Typhoons are, in fact, hurricanes

A friend of ours says a typhoon is the same thing as a hurricane. Is he right? Obviously, what brought this up is the typhoon that just hit The Philippines. I hope the world does everything it can to help those people suffering from that terrible storm.

— Linda M., Medford

Your friend is absolutely correct, Linda.

We checked with our friends at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who tell us that hurricanes and typhoons as well as cyclones are one and the same.

The difference is that the storms have different monikers in different places around the globe. The word "hurricane" is used in the Atlantic and northeast Pacific Ocean regions, while the same kind of storm in the northwest Pacific is known as a "typhoon," according to NOAA. The same storm is called a "cyclone" in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean areas, it added.

The NOAA weather scientists explain that, no matter what the name, the basic ingredients necessary for those storms are the same: a pre-existing weather disturbance, warm tropical oceans, moisture and relatively light winds. If Mother Nature mixes them just right, they combine to produce the violent winds, incredible waves, torrential rains and floods.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially runs June 1 to Nov. 30. However, while 97 percent of tropical activity occurs within that time span, it occasionally occurs at other times.

Like you, we are also very concerned about the people hit by typhoon Haiyan in The Philippines. They are in dire straits.

Email questions to youasked@mailtribune.com.

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