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A tropical cyclone is a circular storm that forms over warm oceans. When a tropical cyclone hits land, it brings heavy rains and strong winds. The winds can destroy buildings and rip out trees by their roots.

Tropical cyclones have different names around the world. Those that form near North America and the Caribbean are called hurricanes. Those that form near the Philippines, Japan, and China are known as typhoons. Those near Australia and in the Indian Ocean are often called cyclones.

Tropical cyclones form over warm areas of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. They usually develop in the summer or fall. Hurricane and typhoon season is from June to November. In the Southern Hemisphere, most cyclones form between December and April.


Coastal regions are most at danger from hurricanes.

As well as violent winds and heavy rain, hurricanes can also create tornadoes, high waves and widespread flooding.

Hurricanes are regions of low atmospheric pressure (also known as a depression).

The wind flow of hurricanes in the southern hemisphere is clockwise while the wind flow of hurricanes in the northern hemisphere is counterclockwise.

Weather in the eye of a hurricane is usually calm.

The eye of a hurricane can be anywhere from 2 miles in diameter to over 200 miles but they are usually around 30 miles.

The winds around the eye of a hurricane are usually the strongest.

Hurricanes can be tracked by weather satellites and weather radar closer to land.

Hurricanes have led to the death of around 2 million people over the last 200 years.

The 1970 Bhola Cyclone that struck Bangladesh killed over 300000 people.

In 2005 Hurricane Katrina killed over 1800 people in the United States and caused around $80 billion dollars worth of property damage. The city of New Orleans was hit particularly hard with levee breaches leading to around 80% of the city being flooded.


How a Hurricane Forms (Flash Animation)

Hurricanes, Typhoons & Cyclones  (Flash Animation)










  • Double Hurricanes off Hawaii Aug 2014
  • Hurricane Arthur from Space July 3 2014
  • Hurricane Hazel in Wilson Texas 1954
  • Hurricane Irene New York City Aug. 28 2011
  • Hurricane Isabel 2003 Virginia Beach
  • Hurricane Katrina New Orleans 2005
  • Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Pier
  • Inside the Eye of a Hurricane
  • Los Cabos, Mexico on Sept. 15 2014
  • Miami Hurricane 1926
  • Samar province of the central Philippines Nov 2013


National Geographic

Panik Tornado


Disaster Center - Tornadoes


Storm Shelters - Tornado facts