Meaning of Cyclones, Hurricanes, Typhoons and Tornadoes


Cyclones, hurricanes and tornadoes are meteorological phenomena that correspond to major atmospheric changes, such as very strong winds accompanied by torrential rain and even snow or hail. In certain climatic seasons, changes in temperature and atmospheric pressure may occur that justify these phenomena.

Meteorologists classify it as gales when the winds reach 70 km / hour and storms when they reach 100 km / hour. Both are accompanied by little rain and occur when two areas with very different atmospheric pressure meet. With winds above 117 km / hour, the phenomena of this article occur.

Cyclones, hurricanes or typhoons

They are names usually used to designate strong tropical cyclones. When large portions of air with low atmospheric pressure are formed over the oceans, in tropical regions, an upward air column forms, because the warm air is light.

As this column of air rises, the winds that move horizontally begin to spin it and the water vapor contained in the column of hot air cools and condenses, forming droplets of water and clouds. Over the course of a few days, this process intensifies and, with it, thunder and torrential rain.

If the winds that blow around arrive at a very high speed, the atmospheric pressure inside the ascending column of air will drop quickly, forming what is conventionally called the eye of the hurricane . Hurricanes can last for a few days and can travel at a speed of 19 to 32 km / h.

This phenomenon is called a hurricane when it forms in the Atlantic Ocean. However, when it forms in the Indian and Pacific oceans, it is called a typhoon .

Cyclones or hurricanes can be classified within a scale called Saffir-Simpson, which takes into account the atmospheric pressure in the eye of the hurricane, the speed of the winds and the intensity of storms. This scale ranges from 1 to 5 and is used to measure the destructive power of a hurricane. See below.

  • Category 1, minimum, indicates winds from 119 to 152 km / h;
  • The moderate 2 has winds of 153 to 177 km / h;
  • The 3, wide, with winds that reach from 178 to 209 km / h;
  • A 4, extreme, which indicates winds between 210 to 249 km / h;
  • The 5, catastrophic, with winds that reach more than 249 km / h.

The tornadoes

Tornadoes are the worst type of weather disturbance you can have. They form when a column of ascending air connects simultaneously to a cloud laden with moisture and to the ground. They are atmospheric vortices (whirlpools) and their winds can reach 500 km / h.

Although they can often be mistaken for hurricanes, there are many differences between them. The main one is that tornadoes only form over continents, they are more intense and shorter, while hurricanes originate in the oceans of tropical regions, they are less intense, but they last longer.

When a tornado passes over a region, it usually pulls out pieces of objects and even trees, carrying them; therefore, when it reaches some inhabited area, it becomes even more dangerous.

The strength of a tornado is measured by the Fujita scale, which varies from zero to five and measures the intensity of the destruction caused.