Hurricane, tropical storm and tropical depression: What’s the difference?

There are a ton of weather terms that might be easy to confuse including hurricanes, tropical depressions and tropical storms. Here’s the difference.

» RELATED: Irma: Tropical storm warning, flash flood watch for metro Atlanta

Tropical depressions form when a low-pressure area is accompanied by thunderstorms that produce maximum winds below 39 miles per hour. 

As for tropical storms, those are more severe. Depressions become storms when  winds reach between 39 and 73 miles per hour. They also must follow a cyclone pattern to become a storm.

Hurricanes are a step up from a tropical storm, with winds of more than 74 miles per hour. Hurricanes are further rated into five categories based on their wind speed:

Category 1: 74-95 mph

Category 2: 96-110 mph

Category 3: 111-129 mph

Category 4: 130-156 mph

Catgeory 5: above 157 mph

However, all three types of storms are fueled by warm, moist air near oceans in tropical areas.

Take a look at the video above for the full breakdown. 

»RELATED: Hurricane Irma shark attacks? Don’t fall for these fake Hurricane Irma videos, hoaxes 

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

X