Tropical storms: Hurricanes, Typhoon, Clycones

Last week the Caribean islands, America and Gulf of Mexico experienced 3 Hurricanes in a row. At the same time, important Typhoons are developing on the Asia-Pacific region.

Basically, the three terms are the same. They all are tropical storms caused by the same reasons. Moist over the warm tropical ocean rises causes a low pressure area. Surrounding air pushes into this lower pressure area; thus, this air warms and rises. As this warm air rises, it cools forming cliuds and rain. Because of the Coriolis force this whole system of air, cloud, rain and wind beging spinning and growing.

Fig1. Formation of a tropical storm

The only difference between Hurricanes, typhoons and Cyclones is the local name they receive in different regions. 

Fig 2. Tropical storms different names

Tropical storms in the American region (Atlantic Ocean and America-Pacific) are known as Hurricanes. The word originates from the Mayan storm god Hunraken. Mayan people and other people from the region used the word to describes the stroms that were though to be a punishment from the god Hunraken

Tropical storms in the Asia-Pacific region are called Typhoons. In 1560 the Portuguese sailor Pinto made the first description of this tropical storm by using the word tufao. Tufao derives from the Chinese words tung (east) fung (wind). Chinese used these words to describe the strong windy storms coming from the East.

Cyclones are tropical storms on the Indian ocean. The first reference to this word is from the British sailor Piddington. The word originates from the Greek words kyklon (moving in a circle).
Strongest Tropical storms

Tropical are classified into 5 categories based on their wind speeds.
Category Wind speed [mph]
1 74-95
2 96-110
3 111-129
4 130-156
5 >156

Strongest tropical storms

Storm Year Winds [km/h] Wind [mph] Location
Patricia 2015 345 214 South of Mexico
Allen 1980 305 189 Caribean, North of Mexico
Irma 2017 295 183 Caribean, Florida
Wilma 2005 295 183 Gulf of mexico
Linda 1997 295 183 South of Mexico