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

Hurricanes and cyclones are a common occurrence all over the world. Ranging from category 1 - 5, they have been known to wreak havoc and instill damage as long as humans have walked the earth.

They always begin over warm tropical water, which is where they source their energy. Often beginning as tropical storms, once their winds reach 74 miles per hour, they are upgraded to a hurricane, cyclone or typhoon. Each storm has it's own name, as seen in Cyclone Yasi in 2011, Cyclone Marcia in 2015 or Cyclone Debbie in 2017. The duration of storm activity varies, often breaking up once the storm cell reaches a cooler area where it can dissipate, but not without making itself known along the way.

Hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons are the same thing - they are the same weather pattern, just with different names. What they are called depends on where they occur, not how. 'Hurricane; is the term used in the Atlantic, while 'typhoon' is used in the Northwest Pacific and 'cyclone' is used in the South and Indian Ocean, including Australia. Australia has seen many cyclones through the years that have ranged in severity and duration.

Hurricanes, cyclones, or typhoons, wherever they are, occur the same way. The combination of pre-existing weather disturbances, light winds, and moisture can turn deadly under the right (or wrong) circumstances, to become a violent weather pattern resulting in a deadly storm known as a hurricane, cyclone or typhoon. Wind, rain, unpredictable waves, and flooding may occur as well as damage to the environment and buildings in its path. They not only damage man-made structures, but also are known to cause floods, uproot trees and strip fields bare of crops.

The eye of the storm is known to bear the brunt of the damage, with winds and storm activity the worst at the core. The size of a cyclone can vary, sometimes stretching hundreds of kilometres long and affected areas even far beyond their radius.

The worst cyclones to hit Australia in recent memory have caused billions of dollars in damage, and have altered the landscape of Australian history. However, no matter how bad this naturally occurring phenomenon is, Australia, just like the rest of the world, always manages to bounce back.

Jenna
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