Understanding Hurricane/Storm Terminology and Procedures
Listen closely to instructions from local officials on TV, radio, cell phones or other computers for instructions from local officials. Evacuate if told to do so.
- Storm Surge Watch: There is a possibility of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline somewhere within the specified area, generally within 48 hours.
- Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are possible within your area. Because it may not be safe to prepare for a hurricane once winds reach tropical storm force, The NHC issues hurricane watches 48 hours before it anticipates tropical storm-force winds.
- Tropical Storm Watch: Tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within the specified area within 48 hours.
- Listen closely to instructions from local officials on TV, radio, cell phones or other computers for instructions from local officials. Evacuate immediately if told to do so.
- Storm Surge Warning: There is a danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline somewhere within the specified area, generally within 36 hours. If you are under a storm surge warning, check for evacuation orders from your local officials.
- Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are expected somewhere within the specified area. NHC issues a hurricane warning 36 hours in advance of tropical storm-force winds to give you time to complete your preparations. All preparations should be complete. Evacuate immediately if so ordered.
- Tropical Storm Warning: Tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected within your area within 36 hours.
- Extreme Wind Warning: Extreme sustained winds of a major hurricane (115 mph or greater), usually associated with the eyewall, are expected to begin within an hour. Take immediate shelter in the interior portion of a well-built structure.
When a hurricane threatens your community, be prepared to evacuate if you live in a storm surge risk area. Allow enough time to pack and inform friends and family if you need to leave your home.
If ORDERED to evacuate:
- Secure your home: Cover all of your home's windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8 inch exterior grade or marine plywood, built to fit, and ready to install. Buy supplies before the hurricane season rather than waiting for the pre-storm rush.
- Stayed tuned in: Check the websites of your local National Weather Service office and local government/emergency management office. Find out what type of emergencies could occur and how you should respond. Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or other radio or TV stations for the latest storm news.
- Follow instructions issued by local officials. Leave immediately if ordered!
If NOT ORDERED to evacuate:
- Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level during the storm. Put as many walls between you and the outside as you can.
- Stay away from windows, skylights, and glass doors.
- If the eye of the storm passes over your area, there will be a short period of calm, but at the other side of the eye, the wind speed rapidly increases to hurricane force winds coming from the opposite direction.