These are storms that go by many names. Scientists call them "tropical cyclones," but they are also known as "typhoons," "severe cyclonic storms" and, of course, "hurricanes." The storm in the image above is Tropical Cyclone Phet, which earlier this week grazed the coast of Oman as it headed towards Pakistan and India. In the North Indian Ocean, the tropical cyclone season lasts from April through December, though storms are rare—only four to six form on average there each year.
The North Atlantic hurricane season—the one you're probably more familiar with—is far more active (an average of 11 storms per year), and this year NOAA has predicted 14 to 23 named storms, with three to seven hurricanes of category 3 strength or greater. The El Niño in the eastern Pacific has dissipated and there are record warm temperatures in the Atlantic right now, making favorable conditions for these powerful storms. Hurricane season started June 1 and lasts through November. If you live anywhere along the U.S. East or Gulf Coasts, you probably should make some plans for what to do if one heads towards you.