Tropical cyclones (hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones) are major storms that can wreak havoc, inflict casualties, ruin infrastructure and severely disrupt travel.

They are generally referred to differently depending on where in the world they occur.

  • Hurricane: Atlantic Ocean and north-east Pacific Ocean
  • Typhoon: north-west Pacific Ocean
  • Cyclone: south Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean

They usually arise over large bodies of warm water, especially in the tropics and can move towards shores and inland where they eventually lose energy and die away, although they can still cause very heavy rainfall inland, even when they are not as powerful as when on the coast.

They can produce high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surges and tornadoes, causing extensive damage and casualties. They are also often seasonal.

Monsoons are also seasonal and bring periods of heavy rainfall, often on a fairly regular basis in parts of the world such as South Asia. The rainfall is vital to ecosystems, biodiversity

Countries affected by tropical cyclones and monsoons:

  • Antigua and Barbuda (June to November)
  • Australia (November to April)
  • Bahamas (June to November)
  • Bangladesh (also suffers Monsoonal rains from June to October)
  • Barbados (June to October, although they are less frequent than other parts of the Caribbean)
  • Belize (June to November)
  • Cambodia (also suffers Monsoonal rains from June to November)
  • China (frequently along the southern and eastern coasts, especially from May to November)
  • Comoros (occasional from November to May)
  • Costa Rica (May to November)
  • Cuba (June to November)
  • DPRK (occasional, from July to August/September)
  • Djibouti (occasional, usually from May to December, especially October to December, if they occur)
  • Dominica (June to November)
  • Dominican Republic (June to November)
  • El Salvador (June to November)
  • Fiji (November to April)
  • Grenada (June to November)
  • Guatemala (on the Caribbean coast from June to November)
  • Haiti (June to November)
  • Honduras (on the Caribbean coast from June to November)
  • India (usually between April to December, especially from May to November)
  • Indonesia (usually heavy rains rather than destructive typhoons, from June to September in the south and east; December to March in the north-west)
  • Iran (very rare along the coast)
  • Jamaica (June to November)
  • Japan (especially from June to December)
  • Kiribati (a risk all year, but especially from November to April)
  • Madagascar (especially from November to April)
  • Malaysia (usually heavy monsoonal rains rather than destructive typhoons, from April to October in the south-west and from October to February in the north-east)
  • Marshall Islands (especially from May to November)
  • Mauritius (especially November to May)
  • Mexico (on the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean coasts, especially between November and May)
  • Micronesia (all year, but especially between July and November)
  • Mozambique (especially in central and southern provinces from November to April)
  • Myanmar (particularly a risk from June to September)
  • New Zealand (very occasional, most likely between November and April)
  • Nicaragua (May to November)
  • Oman (monsoonal conditions from May to September in the south)
  • Pakistan (heavy rain from July to August)
  • Palau (June to December)
  • Panama (May to January)
  • Philippines (mostly from June to December)
  • Samoa (mostly from November to April)
  • Singapore (usually heavy rain rather than destructive cyclones, from December to March and June to September)
  • Solomon Islands (especially from November to May)
  • South Africa (uncommon, sometimes from November to April)
  • South Korea (from June to November)
  • Sri Lanka (occasional, from May to September)
  • St Kitts and Nevis (from July to October)
  • St Lucia (June to December)
  • St Vincent (May to November)
  • Taiwan (May to November)
  • Thailand (usually from May to September)
  • Timor-Leste (occasional from December to April)
  • Tonga (can occur all year but usually from October to April)
  • Trinidad and Tobago (outside the hurricane belt but still occasionally subject to storms, especially from June to December)
  • United States (along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts from June to November)
  • Vanuatu (November to May)
  • Venezuela (occasional, especially from June to December)
  • Vietnam (monsoon from May to September)

The best advice is to avoid these countries and/or their affected areas during the seasons of higher risk, but if you are required to be there at these times, bear in mind that infrastructure may be damaged, transportation may be subject to disruption, emergency services may be stretched, criminality and political unrest may even become more of a problem if opportunists try to take advantage of a distracted police force or if residents decide to protest against government inaction on dealing with the problem. Drinking water and food distribution can be affected while medical care can be severely limited.

Tropical storms
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