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 disturbance: forms over waters of at least (80F). It is an area of organized thunderstorm activity 100 - 300 miles in diameter which maintains its identity for 24 hours or more, and it's in the lower levels of the atmosphere (surface). If the disturbance acquires a spin, and winds of at least 30 mph. It is now called a tropical depression.
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Tropical depressions form when a low-pressure area is accompanied by thunderstorms that produce maximum winds below 39 mph.
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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
Category 5: above 157 mph
Trees bend in the tropical storm wind along North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard in 2017 (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
However, all three types of storms are fueled by warm, moist air near oceans in tropical areas.
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