Hurricane, Typhoon, Cyclone – What is the difference?

With so much talk about Hurricanes in the news lately with Hurricane Irma causing serious problems in the Caribbean and the State of Florida (U.S.), I thought I would answer this question…

What is the difference between a Hurricane, a Typhoon, and a Cyclone?

A hurricane, a typhoon, and a cyclone are essentially the same type of weather phenomenon.
There is no difference!

So why are there three different words for the same thing?
Well, the only real difference is WHERE the storm forms and takes place or happens.

If it happens in the Northeast Pacific Ocean or the Atlantic Ocean, then it is called a Hurricane.
If it happens in the Northwest Pacific Ocean, which is near Asia, then it is called a Typhoon.
If it happens in the South Pacific Ocean or the Indian Ocean, then it is called a Cyclone.

Hurricane: Northeast Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean
Typhoon: Northwest Pacific Ocean
Cyclone: South Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean.

Did you know?

Hurricanes and Typhoons in the Northern Hemisphere spin a counter-clockwise OR anti-clockwise direction.
Cyclones, which are in the Southern hemisphere, spin in a clockwise direction.

NOTE:
Counter-clockwise: American English
Anti-clockwise: British English

Summary Chart

The difference between a hurricane, a typhoon, and a cyclone - English Vocabulary

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