General Weather Information

Hurricane Season

The Atlantic hurricane season is officially designated from June 1 to November 30. Over 97% of tropical activity occurs in these six months, but hurricanes have occurred in every month of the year.
According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), the most common month for hurricanes is September.

The bottom line: Be prepared year-round. Even if a storm does not strike, hurricane preparedness makes us better prepared for most disasters.

Know your weather terms

Tropical Climate/Tropical Depression – An organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds* of 38 mph (33kt**) or less.
Tropical Wave – a low pressure area that has the potential to develop into stormy weather
Tropical Storm – an organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39 – 73 mph (34-63 kts)
Hurricane – an intense tropical weather system of strong thunderstorms with a well-defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 kts) or higher.

Forecasts

It is advised to monitor the weather frequently and to heed the advice of local officials during hurricane season. Tropical systems can speed up, change direction and intensify without warning. Several local news stations as well as national weather services offer e-mail notifications by subscribing to their services. Advances in forecasts have resulted in more accurate track forecasts. As a result, there will be greater lead time for watches and warnings to enable communities more time to prepare.

The following terms are used by weather forecasters to describe the wind speed and probability/proximity of a storm from hitting a specific destination:

Hurricane Watch – a hurricane may strike the area under watch within 48 hours

Hurricane Warning – a hurricane is expected to strike the area under warning within 36 hours

Saffir-Simpson Scale

Category 1: Sustained winds of 74-95 mph
Category 2: Sustained winds of 96-110 mph
Category 3: Sustained winds of 111-130 mph
Category 4: Sustained winds of 131-155 mph
Category 5: Sustained winds greater than 155 mph

Links:

National Hurricane Center
National Weather Service