What exactly is a subtropical storm?

Candace Campos outlines core differences between subtropical, tropical storm

By Candace Campos - Meteorologist

ORLANDO, Fla. - As we track Subtropical Storm Alberto, many wonder: What is the difference between a subtropical and a tropical storm?

  • A subtropical storm has a cold core, while tropical storms have a warm core.
  • We tend to see subtropical systems develop in the cooler parts of the Atlantic or in the early and late parts of the season. 
  • Tropical storms have a higher potential to quickly grow into hurricane, while subtropical storms do not.
  • If a subtropical storm remains over warm water for several days, it may eventually become fully tropical
  • Tropical Storms tend to produce more rain compared to subtropical storms.
  • Subtropical storms could eventually gain full tropical characteristics. For example, the core of a subtropical storm could warm enough to become tropical storm or even a hurricane.
  • There is no such thing as a subtropical hurricane. 
  • At the end of the day, when it comes to the winds they produce, there is not a big difference between a subtropical and tropical storm.
     

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