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Typhoons are very large storms that occur in ocean waters. In this lesson, learn how a typhoon forms, identify the similarities and differences between typhoons and hurricanes, and find out about some of the damages typhoons can cause.

Ocean Storms

Are you fascinated with weather and how it occurs? If so, you’ll want to learn about typhoons. These are massive storms that form over areas of ocean water that are warm and tropical. Let’s become weather scientists, and find out more about these amazing weather events.

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Typhoons are often so large they can be seen from space.

Maysak

Hurricane vs. Typhoon

‘Hurricane’ and ‘typhoon’ are actually different names for cyclones. Cyclones occur in different oceans, so people call them hurricanes or typhoons depending on their location.

In areas bordering the western northern Pacific Ocean the term typhoon is used, but a cyclone is called a hurricane when it occurs in the northern Atlantic Ocean, or in the eastern northern parts of the Pacific. Although these two names essentially mean the same thing, there are more typhoons that occur each year than hurricanes because of the conditions of the western northern Pacific.

Characteristics of a Typhoon

A typhoon forms when winds blow into areas of the ocean where the water is warm.

These winds collect moisture and rise, while colder air moves in below. This creates pressure, which causes the winds to move very quickly. The winds rotate, or spin, around a center called an eye. The more warm air and moisture there is, the more intense the winds. While typhoons can occur anytime of year, the conditions are most likely to be right for them to happen between June and November.

Typhoon Megi was an intense typhoon that hit the coast of the Philippines.
The Philippines is an island country in the Pacific that often experiences devastating floods from typhoons.
flooding

Predicting Storms

If there is any good news about typhoons, it is that they can be predicted pretty easily. Scientists who study weather are called meteorologists, and they can tell when and where a typhoon might begin by studying the temperatures over the ocean in areas where these storms are likely. They can also measure wind speeds, and are able to tell several days in advance that a typhoon will form.

This is helpful to inform people who might be in harm’s way, so they can find a safer area to stay.

Lesson Summary

Typhoon is a name for a cyclone that forms in warm, tropical ocean waters of the world. Typhoons occur in western and northern areas of the Pacific Ocean, and are storms that rotate, or spin around a center called an eye. Typhoons can be very devastating, especially when they cause storm surge, or flooding, when they hit land, and scientists called meteorologists can predict typhoons and put them into categories to help people prepare for these storms.

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