Severe Weather Series: What’s the Difference Between a Tropical Storm and Hurricane?

Severe Weather Series: What’s the Difference Between a Tropical Storm and Hurricane?


Learn the Difference Between a Tropical Storm
and Hurricane, & How to Prepare Your Property!


When summer comes to an end, it is common for
homeowners in the south to prepare their house and property for the Atlantic
hurricane season. And while New Yorkers are generally spared from the worst of
hurricane season, hurricanes and tropical storms can travel up the coastline
and pose serious threats to people and property.


According to the National
Weather Service
, New York State experienced seven tropical storms
and hurricanes that were deemed significant weather events between 2012 and
2022. With significant weather events on the rise according to NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information,
it’s important for homeowners to understand the forecast and what preparations
to make in the event of severe weather. Continue reading to learn about the
difference between a hurricane and a tropical storm, as well as preparation
tips if your area is affected!


the Difference Between a Hurricane & Tropical Storm?


Meteorologists categorize a tropical storm
based on its maximum sustained wind speed using what is called the Saffir-Simpson
Hurricane Wind Scale (SSHWS)
. Cyclones with wind speeds between 74
to 95 mph are deemed as Category 1 hurricanes, between 96 to 110 mph as
Category 2 hurricanes, between 111 to 129 mph as Category 3 hurricanes, between
130 to 156 mph as Category 4 hurricanes, and 157 mph or higher as Category 5

Any cyclone with maximum winds of 39 to 73 mph
is considered a tropical storm instead of a hurricane. Both can be extremely
dangerous and the difference between a Category 1 hurricane and a tropical
storm is only 1 mph.


What Is
a Major Hurricane?


While any hurricane can present
life-threatening winds, storms that are Category 3 or higher are considered major hurricanes that are capable of inflicting exceptional


What Is
a Tropical Depression?


After a hurricane makes landfall, it will
gradually lose power over time before being downgraded to a tropical storm. If
a tropical storm’s wind speeds fall below 39 mph, it is then considered a tropical depression.


How Can
I Prepare My Home for a Tropical Storm?


Although, New Yorkers may not experience
hurricanes to the same degree that residents of warmer coastal states do, it is
still important to have a plan in the event a tropical storm or
hurricane does make its way to your area. Here are five steps you can take to
prepare for a tropical storm:


Make a Plan: Write down
important phone numbers and locate nearby shelters, as well as multiple
ways to get there.

Gather Supplies: Have an emergency supply kit complete with food,
water, medicine, power sources, important documents, fire extinguisher, clothes, shoes,
blankets, and other items that could benefit you in an emergency.

Prepare Your Home: Secure
any loose items outside your house that could be blown around. Use storm
shutters or board windows to decrease hazards from the possibility of
broken glass. Ensure carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms are

Stay Informed: Tropical
storm and hurricane forecasts can change quickly. Stay up to date on the
latest forecast information so that you are ready in case you need to take

Be Ready to Evacuate or Shelter in Place: Always act in accordance with advice given by authorities
regarding whether you should evacuate your area or shelter in place.


While hurricanes may not be at the top of your
list of worries as a resident of New York, past hurricanes and
tropical storms demonstrate that they can cause serious destruction even in the
northeast. As severe weather events become more common, it’s
best to act proactively as a homeowner to protect what matters most to
you. Click below to contact an agent today to discuss your coverage options!