Typhoon, Hurricane, Cyclone: What’s the Difference?
A massive cyclone that slammed into India’s east coast on Saturday has left more than a dozen dead and forced more than a half a million people to flee homes that lie in vulnerable coastal and low-lying areas.
“This is one of the largest evacuations undertaken in India,” M. Shashidhar Reddy, vice chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority, told reporters in the capital, New Delhi. “Our priority is to minimize loss of life.”
Cyclone Phailin (a Thai word for “sapphire”) is officially the strongest storm to batter India since Cyclone Odisha made landfall in the same region in 1999 and killed 10,000 people. At the peak of Phailin’s power, its winds reached speeds of up to 160 miles per hour (257 kilometers per hour). By Sunday, Phailin’s fierce winds had diminished to 80 miles per hour (129 kilometers per hour), and the cyclone’s strength continues to lessen as it moves farther inland.
If you’ve never lived in Asia, you might be wondering what it feels like to experience a typhoon. But if you’ve ever survived a hurricane or cyclone, you already know the answer.
That’s because hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons are all the same weather phenomenon. Scientists just call these storms different things depending on where they occur.
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