Get the facts right. Determine the difference between these 3 terms and here’s the answer.
A hurricane is a tropical cyclone. Simply put:
Hurricane = Cyclone
What is a Hurricane = Cyclone
A tropical cyclone is a storm system characterized by a low pressure center and numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and flooding rain. A tropical cyclone feeds on heat released when moist air rises, resulting in condensation of water vapour contained in the moist air. They are fueled by a different heat mechanism than other cyclonic windstorms such as nor’easters, European windstorms, and polar lows, leading to their classification as “warm core” storm systems.
What is a tornado
A tornado is a violently rotating column of air which is in contact with both the surface of the earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud. Tornadoes come in many sizes but are typically in the form of a visible condensation funnel, whose narrow end touches the earth and is often encircled by a cloud of debris.
Differences Between Tornado and Cyclone
|Size||Has a diameter on the scale of hundreds of meters||Has a diameter on the scale of hundreds of kilometers|
|How are they formed||Produced from a single convective storm (i.e. a thunderstorm or cumulonimbus cloud)||Comprised of several to dozens of convective storms|
|Required Condition||require substantial vertical shear of the horizontal winds to provide ideal conditions for tornado genesis, and usua;;y happens in regions of large temperature gradient||Require very low values of tropospheric vertical shear in order to form and grow, and generated in regions of near zero horizontal temperature gradient|
|Appears on||Primarily an over-land phenomenon, as solar heating of the land surface usually contributes toward the development of the thunderstorm that spawns the vortex, although over-water tornadoes have occurred||Purely an oceanic phenomena. They die out over land due to a loss of a moisture source|
|Lifetime||Usually dies out in minutes||Can last for a few days|
Sarena B. says
This was very helpful! I was looking up the tornado of May 27, 1896 in Illinois and two sites said that it was not a tornado, but a cyclone. This site helped me understand the difference.
– Sarena Bee
Jim F (The Tin Man) says
The important historical question then becomes this —
Was it a cyclone or a tornado that Dorothy and Toto experienced in Kansas way back when…..
IT was a cyclone random person.
Thanks a lot for the useful and informative article. I was really confused about the differences between tornadoes and cyclones.. but this was useful
Thanks for this useful information about the differences between the tornado and cyclone .
this was very useful to me.thanks once again.
Thanks David for the thorough description of the various differences, you site has concluded my search. Thanks again.
PS: it was a tornado from the above description, that Dorothy and Toto experienced in Kansas in answer to Jim ‘s question.
Being in Australia, we get a quite a few Cyclones a year ranging from Northern Western Australia to far North Queensland.
From news coverage from the United States one gets the impression that Tornados are very destructive, so I have often wondered what is the difference between a Tornado or a Cyclone?
I’ll take a Tornado any day. Thank you for the information, your site and explanations are a lot more helpful than other sites I have visited for answers.
Super Anon says
Purely an oceanic phenomena. They die out over land due to a loss of a moisture source. Read the article. It was a tornado.
Paul from Australia. I’m not sure what you find so inviting about tornadoes. They kill hundreds every year and cause damage in the billions. Are you in construction or maybe a roofer eh?