Hurricane Season is from June 1 through November 30. Hurricanes have occurred outside of these six months, however these dates were selected to encompass over 97% of tropical activity. The Atlantic basin shows a very peaked season from August through October, with 78% of the troical storm days, 87% of the minor (Saffir-Simpson Scale categories 1 and 2) hurricane days, and 96% of the major (Saffir-Simpson categories 3, 4, and 5) hurricane days occurring. Maximum activity is in early to mid September. Once in a few years, there may be a hurricane occurring "out of season" - primarily May or December.

    Hurricane Watch
    Hurricane Warning
    Saffir-Simpson Scale
    More Hurricane Info
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    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 Storm: An organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39-73 mph (34-63 kt).

    Hurricane: An intense tropical weather system of strong thunderstorms with a well defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 kt) or higher. In other parts of the world, hurricane is synonymous for typhoons and cyclones.

    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 your area within 48 hours.

    Hurricane Warning
    A hurricane is expected to strike your area within 36 hours.

    The Saffir-Simpson Scale is a 1-5 rating based on the hurricane’s peak winds. Storm surge, flooding impact and central pressure statements are being removed from the Saffi-Simpson Scale and will be forecast separately.
    Wind speed is the determining factor in the scale.

    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

    National Hurricane Center
    National Weather Service

    Back to Hurricane Information Center.

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