March 3, 2023

The Difference Between a Named Storm and a Hurricane: What You Need to Know


The terms “named storm” (or tropical storm) and “hurricane” are often used interchangeably, but they refer to two different things.

If you live in a coastal region, it’s important to understand the difference between these two types of weather events. Knowing the difference can help you better prepare for the impact of a severe storm and protect yourself and your family during the Atlantic hurricane season.

Here’s a breakdown of named storms vs. hurricanes.

What Is a Named Storm?

A named storm is a tropical storm that has been given a name by the National Hurricane Center. A tropical storm is a type of weather system that forms over tropical waters and has sustained wind speeds of 39 miles per hour or higher.

What Is a Hurricane?

A hurricane is a type of tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or higher. Hurricanes are categorized by their wind speeds and are given a category rating from 1 to 5, with Category 3 or more considered a major hurricane.

How Do Named Storms and Hurricanes Form?

The formation of named storms, tropical depressions, tropical cyclones, tropical storms, and hurricanes is a complex process that begins over tropical or subtropical waters and involves a combination of warm ocean temperatures, atmospheric moisture, and low air pressure.

It starts with an area of low air pressure, which forms over the ocean when warm air rises and cools. As the air cools, it condenses into clouds and begins to rotate around the center of the low-pressure system.

If the winds within the system reach 39 miles per hour or higher, it is classified as a tropical storm. Once a tropical storm reaches sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or higher, it is upgraded to a hurricane.

What Are the Impacts of Named Storms and Hurricanes?

Both hurricanes and named storms can cause significant damage and disruption to coastal communities. However, hurricanes can have a much more severe impact, with higher wind speeds, heavy rain, and potential storm surges.

How Do You Prepare for Named Storms and Hurricanes?

It’s important to prepare for the potential impact of a tropical storm or hurricane, regardless of their classification. This includes making an emergency plan, stocking up on supplies, and securing your home and property.

What Kind of Insurance Coverage Do I Need?

Your insurance coverage may differ depending on whether a storm is classified as a named storm or a hurricane. Make sure to understand the terms of your policy and what kind of damage is covered in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm.

Should I Evacuate?

In the event of a hurricane, evacuation orders may be issued by local authorities. It’s important to follow these orders and evacuate if you’re in a low-lying or coastal area.

Need Help After a Named Storm or Hurricane? Contact Us Today

Understanding the difference between a named storm and a hurricane is crucial for coastal residents. Knowing the definitions, formation, impact, and preparation requirements can help you better prepare for the impact of a severe storm and protect yourself and your family.

If you’re in need of legal assistance after a hurricane or named storm, Cueria Law Firm can help you navigate the insurance claims process and recover compensation for your damages.

Request a Free Case Review

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