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There are several types of storms that can form during the Atlantic Hurricane Season (June 1 to November 30); however, hurricanes are the most dangerous. Hurricanes are organized systems of strong thunderstorms that can cover several hundred miles and generate torrential rain and tornadoes. They can also cause storm surges—domes of water that reach 10 to 20 feet above sea level, resulting in deaths and damage to communities. Hurricanes have an area called the eye, which is a calm spot in the middle of the storm. It's important to remember that when the eye passes over your area, only half the storm has passed. The wind will return suddenly from the opposite direction, perhaps with even greater force.

For information regarding evacuation zones and emergency shelters, tune in to your local television and radio stations, or call your local Red Cross or your county's Emergency Management Office.

Glossary of Terms

  • Hurricane: Very strong, pronounced circulation winds of 74 mph or more and gusts up to 200 mph. Hurricanes are classified into five categories based on sustained winds and storm surges. Review the chart below to learn more.
  • Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions are expected within 24 hours.
  • Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions are a real possibility for the area, usually within 36 hours.
  • Storm: Categorized by its circular wind intensity. Storms circulate clockwise in the southern hemisphere and counterclockwise in the northern.
  • Tropical Depression: An organized system of clouds and/or thunderstorms with some circulation at surface; highest winds less than 39 mph.
  • Tropical Storm: An organized system of strong thunderstorms with stronger circulation; highest wind speed 39–73 mph. These storms can quickly accelerate when they reach tropical storm strength and become hurricanes. Storms are named when they reach tropical storm strength.
  • Tropical Storm Warning: Tropical storm conditions are expected within 24 hours.
  • Tropical Storm Watch: Tropical storm conditions, including winds of 39–73 mph, pose a possible threat to the area within 36 hours.
  • Tropical Wave: A cluster of clouds and/or thunderstorms with little or no circulation or strong wind.

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

Category Sustained
Damage Storm Surge
1 74–95
Minimal: Unanchored mobile homes, signs, and destroyed vegetation. 4–5 ft.
2 96–110
Moderate: All mobile homes, roofs, small crafts, flooding. 6–8 ft.
3 111–130
Extensive: Small buildings, low-lying roads cut off. 9–12 ft.
4 131–155
Extreme: Roofs destroyed, trees down, roads cut off, mobile homes destroyed, beach homes flooded. 13–18 ft.
5 Greater than
155 mph
Catastrophic: Most buildings destroyed, vegetation destroyed, major roads cut off, homes flooded. Greater than 18 ft.

2022 Hurricane Names

Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Martin, Nicole, Owen, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobias, Virginie, Walter