There has been some confusion in recent years when a storm receives a name that isn’t a tropical storm or hurricane.

You may have heard, “subtropical storm (insert name) forms in the Gulf,” or something similar to that. If these storms aren’t tropical storms yet, why do they get a name?

It’s because subtropical storms possess some characteristics of a tropical storm, meaning the storm is a hybrid of a cold core storm (typical low pressure over the mainland U.S.) and a warm core low (tropical storm or hurricane).

Subtropical storms can transition into a tropical storm.

Tropical storms and hurricanes are symmetrical in appearance, with the strongest winds wrapped around the storm's center. The strongest wind with a subtropical storm is away from the storm's center.

Watch the video above to to learn more about a subtropical storm's characteristics and how it can form into a tropical storm.