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What is a tropical cyclone?

A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, strong and high speed winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain. Depending on its strength and location, a tropical cyclone is referred to by different names, including hurricane, typhoon, tropical storm, tropical depression, cyclonic storm,  and simply cyclone. A hurricane is a tropical cyclone that occurs in the Atlantic Ocean and northeastern Pacific Ocean, and a typhoon occurs in the northwestern Pacific Ocean; while in the south Pacific or Indian Ocean, comparable storms are referred to simply as “tropical cyclones” or “severe cyclonic storms”.