Facts About Typhoons

By Kristen May; Updated April 24, 2017
Typhoons forming over Japan

Typhoons are a type of cyclone, a low-pressure storm with winds swirling around the center. They commonly occur in Southeast Asia, in countries such as the Phillipines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Malaysia and even as far north as Japan.

Typhoon vs. Hurricane

Beginning of Typhoon

Typhoons and hurricanes are both tropical cyclones. The difference is that typhoons are in the northwest Pacific Ocean, whereas hurricanes are in the north Atlantic, northeast Pacific and south Pacific.


Waves crashing on shore

Typhoons most commonly form during late summer over warm seas before moving west toward land.


Typhoon forming over ocean

The low-pressure center of a typhoon is called an eye. The eye is 10 to 40 miles wide, and winds blow counterclockwise around it.

Wind Speed

Wind blowing palm tree

Winds in typhoons have speeds of at least 74 mph. Just outside the eye of the storm, they reach speeds of 110 mph.


Building destroyed by typhoon

Typhoons bring heavy rain and often devastating winds when they are over land. After large typhoons, extensive cleanup efforts are required to clear debris and rebuild structures.