Hurricane Terms & Glossary

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What Do These Hurricane Type Weather Words Mean

It’s important that you know these hurricane terms so that you’ll know exactly what to expect next time you hear them on the weather report. Yep, it’s teally important that you know the different types of hurricane hazard, so read and learn . . .don’t worry, there won’t be any questions later, but if you don’t familiarize yourself with these terms then you could be in real danger next time there’s a hurricane heading your way.

Tropical Depression – might sound like a sad pineapple sundae, but it’s actually an organized system of thunderstorms and clouds with maximum sustained winds of 38 miles per hour (33 knots for nautical types) or less. By sustained, they mean it was averaged out over a one minute period, 33 feet (or 10 meters) above the surface.

Tropical Storm – is a little mightier than a tropical depression, with sustained winds of between 39 and 73 miles per hour (that’s 34 – 63 knots).

Hurricane – is the term given to a tropical storm which has winds exceeding 74 miles per hour (64 knots). Hurricanes are, however, known as different words throughout the world . . . cyclones, typhoons, willy-willies (I’m not kidding).

Storm surge – is one of the major causes of damage in a hurricane. It is a dome of water which is pushed onto the shore by the tropical storm winds. These storm surges can reach up to a massive 25 feet high and be up to 1000 miles wide . . . that’s some huge wall of water by any standards.

Storm tide – is when storm surge meets the normal tide, so if you have a 10 foot storm surge and a 2 foot tide, this would create a 12 foot storm tide.

Hurricane or Tropical Storm Watch – a hurricane could possibly arrive within the next 36 hours in the specified area. If there is a hurricane watch then you need to stay tuned to the television, NOAA weather radio or even a commercial radio station to keep up to date on the latest information.

Hurricane or Tropical Storm Warning – is a little more definitive than a watch, it means that the hurricane is expected in a specified area, generally within 24 hours. Be prepared to take the necessary action if there is a hurricane warning and make sure that you follow the advice of the authorities.

Short Term Hurricane Watches & Warnings – have all of the specific information about the hurricane threats . . .  tornadoes, flash floods etc. Make sure that  you keep up to date on all of the latest hurricane information to be able to act accordingly and keep you, your family and your property as safe as you possibly can.


The lighter side of dealing with a hurricane . . . do you think he ran away and ripped off his spiderman suit to reveal his swimsuit? Very peculiar . . .

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