What is the difference between a nor'easter and a hurricane?

What is the difference between a nor'easter and a hurricane?


Nor'easters and hurricanes are strong low-pressure weather systems that leave substantial damage in their wakes. 

While neither nor'easters nor hurricanes have many of the same meteorological characteristics, they do have several key differences.

What is a hurricane?

Warm-core lows build over warm water during the summer, forming hurricanes. Rising air in a hurricane's core cools and condenses, releasing latent heat that intensifies the storm. Hurricanes, unlike nor'easters, are given names.

When they become tropical storms with winds of 35 knots or greater, they are given names.

The strongest hurricane to ever occur in the Atlantic Basin was Hurricane Wilma in 2005. The deadliest hurricane, however, was the Great Hurricane of 1780, which killed approximately 22,000 people.

What is a nor'easter?

A nor'easter is a storm that forms along North America's East Coast. Nor'easters get their name from the direction in which the strongest winds blow over the northeastern states, including New England and the Mid-Atlantic.

Nor'easters begin to form within 100 miles of the coast that stretches between New Jersey and Georgia.

This area is a perfect spot for the formation of storms. The polar jet stream blows cold air southward out of Canada and eastward toward the ocean. 

Whats are the differences between hurricanes and nor'easters?

Over the Atlantic Ocean, both nor'easters and hurricanes form. Both are cyclones, which are storms with winds spiraling around a central low pressure zone.

Hurricanes form over the warm waters of the tropics, which are located close to the equator.

Nor'easters form further north, along the United States' eastern coast. Nor'easters, on the other hand, thrive on cold air in the atmosphere and gain strength from it, whereas hurricanes thrive on warm air.

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