Cyclone hits Myanmar

On May 2nd, a huge cyclone, Nargis, struck Myanmar. The cyclone brought winds with speeds of 120mph (190kph) and created waves of water that were over 12 feet (3.5 meters) tall. The cyclone has destroyed a large number of homes and crops. It has already killed more than 20,000 people, and the final count could be much higher.

Myanmar was known as Burma until 1989. Its capital is Yangon (previously known as Rangoon). It is one of the larger countries of the region known as South East Asia – some other countries in that region are Malaysia, Indonesia,Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Almost 90% of Myanmar’s population follows Buddhism, a religion that does not promote any single god but instead tries to define a happy way of life.

Cyclones are very large storms with winds swirling around at a very fast speed. The center of the storm is called the “eye” of the storm , and is actually quite a calm area. The wind rotates around the eye of the storm in one direction, causing a large amount of water to pile up at  the center. This water (called a tidal surge) is carried by the storm and is eventually dumped on land causing a lot of flooding.

What’s the difference between cyclones, hurricanes, and typhoons? Not much! They are all the same type of storm – the only difference is what part of the world the storm strikes. In Australia and the Indian Ocean, they are called cyclones. In the Western Pacific Ocean, they are called typhoons. In the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Eastern Pacific Ocean, they are called hurricanes.