| Share

International Cyclone Definitions

Hurricanes, Typhoons, and More

A “tropical cyclone” is the generic term for a giant whirlwind with storm activity surrounding a low-pressure center over tropical or subtropical waters. The terms “hurricane” and “typhoon” are regionally specific names for strong tropical cyclones. While the categories used don't match exactly, the following table is a rough guide for comparing the names given to storms in different parts of the world.

U.S. nameU.S. Saffir-
Category Scale
Arabian Sea/
Bay of
SW Indian
(East of
Tropical DepressionTropical DepressionDepression or Severe DepressionTropical DepressionTropical DepressionTropical Low
Tropical StormTropical StormCyclonic StormModerate Tropical StormTropical Cyclone (Gale)Tropical Cyclone1
Tropical StormSevere Tropical StormSevere Cyclonic StormSevere Tropical StormTropical Cyclone (Storm)Tropical Cyclone2
Hurricane1TyphoonVery Severe Cyclonic StormTropical CycloneHurricaneSevere Tropical Cyclone3
Hurricane/Major Hurricane2–3TyphoonVery Severe Cyclonic StormIntense Tropical CycloneHurricaneSevere Tropical Cyclone4
Major Hurricane4–5Typhoon/ Super TyphoonSuper Cyclonic StormVery Intense Tropical CycloneHurricaneSevere Tropical Cyclone5
Source: Commonwealth of Australia, Bureau of Meteorology.

Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

Lightning DangersWeather

More on International Cyclone Definitions from Infoplease:

  • Weather - Infoplease is the world's largest free reference site. Facts on weather, space, astronomy, explorations, inventions, aviation, computers, science, and the Internet.
  • Hurricane Season - Find 2013 hurricane season predictions and a review of previous hurricane seasons, including storm names, strength, and cost.

Premium Partner Content
HighBeam Research
Documents Images and Maps Reference
(from Newspapers, Magazines, Journals, Newswires, Transcripts and Books)

Research our extensive archive of more than 80 million articles from 6,500 publications.

Additional search results provided by HighBeam Research, LLC. © Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

24 X 7

Private Tutor

Click Here for Details
24 x 7 Tutor Availability
Unlimited Online Tutoring
1-on-1 Tutoring