Day_192 : What are the differences between cyclones, typhoons, and hurricanes?

The terms cyclone, typhoon, and hurricane all refer to the same meteorological phenomenon but are used in different regions of the world. They describe a large, violent tropical storm system with strong winds and heavy rain. Here are the distinctions:

  1. Cyclone is the term used in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans. The word “cyclone” is also used in a broader sense to refer to any circulating weather system over the ocean characterized by closed isobar patterns and circular wind movement, whether tropical or not. In the Indian Ocean and South Pacific, when the system reaches sustained wind speeds of at least 74 miles per hour, it is called a tropical cyclone.
  2. Typhoon is the name given to these storm systems in the Northwest Pacific Ocean, typically west of the dateline. Like hurricanes and cyclones, a typhoon forms over warm tropical oceans and gains energy. When the sustained winds in this system reach or exceed 74 miles per hour, it is officially referred to as a typhoon.
  3. Hurricane is the term used in the North Atlantic, Central, and Eastern North Pacific oceans. The criteria for being classified as a hurricane are the same as for typhoons and cyclones, with sustained wind speeds of at least 74 miles per hour.

The naming convention is primarily geographical. The structure and behavior of these storms are the same, and they all belong to the category of tropical cyclones. The difference in nomenclature does not imply a difference in the hazard or potential damage these storms can cause, which is primarily dependent on their size, strength, and the area they affect.

A condensed list of references to support the distinctions between cyclones, typhoons, and hurricanes:

  1. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) provides official definitions and classifications for tropical cyclones, typhoons, and hurricanes based on regional basins.
  2. National Hurricane Center (NHC) and Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC): Part of the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), these centers offer detailed information on hurricanes, including the distinctions between hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones.
  3. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) offers insights into cyclones, especially in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean regions, detailing their formation, classification, and impacts.
  4. Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA): Provides information on typhoons, their tracking, and impacts in the Northwest Pacific region.
  5. Indian Meteorological Department (IMD): Offers comprehensive data on cyclones in the Indian Ocean, including classifications and warnings.

These organizations are key in tracking, studying, and providing information on these storm systems worldwide. They use specific criteria for wind speeds, atmospheric pressure, and other factors to classify these storms according to the region they occur in.

Day_166: Interview Report: Hurricane Katrina Response (3)

Date and time
7 May 2006

New Orleans Homeland Security and Public Safety Office
(New Orleans City Office of Homeland Security and Public Safety )

Colonel and Director

Hurricane Katrina Disaster Response

There are three drainage canals in New Orleans. There is also a pump station for each. Since New Orleans is below sea level, water is constantly pumped from these pump stations and drained into Lake Pontchartrain.

The breakwater was corrupted by the storm surge. The water was flowing into the canal from the lake, and at the same time, the pump station had the maximum pressure with the water. The pumps were broken and became not-functioned.

After the hurricane, there was only one evacuation route that crossed the bridge over Mississippi. However, the route had been blocked. These also affected support activities.

<Measures for breakwater>
At present, the Corps of Engineers will set a lock at the entrance of the canal and close them to prevent water from flowing into the canal since this year.

The challenge from this year is the evacuation of West Bank citizens. Because the levees are weak, hurricanes can easily break them.

The levee can be effective this year, but the problem is that in the next two years, the pump station will have insufficient capacity to pump water.

< Future measures of the city >
The following three goals are set as future measures. First, leave no one in the shelter. Second, the city will assist those who have no access to evacuation. Third, improve the safety of city facilities and property before and after the disaster.

Another important point this year is to let all citizens evacuate two days before Hurricane hit. The challenge is the reality that many people would not try to evacuate. As a background, the levee is to be broken, needs to have a terrible situation imagination.

There is a plan to install floodgates in a wide range of wetlands in eastern New Orleans to prevent storm surges.

Political challenge, New Orleans, including the peripheral has originally 100 million people, was an energy supply base, there is a tremendous national influence, the people here have to work.

As a countermeasure, the city has provided a wireless system. The system had been unavailable after the Hurricane.

