What is a Cyclone? How is it different from a hurricane?

Columbus (WCMH) – Cyclone Debbie making landfall in the Queensland state in northeast Australia, I am getting about what is a “Cyclone”

 

First, Debbie had reached Category 4 strength as far as the winds:

This would put winds at 130mph sustained or greater, and it was reported that the storm had wind gusts of more than 160mph.   It was the strongest storm to hit in nearly 6 years, since Cyclone Yasi back in early February of 2011.

 

What is the difference between a hurricane, a typhoon, and a [tropical] cyclone?

They are considered cyclones in a sense, and are tropical in nature, with winds sustained at 74 mph or greater.  The key difference is Location!

Hurricanes are found in either the Atlantic basin (Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean included), or in the Eastern Pacific Ocean from just west of Hawaii to the North American/Central American coast.  They are mostly (almost always) found in the northern hemisphere and spin counter clockwise.

 

Typhoons are found from west of Hawaii over towards the Asian coastline.  Name lists are different here, just how the Eastern Pacific and Atlantic have different names.  Names on this list start with Typhoon or Super Typhoon.

 

Cyclones as they are named, are generally found in the Indian Ocean Basin, or the South Pacific Basins where the water is warm enough to support a tropical system.

 

One key difference of Cyclones vs Typhoons and Hurricanes:

In a way, the name Cyclone for a tropical system can allow the storm to spin clockwise (southern hemisphere) or counter-clockwise (northern hemisphere).  Since the name Cyclone is used in basins (or areas of water) in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, a Cyclone can spin both ways (just not in the same hemisphere).

Hurricanes since they are mainly found in the Northern Hemisphere, like Typhoons spin counter-clockwise, just like low pressure systems over land.

On record, one Hurricane, Hurricane Catarina did form in the Southern Atlantic in March of 2004, hitting Brazil, and yes this would be a clockwise spinning hurricane!!!

 

If you ever have questions about tropics, or any other type of system or weather, email me: dmazza@wcmh.com

-Dave

NBC4i.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s