A hurricane is defined as a low-pressure system that generally forms in the tropics. The system is accompanied by thunderstorms and, in the Northern atmosphere, a counter-clockwise circulation of winds near the earth's surface. Tropical systems are classified as follows:
Tropical Depression - An organized system with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 38 MPH.
Tropical Storm - An organized system with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39-73 MPH.
Hurricane - An intense tropical weather system with a well-defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 MPH or higher.
Watch Vs. Warning
Hurricane Watch: hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. Residents are urged to enact their disaster plans and secure their homes.
Hurricane Warning: hurricane conditions may be experienced within 24 hours. Residents are urged to finalize disaster action plans and seek shelter in a safe location.
storm surge (water is pushed toward the shore by strong hurricane winds)