Are tornadoes and cyclones the same thing?

May 15, 2008 2:33:40 PM PDT
Sometimes, people misuse the term "cyclone" when really they are referring to a tornado.

Erica's Answer:

A tornado is the official term for the severe weather event in which winds, sometimes in excess of 300mph, spiral downward from a severe thunderstorm.

A cyclone is a regional term for what we call a hurricane here in the United States. Cyclones refer to tropical storms in the Indian Ocean that become as strong as a hurricane. Another regional term that you've probably heard is "typhoon". A typhoon is a hurricane in the western Pacific Ocean.

Meteorologists also use the term "cyclone" for any storm with a center of low pressure.

- Erica