Super Typhoon Versus Major Hurricane

October 15, 2010; 2:08 PM
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Typhoon Megi is expected to eventually strengthen into a super typhoon prior to slamming into the Philippines. So is a super typhoon the same as a major hurricane? The answer is yes and no.

Just like the birth of a hurricane in the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific, a tropical storm in the Western Pacific will become a typhoon once its maximum sustained winds increase to 74 mph. However, the basins deviate when it comes to classifying major hurricanes and super typhoons.

A major hurricane is named such when a hurricane reaches Category 3 status with maximum sustained winds of at least 111 mph. However, the Western Pacific basin waits until winds within a typhoon increase to 150 mph (the equivalent of a strong Category 4 hurricane) to label it a super typhoon.

Despite not having the same terminology, there is no difference between a super typhoon and a strong Category 4 or Category 5 hurricane in the eyes of Mother Nature. Both threaten to leave significant devastation and loss of life on any land mass they pass over.

Related to the Story:

2010 Hurricane Center

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