Wednesday, April 23 2014, 09:23 AM MDT
Good Question: How does a Super Typhoon compare to Hurricanes?
(KUTV) On the other side of the world Super Typhoon Haiyan is bringing big waves, strong winds and destruction. The pictures look a lot like the aftermath when hurricanes have hit the United States. So, what is the difference between a hurricane and a typhoon?
I took that question to the National Weather Service where meteorologist in charge Larry Dunn says the destruction should look similar.
"There's no difference between a typhoon and a hurricane. It's just a different name for the same exact phenomena," Dunn said.
Dunn says that, meteorologically speaking, both hurricanes and typhoons are really called cyclones. Cyclones in the West Pacific are called typhoons and those in the Atlantic and East Pacific are called hurricanes.
Haiyan is being called a Super Typhoon. What makes it super?
"A super typhoon means that it's a category 4 or 5," Dunn said. "That scale is based on how strong the winds are."
Dunn says that if this storm were hitting the United States, we would call it a category five hurricane which 2News meteorologist Sterling Poulson says can be tough to imagine.
"This super typhoon was above and beyond anything that's happened in the last 60 or 70 years," Sterling said.
Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans in 2005 was only a category three by the time it hit land. And Hurricane Sandy which hit New York and New Jersey was only a category one.
Sterling says don't be fooled by the numbers; There is a lot more to a hurricane's might than just its wind speed. A slow moving and weaker cyclone can cause massive flooding.
"The storm surge was the big problem with Hurricane Sandy," he said.
By comparison, Super Typhoon Haiyan is moving pretty quickly with incredibly strong winds.
"This storm can level buildings and knock down trees and infrastructure with its winds," Dunn said.
By Matt Gephardt
Edited by Amber Monio
Photography by Brian Morris and Kurt Smith
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)