A radio station in City Hall as a countermeasure against rumors which had become a social issue during Katrina was set up to keep media members staying and unifying the correct information.

Related information

The NIED team went to New Orleans and Missippi coastal areas to investigate.
Characteristics of the 2005 Hurricane Katrina Disasters

The community data center is the best to investigate to grasp the trend by using stats.

Day_161: Interview Report: Hurricane Katrina Response (2)

Date and time
7 May 2006
New Orleans Homeland Security and Public Safety Office
(New Orleans City Office of Homeland Security and Public Safety )

Colonel and Director

Hurricane Katrina Disaster Response



The following situations were going on to make a decision; one is for the residents who have no means to evacuate and do not have the supply transportation means from the city. The other is for the people who have the means to evacuate but do not do that.

Under these circumstances, a federal rescue bus arrived six days later.

The city ​​has been flooded for two days since the water entered New Orleans. Specifically, the city hall had no water shortly after passing the hurricane, but two days later, it was almost breast-high water level inundation.

Picture: New Orleans City Hall (7 May 2006)

<Current Social Situation>

New Orleans was the only city in the United States to lose its school system, the justice system, home, and tax system. This week, the first trial has been held since last August.

In terms of the school system, only 4 out of 140 schools are open.

The water supply system has lost 80 %.

There is a nuclear power plant near New Orleans. Entergy Corporation is the operating company. However, the company was bankrupted. There are only 10 out of 400 staff members at present.

The natural gas pipeline has been damaged, making gas supply impossible. There are these energy supply problems.

As mentioned, the Entergy Corporation, which is supplying the gas, has been bankrupted, the Entergy Corporation has no support measures from the government.

<New Orleans Society and Geographical Background>

Hurricane Katrina is a human-made disaster. Concerning the background, levees were built in the early 1800s and have worked to prevent annual floods. However, the wetlands had been overlooked. In this area, they dug up the route, so this may cause the storm surge, and also oil drilling reduces the wetlands, weakened resistance to hurricanes.

Katrina disaster is also a national issue. The background of southeastern Louisiana, 40 % of the country’s oil is supplied from here. At the same time, 60 percent natural gas supply of the country is from here. Also, it has 135 chemical and petroleum refineries along the Mississippi River. These are unlikely to create a similar zone in the United States, where environmental pollution becomes a social problem. The Port of New Orleans (New Orleans harbor) can have the giant scale oil tanker in the port. Moreover, the New Orleans area is also a freight rail hub.

To be continued…

Day_160: Interview Report: Hurricane Katrina Response (1)

Now I am digging up my past experience. The report is a part of the project.

The below past article can be checked for your reference.


Date and time
7 May 2006

New Orleans Homeland Security and Public Safety Office
(New Orleans City Office of Homeland Security and Public Safety )

Colonel and Director

Hurricane Katrina Disaster Response


< Work >
The interviewee: Responsible for the Police, fire, EMS (emergency medical services),
and crisis management of cooperation with state, federal and city

< The lessons of Katrina >
The lesson learned is, “We can not rely on external resources. Without relying on the federal (country) government, each person should think they need to protect themselves.” (This is the interview record.)

<Hurricane Katrina-What Happened>
Before Friday (8/26), all the state government was setting evacuation preparation. FEMA staff deployed throughout the city. Eighty percent of citizens evacuated on their own, but many of the rest were unable to evacuate with no means.

The city, about 15,000 civilians, were provided transportation means to be saved in the shelter. Besides, before hurricane landfall on Sunday(8/28), the people in the city who can not evacuate evacuated to Super Dome.

Since the federal government does not permit having a shelter in New Orleans, New Orleans is the only city ​​in the U.S. that does not have a shelter. The Federation and the Red Cross had considered the situation as a dangerous task because of this.

When the hurricane comes, Super Dome became a temporary shelter.

Picture: New Orleans City Hall (on 7 May 2006)

After the hurricane, we had a tough week. After all, approximately 700 people of citizens lost their lives.

Day_103 : New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina in 2005

Day_100 indicated a human suffering exacerbation process in New Orleans during the 2005 Hurricane Katrina.

