Tropical cyclones, also called typhoons and hurricanes, usually occur at predictable times of year in distinct parts of the world:
It’s difficult to accurately predict where, when and at what strength a tropical cyclone will strike, as they often veer off-course, change their tracking speed and intensify or weaken quite suddenly.It is advisable to should follow local advice which in some cases may be to leave the immediate area if a storm is heading your way.
If you are in a cyclone region during the tropical cyclone season:
Tropical cyclones can seriously damage and disrupt a country’s infrastructure. It may take time for airports to re-open, and there may be serious shortages of accommodation, food, water and health facilities.
Our ability to help British nationals may be limited (perhaps severely) in these circumstances.
In the event of a tropical cyclone, local governments may set up emergency shelters, but these are primarily for the local population and conditions are normally basic.
The FCO would only advise against travel to an area or region if it was considered that the risks of travel there were too high.
A number of factors are used to reach this decision. Our travel advice will be regularly updated with the latest information of a tropical cyclone as it passes over a populated area.
The Met Office provide us with detailed reporting on severe weather systems around the world. In June 2007 they stated that there was a 70% chance that between seven and thirteen named tropical storms or hurricanes would affect the Atlantic/Caribbean region in 2007, with ten being the most likely number. The actual number of named tropical storms or hurricanes was twelve. In June 2008 they stated that there was as a 70% chance that between ten and twenty named tropical storms or hurricanes would affect the same region in 2008, with fifteen being the most likely number.
There is no difference. Hurricanes and typhoons are regionally specific names for a severe tropical cyclone.
Wind speed is used to categorise a tropical cyclone:
In the Atlantic/Caribbean region hurricanes can cause massive amounts of damage and kill many people. 2005 was a record year for both the number and the force of hurricanes in this region,while 2006 was relatively quiet. There were twelve named hurricanes in 2007.
The most violent hurricanes to affect the Atlantic/Caribbean region since 2004 have all wreaked widespread havoc, caused billions of pounds in damage to infrastructure and resulted in hundreds of fatalities.
Many British holidaymakers in the region were caught up in the disasters, and some British nationals were killed and seriously injured.
In the Indian Ocean region cyclones can cause as much damage and destruction as hurricanes because of the similar fragile nature of buildings and infrastructure.
Typhoons of a similar strength to hurricanes and cyclones often cause far less destruction because of the more resilient buildings and infrastructure found in countries such as Japan and South Korea.