What's the difference between a cyclone and a tornado, and, a hurricane and a typhoon? Hi, I'm Dave Thurlow and this is The Weather Notebook. I asked this question last month and I'm sorry but I just can't give you any more time to figure it out.
So, first, when dealing with cyclones and tornados, you have to understand a little bit of history. About a hundred years ago, cyclones and tornadoes were considered pretty much the same thing -- land based circular wind storms. But that doesn't hold true today. Technically, a cyclone is any kind of circular wind storm. But now, only used to describe a strong tropical storm found off of the coast of India, something you definitely would not call a tornado. As for hurricanes and typhoons, well, that was a bit of a trick question. Hurricanes and Typhoons are the same thing, but in different places. If you're standing on the coast of Florida and there's a strong tropical storm coming, you may be hit by a hurricane. If you're fishing in the Philipines, be careful, because you're in typhoon territory.
Hurricanes happen in the Atlantic and typhoons happen in the Pacific, it just that simple. So basically, hurricanes and typhoons form over water and are huge, while tornados form over land and are much smaller in size. But, try telling that to the cows in Kansas. As for the term cyclone, you can attach that to any circular wind storm you want, for now. And if things change, I'll let you know.
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