What’s the difference between cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons?
The answer: there is no difference.
The National Ocean Service says that hurricane, typhoon, and cyclone are all terms used to describe “a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters.”
The location where the storm originates is how scientists determine what to call the system.
CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers explains:
- Cyclones are in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific
- Typhoons are in the Western North Pacific
- Hurricanes are in the Eastern North Pacific and Northern Atlantic Basin
And yes, it is possible for storms to change names as they move across the map. For example, a hurricane can become a typhoon when it moves over the dateline.
The National Ocean Service said that these names all describe “a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters.”