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Hurricanes Typhoons and Cyclones

How is a tropical storm different from a hurricane?

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April 03, 2011 5:06PM

While all are large storms of tropical nature, their official storm name has to do with its wind speeds.

When the storms are in their infant stages as just a general area of low pressure that has the potential to strengthen, they're usually given the name "Tropical Depression" It doesn't get a name like "Betty" or "Donald" just yet, instead, it gets a sequential number, like "Tropical Depression 3."

If the storm's peak winds become greater than 39 mph, then it's now a "tropical storm" and it gets a real name from the National Hurricane Center, like "Tropical Storm Barry."

If the storm continues to grow and reaches wind speeds over 74 mph, it's then a hurricane, but it keeps its identifying name for continuity sake.