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Day 83 – Q 4. In terms of origin, propagation and impact, differentiate between hurricanes and tornadoes.

4. In terms of origin, propagation and impact, differentiate between hurricanes and tornadoes.

उत्पत्ति, प्रसार और प्रभाव के संदर्भ में, तूफान और बवंडर के बीच अंतर स्थापित करें।


Hurricanes and tornadoes are extreme weather events caused due to the creation of extreme low-pressure regions and strong winds circulated because of pressure gradient created.


Both the weather events are spins like a top around a fixed point in the center. Both are storms with strong winds that swirl around and around and are very destructive. Though, both are very similar, there are certain features differentiating both.

In terms of Origin:

  • Hurricanes originates over moisture rich region typically over pacific-ocean. It starts as a wave of low-pressure air and derives its energy from the warm ocean waters.
  • Tornadoes on the other hand called as twisters form over land which produce powerful updrafts of wind that twist as they rise.

In terms of Propagation:

  • Speed: the strongest tornadoes can have wind speeds over 200 mph, but even the strongest hurricanes rarely produce wind speeds around 100 mph. 
  • Size: The largest tornado every observed was 4 km wide, but most tornadoes are about 0.8 km wide. Hurricanes are much larger, ranging from about 160 km to 1600 km wide.
  • Life cycles: A tornado’s lifetime is short, ranging from a few seconds to a few hours. A hurricane’s life cycle can last from days to weeks.

In terms of Impact:

Tornadoes tends to be more destructive than hurricanes for the reasons

  • Speed of tornadoes are typically high than hurricanes
  • As tornadoes originate and propagate over land, the destruction level on ground is high.
  • As the size of tornado is small, the destruction intensity is higher.

The impact of hurricane is more seen in the coastal regions when compared to tornadoes, whose impact is majorly seen in hinterland.

Table for reference:

TLP Phase 1 – Day 83 Synopsis

TLP Phase 1 – Day 83 Synopsis


Very often, Hurricanes after making a landfall spawn tornado. The changing climate is believed to be resulting in more frequent and more destructive and is a cause of concern.

Additional information: take this as an opportunity to know differences between tornado ad cyclone as well.

Differences between Tornado and cyclone

DefinitionA tornado is a rotating column of air ranging in width from a few yards to more than a mile and whirling at destructively high speeds, usually accompanied by a funnel-shaped downward extension of a cumulonimbus cloud. Winds 40-300+ mph.A cyclone is an atmospheric system of rapidly circulating air massed about a low-pressure centre, usually accompanied by stormy often destructive weather. Storms that begin in the Southern Pacific are called cyclones 
RotationClockwise in the southern hemisphere and counter clockwise in the northern hemisphereClockwise in the southern hemisphere and counter clockwise in the northern hemisphere.
Forms of precipitationrainRain, sleet, and hail
FrequencyThe United States records about 1200 tornadoes per year, whereas the Netherlands records the highest number of tornadoes per area compared to other countries. Tornadoes occur commonly in spring and the fall season and are less common in winters10-14 per year
LocationTornados have been spotted in all continents except AntarcticaSouthern Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean. Cyclones in the northwest Pacific that reach (exceed) 74 mph are “typhoons”.
OccurrencePlaces where cold and warm fronts converge. Can be just almost anywhere.warm areas

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