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The Difference Between a Tropical Storm vs. a Hurricane and How to Prepare

Posted by Jimmy Hawley on Jul 27, 2017 10:05:40 AM

If you are a native or long-time resident of the Southwest Florida coast, you probably know a thing or two about tropical systems. But if you are new to the area, or are planning to move to the Naples, Cape Coral, or Fort Myers area soon, you’ll want to know all you can about tropical storms and hurricanes—specifically,  how to prepare your home or business for these dangerous storms.

Tropical Storm vs. Hurricane

What’s the Difference?

Both tropical storms and hurricanes are very large storms that form over the water, starting out as a low pressure system called a tropical depression. When a tropical depression strengthens, and wind speeds top out at 39mph, the storm becomes a tropical storm. When a tropical depression becomes a tropical storm, the National Hurricane Center gives it a name – for example, Tropical Storm Bonnie. This is done to reduce confusion when there are multiple tropical systems active at one time. If that storm continues to strengthen, and winds reach over 74mph, the storm is classified as a hurricane. The name stays the same from tropical storm to hurricane.

So, what’s the main difference between a tropical storm and a hurricane? Wind speed. But that’s not the only difference. Hurricanes are known for their iconic spiral shape with a small patch of clear sky in the center, called the eye. They also tend to be more compact, smaller in diameter and more intense than tropical storms.

So, Tropical Storms Aren’t that Big of a Deal?

Just because they may not be as intense and the wind speeds are lower than a hurricane, doesn’t mean you should write off the threat of a tropical storm. If a tropical storm is still over warm waters (like the Gulf), it has the potential to intensify – sometimes quickly, to a hurricane. Not only that, but tropical storms can still cause storm surge, and even “stall” where the storm slows to a crawl and sits in one spot, dumping rains and blowing constant winds, which can take a serious toll on your home or place of business – if you aren’t prepared.

Do I Need to Prepare Differently for a Tropical Storm than I would a Hurricane?

Always prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. When considering protecting your home or business, erring on the side of caution is never a bad idea.

Both tropical storms and hurricanes produce pounding rains and winds that can send debris flying, so having protection like hurricane shutters, storm panels, or storm screens is a smart choice. Storm screens and shutters can be permanently installed and ready to deploy whenever they are needed. Having impact resistant windows and doors installed, including a hurricane resistant garage door is another alternative, which gives you peace of mind year-round with no additional work or setup needed in case of a tropical storm or hurricane.

Storm Solutions in Cape Coral is ready to help you with any of your storm protection needs. From hurricane resistant storm screens to storm shutters of all kinds, from hurricane resistant garage doors to impact glass windows, we have you covered.

Contact us today for a free in-home estimate!

Free In-Home Estimate

Topics: Hurricane Preparedness, Tropical Storm