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Storm vocabulary: cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons and tornados

by The Phantom

Storm coming
Look out!

What Webster says about summer storms: 

Cyclone: a large-scale atmospheric wind-and-pressure weather system characterized by low pressure at its center and by circular wind motion, counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere, and clockwise in the southern hemisphere.

Hurricane: a violent, tropical cyclonic storm, especially of the Western North Atlantic, having wind speeds of or in excess of 74 mph.

Typhoon: a tropical cyclone or hurricane of the West Pacific area and the China Seas.

Tornado: a localized, violently destructive windstorm occurring over land, especially in the US middle west, and characterized by a long funnel-shaped cloud that extends to the ground; a whirlwind.

Whirlwind: a relatively small mass of air, as a tornado, rotating rapidly and advancing over land or sea.

So, what I gather from those definitions is that both Hurricanes and Typhoons are wind storms, but we name them hurricanes if they are in the Atlantic and typhoons if they occur in the Pacific. Hmm. We've all been tutored by the graphic television coverage of these fierce summer storms lately. Whenever a storm gets a name, we know we're in for serious trouble.

These storms are considered to be the most violent of all weather phenomena. As we have learned from past storms, they are hard to run from because we don't know exactly where or when they will hit. Many people just batten down the hatches and wait them out, frightened out of their wits. The world has changed since Katrina. We know that we are still at the mercy of these natural forces. Too bad we can't "fix" the weather.

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