#221

The Times, September 20, 2017

‘Cyclone’ is not an alternative word for ‘hurricane’.  Cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons are all the same weather systems – rotating clouds and thunderstorms originating over warm oceans, with sustained windspeeds of 74mph or more – but they have different names according to location. If the system originates in the Atlantic or Northeast Pacific (the west coast of the US), it is a hurricane. If it is in the Northwest Pacific, it is a typhoon. If it is in the South Pacific or Indian Ocean, it is a cyclone. There is a generic meteorological term of ‘tropical cyclone’ for systems with lower windspeeds, but once they reach 74mph they are given the title relating to where they originated. Occasionally the west coast of the US receives the remains of a typhoon.

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