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Hurricane Terminology; What Does It All Mean?

eye of a hurricane

With hurricane season kicking off on June 1st, people along the coast have begun to prepare for the unknowns of hurricane season. Hurricanes come with a lot of questions like; when are they coming, how do I prepare, and what category is it? Now is the time to start talking about hurricanes. Although the 2014 hurricane season has been predicted to be below average in activity level, it is important to be prepared at all times. Let’s start off with the basics, terminology and definitions. Although it is very easy to let all the definitions run into one simple phrase “bad weather”, let’s try not to do that. So what do all of these terms really mean?

Hurricane season for the Atlantic begins on June 1st and runs until November 30th.

  • Hurricane: a type of tropical cyclone that rotates counter clockwise that a violent storm of the Western North Atlantic having speeds equal to or in excess of 72 MPH.
  • Eye: the relatively calm center of the storm which is surrounded by the cloud wall.
  • Hurricane Warning:a warning that sustained winds (74 mph or higher) are expected in a specified coastal area in 24 hours or less.
  • Hurricane Watch: an announcement that a hurricane or an incipient hurricane condition poses a possible threat within the next 36 hours.
  • Storm Surge: a rise in sea level due to a hurricane or other intense storm height. This is the difference between the observed level of the sea surface from the storm and the level that would have occurred if there were no storm at all.
  • Storm Tide: the level of sea water resulting from the tide combined with the storm surge.
  • Tropical Cyclone: a warm-core, non-frontal low pressure system that develops over tropical or subtropical waters and has a definite organized circulation.
  • Tropical Depression: a tropical cyclone in which wind speed is 38 mph or less.hurricane wave striking a pier
  • Tropical Storm: a tropical cyclone in wind speed ranges from 39 mph to 73 mph.

Depending on the size and the strength of the storm you may be advised to evacuate for the storm. This is a very important thing to do specifically for your safety. Typically if you live in a mobile home or in a place with a high flood rate it is in your best interest to evacuate. If you have nowhere to go, normally there are hurricane shelters for people to go too to ride the storm out. This most likely depends on the category of the storm.

palm trees blowing in the wind

What?! What the heck is a category? A category is basically the ranking system for a hurricane going from number one all the way up to five. A category one hurricane is slightly stronger than a tropical storm but is still something that should be taken seriously. If a storm makes it all the way to a category five, it is detrimental and should be handled with EXTREME caution. Even through a hurricane, Complete DKI will be here to help with the cleanup and repair no matter what!


Give us a call at 850.CALL.DKI or 251.CALL.DKI!

hurricane category chart

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