Operation Stormwatch

 

Hurricane Terminology

Hurricane Terminology

Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a hurricane hazard:

Tropical Depression:
An organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 38 MPH (33 knots) or less. Sustained winds are defined as one-minute average wind measured at about 33 ft (10 meters) above the surface.

Tropical Storm:
An organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39–73 MPH (34–63 knots).

Hurricane:
An intense tropical weather system of strong thunderstorms with a well-defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 MPH (64 knots) or higher.

Storm Surge:
A dome of water pushed onshore by hurricane and tropical storm winds. Storm surges can reach 25 feet high and be 50–1000 miles wide.

Storm Tide:
A combination of storm surge and the normal tide (i.e., a 15-foot storm surge combined with a 2-foot normal high tide over the mean sea level created a 17-foot storm tide).

Hurricane/Tropical Storm Watch:
Hurricane/tropical storm conditions are possible in the specified area, usually within 36 hours. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.

Hurricane/Tropical Storm Warning:
Hurricane/tropical storm conditions are expected in the specified area, usually within 24 hours.

Short Term Watches and Warnings:
These warnings provide detailed information about specific hurricane threats, such as flash floods and tornadoes.

 

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