropical cyclone becomes a tropical storm. Once a tropical cyclone reaches maximum sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or higher, it is then classified as a hurricane, typhoon, or tropical cyclone, depending upon where the storm originates in the world. In the North Atlantic, central North Pacific, and eastern North Pacific, the term hurricane is used. The same type of disturbance in the Northwest Pacific is called a typhoon. Meanwhile, in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean, the generic term tropical cyclone is used, regardless of the strength of the wind associated with the weather system.

The ingredients for tropical cyclones include a pre-existing weather disturbance, warm tropical oceans, moisture, and relatively light winds. If the right conditions persist long enough, they can combine to produce the violent winds, large waves, torrential rains, and floods we associate with this phenomenon. At times, when a weather system does not meet all of these conditions, but is forecast to bring tropical storm or hurricane force winds to land in the next day or two, it is called a potential tropical cyclone in the Atlantic basin and the central and eastern North Pacific basins.

In the Atlantic, hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30. Ninety-seven percent of tropical cyclone activity occurs during this time period. However, there is nothing magical about these dates. Hurricanes can and do occur outside of this six month period.
  1. True or False. Hurricanes and typhoons are both tropical cyclones.

  2. What do you call a generic term that is used by meteorologists to describe a rotating, organize system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters and has closed, low-level circulation?

  3. What do you call the weakest tropical cyclones?

  4. Once a tropical cyclone reaches maximum sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or higher, it is classified as   .

  5. In what part of the globe does the generic term tropical cyclone apply?

Discussion

Practice your writing skills by discussing the questions below


  1. Do you always experience tropical cyclones in your country?

  2. How do you call the tropical cyclones in your country, hurricane or typhoon?

  3. Do you think that environmental issues are relevant to strong tropical cyclones these days? Explain.

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