Cyclones are defined as violent rotating windstorms and can include weather occurrences such as typhoons and hurricanes. Children should understand that cyclones must not be confused with tornadoes. There are several basic facts about cyclones for children to know in order for them to have a basic understanding of these storms.
Where Cyclones Occur
Tropical storms occur in nearly every major ocean across the world. The ocean where the storm takes place determines the type of tropical storm. Cyclones occur in the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and off the coast of Australia. A cyclone that occurs in one of these bodies of water is the same type of storm as a hurricane that occurs in the Atlantic Ocean or a typhoon that happens in the Pacific Ocean. Cyclonic storms spin to the left in the Northern Hemisphere and to the right in the Southern Hemisphere.
Parts of a Cyclone
Each cyclone has three main identifiable parts. Those parts are the eye, the eye wall and cloud chains. The eye of the cyclone is the center of the storm and can be anywhere from six to 60 miles wide. The region of the storm directly around the eye is the eye wall where winds rotate at a fast rate around the eye. Cloud chains are the clouds that form around the outside of the storm. These clouds increase the size of the cyclone.
Measuring a Cyclone
Cyclone intensity is measured and determined by the storm's wind speed, which establishes five different cyclone categories. A category 1 cyclone has winds of up to 80 miles per hour. A category 2 cyclone exhibits destructive winds that can reach speeds of 80 to 100 miles per hour. A category 3 cyclone is a very damaging storm and has wind speeds of 100 to 140 miles per hour. The destructive winds of a category 4 cyclone can move at 140 to 175 miles per hour. The strongest cyclone is a category 5, which can produce winds with speeds of more than 175 miles per hour.
When a meteorologist sees that a cyclone has formed, that storm is given a name. Often, these names follow the alphabet. The name of the season's first storm will begin with the letter "A" and so on, alphabetically. Names are given to the storms in order to help meteorologists issue forecasts and warnings to the people who will be affected by the cyclones.