Cyclone vs. Tornado

Cyclone vs. Tornado

Cyclones and tornadoes are two types of strong, spiraling storms that can be very destructive.

A cyclone is a large, destructive storm that is comprised of strong winds rotating around a center of low pressure. Depending on the region, a cyclone may be referred to as a typhoon or hurricane. Cyclones are very powerful and can move at 20-30 miles per hour. The strong winds are usually accompanied by rain. Their intensity is measured on the Beauford scale or the Saffir-Simpson scale.

A tornado is a violent storm comprised of extremely strong winds spiraling around a central point in a funnel-shaped cloud. Tornadoes move at 30-40 miles per hour with winds reaching over 300 miles per hour near the center. They are generally narrow in diameter compared with other storms, so their destruction is confined to a narrow path. Tornadoes often occur in groups. Tornado strength is measured on the Fujita scale.

North of the equator, cyclones and tornadoes rotate in a counterclockwise direction. South of the equator, they rotate in a clockwise direction. Cyclones usually occur in tropical areas over the Pacific and Indian Oceans, whereas tornadoes occur on all continents (except Antarctica) where cold and warm fronts converge.

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