The Figure 1 again shows the relationships between the human suffering exacerbation process and social backgrounds with data. Table 1 also indicates the estimated death numbers in some wards.

Figure 1 Human Suffering Exacerbation Process and Social Background

Table 1 Found Dead Bodies in New Orleans

dead in neworleans

The total views are indicated in the following Figure 2, 3, 4, and Table 2.
Concerning the population change, New Orleans is the one of the decreasing communities in US. For example, rapid urbanization related matters caused environmental degradation before the disaster. Campanella(2004)mentioned New Orleans became not a sustainable, but a survival city. The lower 9th ward, for example, with regard to the ethnicity, we can see the high black and the African American proportion.  With respect to Income, we can also identify the people living in the Lower 9th ward have lower incomes.

Figure 2  Population Change Louisiana( Light Blue ) and New Orleans (Dark Blue)


Figure 3 Percent Black or African American, 2000 (Census, 2000)

pop and ethnicities
Figure 4 Percent Black or African American and White
(Source: Congressional Research Service)

Table 2 People’s Income in both New Orleans and Lower 9th Ward

income katrina

These are referred by an NIED publication.

Day_100 : A Human Suffering Exacerbation-Data from Greater New Orleans Community Data Center

The Greater New Orleans Community Data Center (GNOCDC) website was found after the field survey on Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005. I was so amazed. This is the one of the demographers great contributions to disaster research.

The site provides the information of the pre-Katrina situations by parish and also by ward. This is very useful to examine the social backgrounds of the areas in detail.

gnocdcPrekatrinaFigure 1 GNOCDC (Pre-Katrina data site)

The paper on Karina disaster using these data is to explain how human sufferings were exacerbated by the stage with the social background as shown in Figure 2 (Nakasu, 2006 :Sorry in Japanese, however, summary and figures are in English).

human suffering
Figure 2 Victimization Process

Figure 3
Victimization Process by Stage

Table 1 Found Dead Bodies in New Orleans  

dead in neworleans

The process can be divided into five stages with time such as A) Pre-disaster B) Direct damage C) Social disorder D) Life environment  E) Reconstruction and recovery. Then, these are examined with the social background data (Figure 3).

For example,  1) Pre-disaster stage, I picked up an evacuation aspect to explain the social background of this stage.

Using the GNOCDC database, I could check the possession ratio of the vehicle in some areas.

Figure 4 No Vehicle Available Ratio (GNOCDC)

Table 1 and Figure 4 show the people in Lower 9th ward, one of the most severely affected areas, had a low possession ratio of the vehicle. This can explain so many residents needed to have government help to evacuate and they could not evacuate before the Hurricane hit.

The general social background, such as ethnic groups, household incomes, and others with other stages of examinations will be discussed later.

The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast (English Edition)

Day_77 : Historical trends of the damages caused by natural disasters

The damages caused by natural disasters are from human to economy with the development. This is one of the universal and historical trends in the world and within the countries. Mortality numbers of natural disasters tend to be decreasing with national development, but economic losses are the opposite. This is because of urbanization, science and technology advancement, asset values, and so on. This is the same as developing and developed countries’ relationships. Developing countries tend to have high mortality numbers, on the other hand, developed countries are inclined to have high economic losses.

The following tables (little bit old, sorry) which I used to research on Hurricane Katrina in 2005. What you can say about these?



Yes, table 1 indicates almost all high mortality numbers hurricane disasters in the United States are before 1960. On the contrary, table 2 shows almost all high-cost hurricane disasters are after 2000.

sponsored link

Day_16 : GNOCDC

The Greater New Orleans Community Data Center (GNOCDC) website was found after the field survey on Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005. I was so amazed. This is one of the demographer’s great contributions to disaster research.
The site has the following:

The site provides information on pre-Katrina situations in a parish. This is very useful to examine the social backgrounds of the areas in detail.
I wrote the paper by using these data to explain how human suffering was exacerbated by social backgrounds (sorry in Japanese; however, the summary and figures are in English).