Difference between tempete and orage
Hello. From what I am learning here on Duolingo, un orage is a thunderstorm and une tempete is a storm in general. Although they can both just mean a plain old storm. I have looked at Linguee but was wondering if anyone out there had more information on the differences between these two weather phenomena. Thank you in advance.
Hi, Jolynne!!! (waves madly)
I'm certainly nowhere near your level in French but I can tell you something that helps me in Spanish with questions like this (after consulting WordReference and Linguee, BTW - an excellent resource and one of my faves for this type of question), is to do an image search. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.
Judging by the images, tempete is more of a hurricane, typhoon, or a blizzard - a violent, dangerous, powerful, windy storm. An orage is more of a thunder and lightening storm. IF the image search can be trusted ;-)
"Une tempête" is not as extrême as a hurricane, typhoon, or a blizzard (we basically never experience those in France and would use the words "ouragan" "typhon" and "blizzard" to describe those phenomenons happening abroad), but is indeed stronger than an "orage".
"Un orage" happens quite often, it just means that there is rain and some thunder and it can be localized to a relatively small area.
"Une tempête" is much rarer, covers a larger area and involves strong winds, not necessarily rain or thunder. It can also cause quite some damage (but not to the extend of what people in Florida might experience when there is a hurricane for example) .
Thank you Lrtward, Fayke, and Sitesurf. An image search is a great idea. I was figuring a tempete was kind of like a tempest, which always strikes me as something out at sea.
I agree, I do that quite a few times pretty often mostly with English words, since currently I don't have that kind of problems with French words, but it's nonetheless a great advice!