Noam, are they used for exactly the same type of storms? I've seen (in lyrics) sufa used for major storms, where you could use hurricane. (But since hurricanes are based on originating location, I've read they're called medicanes if they're formed in/off the Mediterranean... Do Israelis call these storms or hurricanes or ...?)
Ok, Hebrew Academy website, (I think) says they are synonyms... But the distinction is important for meteorology (*and fields that need to know, I guess military/government, shipping/naval, architecture, etc.)
Se'ara is more commonly used, sufa is used primarily as part of the 'full name' for types of storms (windstorm, sandstorm, snowstorm, etc.)
The literal difference between the words is a difference of wind speed. Se'ara is a gale, with winds 40 knots (75-80 mph), wave height 5.5 meters.
Sufa, 52 knots (95-100 mph), 9 meter waves.
**note, I'm learning Hebrew too, and not an Israeli.
14 May 2019