100-word explainer: How are cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons different?

Hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones devastate millions around the world, but what’s the difference between them? Answer: nothing.

Cyclones are “spinning storms” rotating around a low-pressure centre or the “eye”. They contain torrential rain and sustained wind at 74 miles per hour (119 km/hour) or above.

Cyclones that form over warm ocean waters are called “tropical cyclones”. Hurricanes and typhoons are types of tropical cyclones; their names indicate where the storm is occurring. See below:

  • Hurricane: Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, and central and northeast Pacific
  • Typhoon: Northwest Pacific
  • Severe tropical cyclone: Southeast Indian Ocean and southwest Pacific
  • Tropical cyclone: Southwest Indian Ocean.
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