Difference Between Tornado and Cyclone


Main Difference

Cyclone and Tornado both are the terms used for the uneven weather condition and mostly refer towards the storm causing destruction. Theses both terms are thought to be the same because of the correlation among terminologies, but they are different from each other. The major difference between a cyclone and tornado is by the region and geographical area in which they occur. Tornados are referred as the dense, heavy rotating column of the air ranging from earth surface to the clouds, whereas cyclone is meteorology term that is used specifically for the air mass that rotates clockwise around the center which as low atmospheric pressure.

Comparison Chart

DefinitionTornado is the term used for the heavy rotating air columns that range from earth surface to the clouds.The cyclone is the meteorology term used for the rotating air mass around the center of low atmospheric pressure.
LocationUsually in the area where cold breeze meat the warm wind i.e. US Midwest, Netherlands, etc.In the southern Pacific region and the Indian Ocean. Mostly in the tropical areas and islands.
IntensityCyclones have more swear intensity as they have more speed than tornadoes.Tornadoes usually have low intensity than cyclones but can touch to an extreme level at times.
SpeedUsually, 110 miles per hour but can be 300 miles per hour in extreme conditions.Normally more than 300 miles per hour and can be more extreme in worse weather conditions.
AffectsIt can cause swear destruction due to extreme intensity.Cyclones can be massively destructive and can cause be worse depending on intensity.
Frequency1200 tornados are averagely seen in America only. Netherlands is the country with most tornadoes in a year.10 to 14 cyclones per year on average.

What is Tornado?

Tornado is the term used for the destructive rotating air column that ranges from the surface of the earth and touches the clouds. Tornadoes are quite common in America and its neighboring countries. Tornadoes vary in size and intensity. A lot depends upon the flow of air and atmospheric pressure changing regularly. Tornadoes are not crystal clear but are dense due to the garbage and dust in them and can be easily seen. In other words, we can define tornado as a rotating column of air that touches the clouds from the earth surface. Tornadoes are regarded as uneven weather conditions and often are referred as storm by people. They are commonly seen in the spring and early summer and early autumn season. Tornadoes are not likely to be seen in the winters. According to the latest survey America most probably have more than 1200 tornadoes each year ranging in size and strength. Regarding the rest world, Netherlands is the country with most number of tornadoes every year. Normally average tornadoes have a wind speed of 110 miles per hour and travel 80 meters across in width. The most destructive and high-intensity tornados may have wind speed more than 340 miles per hour and can more 3 km wide in the diameter and can cause massive destruction. Tornadoes are often referred as cyclones, twisters, and whirlwinds by the people suffering and living in that area. Tornadoes are classified into different types by their intensity and destructive. Famous types are fire whirls, dust devil, and gustnado and steam devil.


What is Cyclone?

The cyclone is the meteorology term used by the scientists and weather forecasters for the heavy air mass rotating around the center of low atmospheric pressure. Cyclones are similar to the tornadoes and hurricanes but yet they are different on the basis or the geographical region. The air mass rotating around the center of low atmospheric pressure in the South Pacific region and the Indian Ocean is referred as a cyclone. Whereas similar sort of air mass is rotating in the northern Pacific and Atlantic ocean is termed as a hurricane. Typhoons are the similar kind of huge rotating air mass that are formed in the northwest of Pacific Ocean. One of the major difference between the Cyclones and the tornadoes is that tornadoes are seen in every part of the world except Antarctica, whereas cyclones are only formed near tropical regions and Pacific islands and oceans. Cyclones more clockwise and counter clockwise in the southern and northern hemisphere respectively.

Tornado vs. Cyclone

  • Tornado is the rotating air column formed due to the massive wind flow and can cause destruction.
  • The cyclone is the meteorology term used for the rotating air mass formed around the center of low atmospheric pressure.
  • Tornadoes are dense and range from earth surface to the clouds.
  • Cyclones are only seen in tropical regions like oceans, near Pacific islands,
  • Tornadoes are seen everywhere except
  • The cyclone is the rotating air mass formed in the South Pacific region and the Indian Ocean.
  • Cyclones usually have more intensity than tornadoes.
  • Both can be very much destructive when they are of extreme intensity.
  • Cyclones and tornadoes both rotate clockwise in the southern hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Northern hemisphere.
  • Tornadoes more commonly occur on the average as compare to cyclones.

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Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson