Weather 101: Tropical storm vs super typhoon
MANILA, Philippines - To the average observer, a tropical storm might not seem so different from a typhoon. Both bring heavy rains and strong winds anyway.
The terminology used by weather forecasters and the media can also be quite confusing. Tropical cyclone, tropical depression, inter-tropical convergence zone – what do they all mean?
Did you know?
- At least 20 tropical cyclones enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) annually.
- Cyclones rotate counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere
A tropical cyclone (known in the Philippines as bagyo) is the generic term for any intense circulating weather system over tropical seas and oceans. A cyclone begins in a low pressure area (LPA) over the ocean when hot air rising from the warm surface of the ocean condenses with surrounding cold air brought by trade winds in an inter-tropical convergence zone (ITCZ). The circulating air creates a vortex and increases in intensity, resulting in strong winds and high waves.
The speed and intensity of the cyclone changes as it moves over water and land. As the intensity changes, so does its classification. When a cyclone forms, it is called a tropical depression. From there, it can intensify into a tropical storm, a typhoon, or a super typhoon.
The type of tropical cyclone does not indicate the level of damage it can cause. A tropical storm like #MarioPH, which caused severe flooding, would not have made that much damage if it decided to skip the Philippines all together. But knowing the various definitions of a tropical depression and a super typhoon could spell the difference between life and death during a disaster. – Rappler.com