With the recent land fall of Super Typhoon Haiyan and the associated media you may be wondering to yourself what’s the difference between a typhoon and a hurricane. Below are the brief definitions of both:
A tropical cyclone in the Indian or Northwest Pacific Ocean.
A tropical cyclone in the North Atlantic and Northeast Pacific.
A localized, very intense low-pressure wind system, forming over tropical oceans and with winds of hurricane force.
They are in fact essentially the same thing, both being a Tropical Cyclone. The only real difference resides in where the storm is located. In order to be classified as either a Hurricane or Typhoon, the system must have sustained winds of at least 34 meters per second (66 kn) or 74 miles per hour (119 km/h). They are often characterized by a low-pressure center (the eye of the storm), and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms producing significant amounts of rainfall.
Discovery breaks down the distinctions in this quick two minute video:
For more information about Tropical Cyclones and their characteristics, check out the Tropical Cyclone Wiki page.