What is a hurricane? How is it different from a typhoon?

Both of these names apply to great tropical storms that begin in the oceans near the Equator, that is, in all the great oceans except the South Atlantic. Such storms in the West Indies are called hurricanes from the Carib Indian name for them. In the China Sea and the East Indies they are called typhoons; in the Indian Ocean, cyclones; and in Australian waters, willy-willies.
Such storms usually blow up in the autumn; the wind, which has a speed of more than 110 kilometres, is often accompanied by thunder, lightning and rain. Before the days of steamships, sailors used to look forward with dread to these storms. Often seamen would battle with the elements for days together. The sails would be torn to shreds by the fury of the wind. Mighty, foaming seas would charge upon the ship like an invading host, beating with terrific force upon the decks, sometimes carrying away the masts. These storms are not such a danger to shipping as they once were, for nowadays steamships are given warning by radio of approaching hurricanes, so that they are often able to get out of the way of the great storms.

Additional reading:
Typhoon (Wikipedia)

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