Extreme Earth – Tropical Cyclones

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cycloneThere is a lot of confusion between typhoons, hurricanes, tornadoes and cyclones.

The Encyclopedia Britannica for Kids sets the scene:

“A tropical cyclone is a circular storm that forms over warm oceans. When a tropical cyclone hits land, it brings heavy rains and strong winds. The winds can destroy buildings and rip out trees by their roots.

Tropical cyclones have different names around the world. Those that form near North America and the Caribbean are called hurricanes. Those that form near the PhilippinesJapan, and China are known as typhoons. Those near Australia and in the Indian Ocean are often called cyclones.”


Weather WizKids – This site asks What is a hurricane? In addition, it gives lots of information and good animations to show how storm surges occur which is something children in the UK will be unaware of. It also gives information about current and past storms.

TeAchnology – Offers an account of the difference between Hurricanes and Tornadoes for teachers. There are also hurricane and tornado teaching worksheets and some lesson plans for use with the Extreme Earth topic.

National Geographic for Kids – Shares Ten Facts about Hurricanes with a great slideshow of photographs.


Weather for Kids – Shares information on tornadoes.

Ducksters – This site deals with where tornadoes come from, their characteristics, types, geography and more.

Weather WizKids – Asks ‘What is a tornado?’ It also talks about funnel clouds, supercell thunderstorms, mesocyclones, microbursts, wall clouds, water spouts and hail! More types of tornadoes are explained too. This site gives the Fujita wind speed chat and says what may happen in a tornado of that intensity. In addition, there are lots of tornado activities and safety tips, as well as project ideas.

Easy Science for Kids – Offers a page about tornadoes,  including real video footage.