What are hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones?
Here’s how they form, why they can be so deadly, and how to best prepare for them.
Hurricanes combine unyielding winds and torrential rain to create some of Earth’s most powerful storms. When hurricanes near land, wind can cause devastating damage, even spawning tornadoes. But the bigger danger is rain, which can cause catastrophic, and often deadly, flooding.
These storms gain energy from warm water and its winds whirl in a characteristic circular motion. Tropical storms are named once winds pass 39 miles per hour, and are deemed hurricanes when winds pass 74 miles per hour. Hurricanes are rated by categories on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
The same type of storm has different names depending on the region of the world: “hurricanes” develop over the North Atlantic, central North Pacific, and eastern North Pacific, “cyclones” form over the South