Hurricane Preparedness

What a Tropical Storm or Hurricane Is

A Tropical storm or Hurricane is a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters and has a closed low-level circulation. Additional information can be found on the Tropical Cyclone Climatology page.

How a Tropical Storm/Hurricane Get Its Name

The National Hurricane Center will give a name to a tropical cyclone that meets Tropical Storm strength or higher. This name will remain with the system if the tropical cyclone is upgraded (example: Tropical Storm Irma has been upgraded to Hurricane Irma). Storm names are retired based on significant events.

The list of current names can be found at the National Hurricane Center site.

Hurricane Evolution

Evolution of a hurricane is categorized by the Saffir-Simpson Scale.

  • Tropical Depression: sustained winds of 38 mph or less
  • Tropical Storm: sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph
  • Hurricane: sustained winds of 74 mph or higher
  • Major Hurricane: sustained winds of 11 mph or higher, a major hurricane corresponds to a Category 3, 4, or 5 storm
How to Be Safe in a Tropical Cyclone/Hurricane

Before the Storm

Coastal residents should review their evacuation zones and create a plan to evacuate in State and out of State. Stock up on emergency supplies for at least 72 hours or more to supply yourself and your family. Some items to consider include:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Protective clothing
  • Medications
  • Batteries
  • Flashlights
  • Important documents
  • Paper money
  • Full tank of gasoline
During the Storm

If evacuating: Situations change in developing storms, so continue to heed warnings and changes by the local authorities.

If unable to evacuate: Remain inside the most secure building and stay away from windows, wait for authorities to announce the storm has passed, lulls in the system may be related to breaks in the rainbands and/or the storm's eye.