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February 7, 2011

Hurricane, typhoon or cyclone?

Japan Meteorological AgencyFROM TODAY'S PRINT EDITIONS:

Fred Rasmussen wrote last week from the Obit Desk, after a big storm battered, Australia: “Why is it called a Force 5 cyclone? Is there any difference between a cyclone and a hurricane?” Only in where you happen to be when one blows you down. They’re all tropical cyclones.

 “Hurricane” is derived from the names of Carib and Mayan storm gods, “huracan, or “hunraken.” We apply it to these storms in the North Atlantic basin and Northeast Pacific. In the northwest Pacific they’re typhoons. Elsewhere, they’re cyclones

(PHOTO: Japan Meteorological Agency, Cyclone Yasi)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 12:01 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition, Sky Notes


Some call it 'to-mah-to' and some call it 'to-may-to'.

Some call it 'po-tah-to' and some call it 'po-tay-to'. Most spell it without an 'e', but at least one (very famous) person doesn't.

In the Pacific they usually use the Beaufort scale for Cyclones, which would mean winds 20–28 km/h (13–17 mph).

On the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale it would be the top dog, with winds over 155 mph (69 m/s).

Two very different meanings for the same term.

FR: It was a Cat. 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Gusts to 290 km/hr, or 180 mph.

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff

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