From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Difference between a hurricane, a cyclone, and a typhoon
Mains level : Tropical Cyclones in India
- The hurricane Dorian is to hit the east coast of Florida as a “major” hurricane, in Category 3 or possibly Category 4.
What do the categories mean?
- Powerful winds are what define a hurricane, so they are named and classified based on how hard their winds are blowing.
- To qualify as a hurricane, a storm must have sustained winds of 74 mph or more.
- All hurricanes are dangerous, but some pack more punch than others.
- So meteorologists try to quantify each storm’s destructive power by using the Saffir-Simpson scale placing it in one of five categories based on sustained wind speed:
Category 1, 74 to 95 mph:
- These storms’ winds may knock down some trees and power lines and do a bit of damage to buildings.
Category 2, 96 to 110 mph:
- These storms are likely to uproot many trees, disrupt electric power over wide areas and do significant roof and siding damage.
Category 3, 111 to 129 mph:
- These are major storms that can take roofs off even well-constructed houses and knock out electric and water systems for days or weeks.
- Roads will be blocked by falling trees and poles. Dorian is forecast to be at least this strong when it makes landfall.
Category 4, 130 to 156 mph:
- These major storms do catastrophic damage, felling most trees and power poles and wrecking some buildings.
- Affected areas may be uninhabitable for days or weeks afterward.
Category 5, 157 mph or more:
- Storms this powerful are rare, and when they strike, they are immensely destructive.
- Few structures will come through a direct hit unscathed, and a large percentage of frame buildings will be destroyed. Recovery may take weeks or months.
What is the difference between a hurricane, a cyclone, and a typhoon?
- The only difference between a hurricane, a cyclone, and a typhoon is the location where the storm occurs.
- In the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, the term “hurricane” is used.
- The same type of disturbance in the Northwest Pacific is called a “typhoon” and “cyclones” occur in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean.
- A tropical cyclone is a generic term used by meteorologists to describe a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters and has closed, low-level circulation.