Why are storms called a “tropical depression“?

Weather Blog

Dear Tom,

Why are storms called a “tropical depression“?
Thanks,
Oliver Wencel
Downers Grove/Willowbrook

Dear Oliver,

A tropical depression is a tropical cyclone that has top sustained winds less than 39 mph. They are numbered with the first depression of the season one, the second two, etc.  If the depression intensifies, and top winds reach 39 mph, it is classified a tropical storm and given a name. When the storm weakens and top sustained winds drop below 39 mph, it is again classified as a tropical depression, but keeps its name until it dissipates, in the event the storm regains tropical storm or hurricane strength. Earlier this year, Tropical Storm Claudette weakened to Tropical Depression Claudette following its Louisiana landfall, but became Tropical Storm Claudette again after strengthening as it moved into the western Atlantic.

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