Interesting, bilby. That kind of confirms my suspicion, that hurricane is less scary-sounding to those who call them cyclones, and vice versa. Hmm.
On the other hand, there are lots of "fun" things called hurricanes in the U.S. Most notably a sickly-sweet drink called a hurricane that New Orleans' French Quarter used to be famous for. (I haven't been back since Katrina so I don't know if they're still served. They were considered a tourist drink anyway.)
Funny about the carnival rides. Whizzy-up-your-breakfast carnival rides in Australia tend to be called hurricane, perhaps because cyclone is a bit sensitive. Numerous Australian cities have been devastated by cyclones, most notably Darwin in 1974 when 70% of houses were destroyed and 66 people were killed.
I do think of a carnival ride, as trivet said, when I hear "cyclone." Not that there aren't carnival rides called "Hurricane" (I can think of at least one).
To me, typhoon, just going on the sound/feel of the word, sounds less dangerous than either cyclone or hurricane. When I was little, I always thought cyclones and tornados were the same, instead of cyclones and hurricanes. *shrugs*
I agree that they don't get the coverage they often deserve, but I disagree it's because of what they're called. I think it's because the American media tend to reflect what most American people (not all) want to see on the news—i.e. not foreign stories (unless they affect America).
I remember when I lived in Australia being surprised (I was very young) that I heard news not just of the United States but countries around the world; in direct contrast to when I got home, and couldn't really get any news of Australia. Even when I was looking for it.
This was pre-Internet and pre-streaming, and pre-24-hour-news-cycle, though. And I think the situation is very different now. Living in the U.S. and looking for news of other countries (especially if you are connected), you can find it. But if you're not looking... well...
With all due respect, ptero, while I'm sure it's true that some Americans may not know that cyclones, typhoons, and hurricanes are similar, many of us do know. And I'm not sure that has so much to do with what level of coverage such storms get (news cycles being so fickle), although that's an interesting point.
I suspect that cyclones and typhoons would get more press in the US if they were called hurricanes, because I really think that Americans don't understand that these different words refer to the same sort of storm.