A cyclone is formed when a system of winds moving in circular motion closes in toward an area of the sea with low atmospheric pressure. The formation of cyclones occurs in four stages including formative, immature cyclone, mature cyclone and decay stage. Cyclones usually form in the eastern Pacific Ocean, southern Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. A cyclone is usually accompanied by thunderstorms.
All coastal areas in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico are susceptible to cyclones. Some parts of the southwest United States experience thunderstorms and floods every year as a result of cyclones spawned off the Gulf of Mexico.
A cyclone may also be called a hurricane or typhoon depending on its place of occurrence. If it occurs in the Atlantic and North Pacific, it is referred to as a hurricane, and if it occurs in the Northwest Pacific, it is called a typhoon. Cyclones can cause extensive damage to coastal areas and miles inland. The powerful weather phenomenon can generate wind speeds of more than 155 miles per hour, in addition to microbursts and tornadoes.
The storm surges created by hurricanes can also cause catastrophic damage due to heavy rainfall. Notable destructive results of the strong winds include flying debris and floods.