Difference Between Hurricane and Typhoon

Main Difference – Hurricane vs Typhoon

Both hurricane and typhoon can be roughly defined as tropical cyclones. A tropical cyclone is a localized, very intense low-pressure wind system, forming over tropical oceans and with winds of hurricane force. The only difference between hurricane and typhoon, however, is their location; the term typhoon is used for a storm in the Northwest Pacific whereas the term hurricane is used for a storm in the Atlantic and northeast Pacific. Thus, both hurricane and typhoon refer to the same weather phenomenon.

This article explains,

1. What is a Hurricane? –  location, Features, and Characteristics  

2. What is a Typhoon?  –  location, Features, and Characteristics  

3. What is the difference between Hurricane and Typhoon?

Difference Between Hurricane and Typhoon - Hurricane vs Typhoon Comparison Summary

What is a Hurricane

The term hurricane refers to tropical cyclones that affect the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Eastern Pacific Ocean. A storm with 74 mph (64 knots) or higher sustained winds are usually termed as tropical cyclone or hurricane. If the tropical cyclone sustains winds of 111 mph or higher and corresponds to a Category 3, 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, it is termed as a major hurricane or intense hurricane.

Hurricanes are not as common as typhoons. Only 6-10 cyclones reach the magnitude of hurricanes every year. Hurricanes are common in the month of June through November. Great Galveston hurricane, hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, hurricane Mitch, hurricane Ike are some of the most destructive and deadly typhoons the world has ever experienced.

Main Difference - Hurricane vs Typhoon

Destruction caused by a hurricane

What is a Typhoon

A typhoon is a mature tropical cyclone that develops in the Northwest Pacific Ocean (between 180° and 100°E). This region, known as the North-western Pacific Basin, is the most active tropical cyclone basin on Earth. It accounts for almost one-third of the world’s annual tropical cyclones. When the wind speeds of the typhoon reach 150 mph or higher, it is termed as super typhoon. Typhoons are experienced by locations such as the Philippines, the coast of China or Japan.

Typhoons are more common than hurricanes due to the very large expanse of warm, tropical ocean in the western Pacific and other global atmospheric patterns. Every year, about 25 to 30 storms rise to the status of typhoon every year.

Typhoon Haiyan, typhoon Nina, typhoon Vera, typhoon Bopha, and typhoon Fengshe are some of the strongest and deadliest typhoons the world has ever experienced.

Difference Between Hurricane and Typhoon

Typhoon Haitang

Difference Between Hurricane and Typhoon


Hurricane is a tropical cyclone that affects the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific.

Typhoon is a mature tropical cyclone that develops in the Northwest Pacific Ocean.

Average number per year

Hurricanes are less common than tycoons; there are 6-10 hurricanes annually.

Typhoons are more common than hurricanes; there are 25 to 30 typhoons annually.


Hurricane season is known to be from June to November.

Typhoon season in the western Pacific Ocean is from May to October.

Image Courtesy: 

“Typhoon Haitang 7-15-2005 1402 UTC” (Public Domain) via

“Katrina-14588″ By Mark Wolfe – from the FEMA Photo Library. (Public Domain) via  

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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