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Q: Do hurricanes ever happen in the Southern Hemisphere?

A: Hurricanes do occur in the Southern Hemisphere, but have a different name.

South of the equator, they’re called tropical cyclones.

Cyclones can hit Northwest and Northern Australia, some parts of East Africa and Indian Ocean islands like Mauritius and Madagascar, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center.

Hurricanes, on the other hand, batter the U.S. states on the Gulf of Mexico and East Coast, as well as Caribbean nations. Hurricanes formed in the eastern Pacific Ocean can sometimes make landfall in Mexico.

When hitting islands and nations in the Northwest Pacific Ocean, the storms are called typhoons.

The storms all are created with the same ingredients: a pre-existing weather disturbance, warm tropical ocean water, moisture and relatively light winds, according to NOAA’s National Ocean Service.

But, there is one difference between storms in different hemispheres.

Due to to what’s called the Coriolis force, the winds rotate in different directions, according to NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division.

The Coriolis effect causes the winds of the storms to spin counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere, according to NOAA.

—Chris Aadland

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