Saturday, January 22, 2011

Stormy Weather

Sarah asked about the names that we give to major storms. Among other things, she wondered about the difference between a hurricane and a typhoon. The Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory indicates that winds which surpass 74 miles per hour are named by their location:

  • "hurricane (the North Atlantic Ocean, the Northeast Pacific Ocean east of the dateline, or the South Pacific Ocean east of 160E)
  • typhoon (the Northwest Pacific Ocean west of the dateline)
  • severe tropical cyclone (the Southwest Pacific Ocean west of 160E or Southeast Indian Ocean east of 90E)
  • severe cyclonic storm (the North Indian Ocean)
  • tropical cyclone (the Southwest Indian Ocean)”


The etymologies of the words that we use to designate violent storms are interesting.

  • cyclone: from the Greek κύκλος circle (or κυκλῶν moving in a circle, whirling round).
  • hurricane: from the Carib word variously given as huracan and furacan.
  • tornado: may have resulted from a misspelling of the Spanish tronada, ‘thunderstorm,’ modified to reflect the Spanish tornar to turn or return, in order to emphasize the turning winds.
  • typhoon: the Oxford English Dictionary suggests an amalgam of sources leading to different versions: (1) the Urdu ṭūfān, a violent storm of wind and rain; (2) the Arabic ṭāfa, to turn round; (3) the Greek τῡϕῶν, typhon; (4) and the Chinese tai fung, big wind.


SIDEBAR: Stormy Weather



Available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition


Check out Mike's program-based books here:
Arbutus Press
or at Amazon.com



Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now.

There is a collection of podcasts. Go to wtcmradio.com and click on Podcasts. Scroll down The Ron Jolly Show to find the Words to the Wise audio button.


Visit The Senior Corner at seniors.tcnet.org


Labels: , , ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Dona Sheehan's prints