Difference Between Tornado and Typhoon

On Earth, various types of weather phenomena take place like cyclones, hurricanes, storms etc. Typhoon and Tornado are part of the weather phenomena. It is very natural and likely occurs due to suitable climatic conditions such as pressure, temperature and moisture. Most weather phenomena occur in the lowest level of the atmosphere, i.e. Troposphere or the Stratosphere. It happens because of the particular angle of a Sun and the latitude in the tropical region.

Tornado vs Typhoon

The main difference between Tornado and Typhoon are that Tornadoes forms on a land surface, whereas Typhoons form on water bodies. The duration of both Typhoon and Tornado matters. For example, Typhoons can last from hours to months, whereas Tornados often last for minutes. Typhoons are very much destructive, killing almost 6000 people per year.

Tornado vs Typhoon

Tornado forms when there is a spinning of air violently, and it has contact between both land surface and with cumulonimbus clouds. Commonly it is referred to by the name twister or whirlwind. The rotating column of air is known as a vortex. Some tornadoes can have multiple vortexes also. There are different types of tornadoes, such as landspout and waterspout. It most frequently occurs in North America.

Typhoons are the more severe form of cyclones, and usually, they occur in the northwest Pacific ocean in the countries like China, Japan, Taiwan, and the Philippines. It occurs in every part of the world but is referred to by different names. Typhoons are hundreds of miles wide and can last up to a month. It is categorised according to the wind speed on a scale of 1 to 5. Windspeed can be up to 157 miles per hour or more.

Comparison Table Between Tornado and Typhoon

Parameter of ComparisonTornadoTyphoon
FormationTornadoes occur on the land surface.Typhoons occur in water bodies.
CategoryTornadoes can be classified into Multiple Vortex, Landspout, and Waterspout.Typhoons are categorised based on their windspeed on the level of 1 to 5.
SizeTornadoes can be 50 to 100 feet long.Typhoons can be up to hundreds of miles.
SeasonIt occurs during the Spring and Summer seasons.It occurs during mid-summer to early rainfall.
AreaTornadoes are most common in North American and European countries.Typhoons are most common in the North-west Pacific Ocean.

What is Tornado?

A tornado is a form of a storm that takes place in the hot and humid areas during the time of Spring and Summer season in the northern hemisphere. There should be a combination of both hot and cold air to form tornadoes. During thunderstorms, tornadoes occur, but it is not necessary that every thunderstorm may result in a tornado. 

Tornadoes form rotating and spinning columns with the help of powerful winds. Vortex can be both horizontal and vertical. A vortex can have multiple vortexes inside it. Tornadoes can be few feet to hundred feet and have a speed of 100 to 200 miles. Usually, tornadoes last from 10 minutes to half an hour. But the longer tornado is, the more destruction it is to cause.

Tornadoes also occur on the water, but they cannot be said as true tornado. It occurs in the tropical countries which are closer to the equator or are at the low latitudes. Tornadoes can be detected with the help of Pulse-Doppler Radar. The scales on which Tornado is measured are Fujita Scale and TORRO Scale. A single storm can produce more than one tornado. But if multiple tornadoes are formed through the same storm, then it is called Tornado Family.


What is Typhoon?

A typhoon is a type of tropical cyclone that develops in the North-West Pacific Region. It is said to be the most active region on earth where typhoons are likely to appear. There are few conditions in which typhoon takes its form: warm sea surface temperatures, atmospheric instability, high humidity, Coriolis effect etc. In the East Pacific region, they are referred to as hurricanes.

There is no fixed season when typhoons will occur. But the strongest and destructive typhoons occur between June and November. Typhoons only form in the water bodies, which are 80 degrees Fahrenheit down to 165 feet of water depth. Some of the deadliest and longest typhoons recorded in history have struck Southern China. The wettest typhoons are mostly recorded in Taiwan.

Typhoons range up to hundreds of miles wide and can have a wind speed of 157 miles per hour. The weakest typhoons are categorised into level 1, having a wind speed of 74 miles per hour. The strongest or deadliest typhoons are categorised into level 5, having a wind speed of 157 miles per hour or more than that.RSMC Tokyo Typhoon Center and Joint Typhoon Warning Center issues the warning of the typhoon in the Pacific region, and Japan has been doing it since 1989.


Main Differences Between Tornado and Typhoon

  1. Tornadoes occur on the land surface and also on water but cannot be truly said as a tornado. Typhoons only occur in water bodies.
  2. Tornadoes can be classified into Multiple Vortex, Landspout and Waterspout. Typhoons are categorised based on their windspeed on the level of 1 to 5 ranging from 70 miles to 160 miles per hour.
  3. Tornadoes can be 50 to 100 feet long. Typhoons can be up to hundreds of miles and 155-170 feet in depth.
  4. A tornado occurs during the Spring and Summer Season. Typhoon usually occurs during mid-summer to early rainfall, but it can occur at any time of the year as well.
  5. Tornadoes are most common in North American and European countries. Typhoons are most common in the North-west Pacific Ocean.
Difference Between Tornado and Typhoon


Both Tornado and Typhoon form the rotating, spiralling wind, and both are caused by the mixture of hot, humid air and cold air in the tropical regions and areas which are low in altitude. In a Tornado funnel, the air is created named Vortex, whereas, in a Typhoon, the air is formed when it comes into contact with water.

Both Tornado and Typhoons are known to be destructive. Typhoons are called by different names in different parts of the world. 

Tornadoes are measured using TORRO and Fujita Scale, while Typhoons are measured using Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale. Depending on the intensity and time it takes to destroy the things tells us about the nature of Tornado and Typhoon.


  1. https://journals.ametsoc.org/view/journals/mwre/128/6/1520-0493_2000_128_1868_tpmsaw_2.0.co_2.xml
  2. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jmsj1965/50/5/50_5_431/_article/-char/ja/

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