Q: What is the difference between a hurricane and a typhoon?

A: The storms themselves are actually the same, according to the National Ocean Service, with the locations determining which word is used.

In the U.S., we see hurricanes hit the East Coast as well as Caribbean nations each year, like Hurricane Florence, which hit the coast of North and South Carolina in September.

Typhoons, on the other hand, are the same type of weather event, but instead they batter island nations and shorelines in the Northwest Pacific Ocean like the Philippines, which was devastated by a typhoon in September.

Hurricanes and typhoons are both tropical cyclones, characterized as “a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originated over tropical or subtropical waters and has closed, low-level circulation,” the Ocean Service said.

— Shelley K. Mesch

Capital W: Plug in to Wisconsin politics

Subscribe to our Politics email!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Send questions to: justaskus@madison.com; Just Ask Us, P.O. Box 8058, Madison, WI 53708.


Shelley K. Mesch is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. She earned a degree in journalism from DePaul University.