Understanding the different terminologies for tropical storms: cyclone, hurricane and typhoon.
Cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons are powerful and dangerous weather phenomena that are formed in different parts of the world. Although they share some similarities, they each have their own Distinctive features, such as geographic location, wind intensity and associated weather conditions. In this article we will cover all the features so that you can be clear about the main differences.
What are the differences between a cyclone, a hurricane, and a typhoon?
In general, a hurricane, a typhoon, and a cyclone are different terms to describe the same type of meteorological phenomenon: a intense tropical storm with sustained winds above 119 kilometers per hour. These storms can have devastating effects, including heavy rain, flooding, storm surge, and damage to homes and infrastructure.
What are the characteristics of a cyclone?
Meteorologists use the term “tropical cyclone” to refer to an organized and revolving system of clouds and thunderstorms Originating over tropical or subtropical waters. When this cyclone reaches maximum sustained winds of 119 km/h or more, is classified as a hurricane, typhoon, or tropical cyclone, according to your location in the world.
How are cyclones formed?
Tropical cyclones are weather systems that form from warm, moist air. Like fire tornadoes, they need certain requirements.
The first requirement essential for their formation is the warm ocean water, with a minimum temperature of 26.5°C along at least 50 meters below the surface. It is for this reason that tropical cyclones only form in tropical and subtropical regions, and why they only affect certain areas.
the second condition necessary for the formation of a tropical cyclone is wind. As the wind blows over the ocean surface, the water evaporates, leading to the formation of clouds and thunderstorms as water vapor condenses into large water droplets.
Clouds cumulonimbus The resulting waves can generate heavy rains, destructive winds and storm surges, which can cause significant damage to coastal communities. Understanding how tropical cyclones form is essential for their prevention and adequate preparation, especially in risk areas.
The stages of a cyclone
Tropical cyclones are classified into three categories based on their intensity.
- The Tropical depression It is the weakest tropical cyclone, with maximum sustained winds of 61 km/h (33 knots) or less.
- The tropical storm it is a slightly stronger tropical cyclone, with maximum sustained winds of 62 km/h to 117 km/h (34 to 63 knots).
- He hurricane It is the strongest tropical cyclone, with maximum sustained winds of 118 km/h (64 knots) or more.
In the western North Pacific, hurricanes are called typhoons; in the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean, they are called cyclones. The main hurricane is the most intense tropical cyclone, with maximum sustained winds of 178 km/h (96 knots) or more, which corresponds to a category 3, 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The classification of tropical cyclones according to their intensity is important to assess its danger and to alert the affected population about the precautionary measures they should take.
The Saffir-Simpson wind scale
The Saffir-Simpson wind scale ranks hurricanes from 1 to 5 based on their sustained wind speed, which allows estimating the possible material damages. The hurricanes of category 3 or higher They are considered “major” due to their potential for loss of life and significant damage, but Category 1 and 2 storms are still dangerous and preventative measures must be taken. In the Western North Pacific, the term is used “super typhoon” to refer to tropical cyclones with sustained winds above 240 km/h.
Sustained Wind Category: Speed Assumptions
Depending on the wind speed, different assumptions and possible consequences can be established. From minor damage to solid structures to the total destruction of buildings and habitable areas.
Assumption 1 (from 119 to 153 km/h): Hazardous winds can cause damage to solidly built homes, including damage to the roof, shingles, vinyl siding, and gutters. Large tree limbs snap and trees with shallow roots can be felled. Extensive power outages are likely due to damage to power lines and poles, which can last a few days.
Scenario 2 (from 154 to 177 km/h): Extremely dangerous winds can cause extensive damage to well-constructed homes, including extensive roof and siding damage. Many shallow rooted trees will be uprooted or uprooted and will block many paths. There is likely to be a near total power outage that can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
Assumption 3 (from 178 to 208 km/h): Devastating damage will occur, including significant damage to or removal of the roof boards and gables of well-constructed framed homes. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking many roads. Power and water will not be available for several days or even weeks after the storm.
Assumption 4 (from 209 to 251 km/h): Catastrophic damage will occur, including extensive damage to well-constructed homes and the loss of most of the roof structure or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted, and utility poles will be downed. Downed trees and utility poles will isolate residential areas, and power outages will last for weeks or even months. Most of the region will be uninhabited for weeks or months.
Assumption 5 (252 km/h or more): Catastrophic damage will occur, including the destruction of a high percentage of wood frame homes, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Downed trees and utility poles will isolate residential areas, and power outages will last for weeks or even months. Most of the affected region will be uninhabited for weeks or even months.
When do hurricanes occur?
In the Atlantic, the hurricane season takes place between June 1 and November 30. Over 95% of tropical cyclone activity occurs during this period in this region. Typhoons in the northwestern Pacific Ocean are more common since end of May, beginning of June until October, although they can form throughout the year. And in the South Pacific, cyclone season is between January and April.
What are hurricanes called?
hurricanes are a common natural phenomenon that occurs every year, and sometimes, there can be two or three of them active at the same time. In order to facilitate communication between meteorologists, researchers, first responders, ship captains, and citizens about specific hurricanes, names are used for these storms. The World Meteorological Organization has compiled a List of names which are assigned in alphabetical order to tropical storms as they form. The names alternate between masculine and feminine for each hurricane, and these names may be repeated after a six-year interval or dropped for particularly severe storms.
What has been the worst hurricane in history?
In terms of deaths, the deadliest hurricane on record is Bhola cyclone of 1970 in Bangladesh, which caused the death of approximately 300,000 people. In terms of economic damages, the Hurricane Katrina of 2005 in the United States is one of the most costly, with damages estimated at more than 100 billion dollars.