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

As Hurricane Dorian gains strength and moves closer to Florida, these terms will come in handy

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

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 mph. 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 mph. 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.

The video above provides a full breakdown. 

AJC coverage of Hurricane Dorian

» Map: Track Hurricane Dorian’s path

» Georgia counties under a state of emergency

» Georgia officials keep eye on how Dorian will affect Labor Day weekend

» Storm forecast to become a major hurricane later Friday

» South Georgia wary of Dorian: ‘I don’t know if we can stand another one

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