2013-08-27    Typhoons, hurricanes and cyclones

In Hong Kong we say "typhoon" ('big wind"). In the US they say "hurricane". In Australia they say "cyclone". But all three names mean the same thing: a storm with strong wind and heavy rain, spinning like a top. The only difference is that a storm which begins north of the equator rotates clockwise, while a storm which begins south of the equator rotates anticlockwise

Typhoons are usually more powerful than cyclones and hurricanes. The strongest ever cyclone was Zoe in 2002 which had winds with a speed of 150mph. The strongest ever hurricane was Wilma in 2005 whose winds reached 185 mph. Both of these were surpassed by Typhoon Tip in 1979 whose winds clocked 300 mph!

Because of global warming, typhoons, hurricanes and cyclones are becoming stronger and doing more damage. But most governments are still not taking global warming seriously.

Hong Kong has Typhoon Signals 1, 3, 8 and 10. In the US and Australia they have Category 1 to Category 5.  China uses four colours: blue (wind strength 6-8), yellow (8-10), orange (10-12) and red (12-14). All schools, primary and secondary, close for the yellow signal. Someone told me that a recent typhoon in China caused a "number 17" warning! If you have any information about this, please email english@mingpao.com to help me understand what "No. 17" means.