Hurricanes Typhoons and Cyclones

What is the difference between cyclones and tornadoes?



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  • Tornadoes can be up to 4km across, and are usually no more than a few hundred meters wide, while Tropical cyclones are hundreds of kilometers across.
  • Tornadoes usually only last a few minutes, rarely over an hour, while Tropical Cyclones last several days, maybe even a week.
  • Tornado wind speeds typically range from 63 to 177km/h though can exceed 480km/h. When the wind speeds of a tropical cyclone are between 63km/h and 118km/h they are called tropical storms, when the speed reaches 119km/h, they are called hurricanes, typhoons, or intense tropical cyclones depending on the region.
  • Tropical Cyclones form over sea then may travel over land, while Tornadoes form primarily over land. When Tornadoes form over seas, they are called waterspouts.
  • Tornadoes are formed when wind shear sets thunderstorms rotating, and that rotation then tightens, intensifies, and extends to the ground.
  • A Tropical Cyclone is formed when an area of low pressure moves over warm ocean water. The moisture feeds into the system causing it to intensify. An effect called the 'Coriolis effect' causes it to rotate in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction, depending on whether your in the southern or northern hemisphere, and as a result become better organized.