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Hurricane Map Terminology

Not sure of the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning? Read the information below to ensure you plan accordingly once a warning has been announced for your area.

Tropical Disturbance or Tropical Wave:
A cluster of clouds and thunderstorms in the tropics without a defined circulation.
Tropical Depression:
A rotating system of thunderstorms in the tropics with winds of less than 39mph.

Tropical Storm:
A rotating system of strong thunderstorms with top sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph. Storms are named when they reach this strength.

An intense, rotating tropical weather system with sustained winds of 74 mph or higher.

Tropical Storm Watch:
Tropical Storm conditions are possible in the watch area within about 36 hours.

Tropical Storm Warning:
Tropical Storm conditions are expected in the warning area within about 24 hours.

Hurricane Watch:
Hurricane conditions are possible in the watch area within about 36 hours. Monitor CBS4 and the CBS4 Hurricane Network partners for information regarding the storm. Your hurricane preparations should be underway.

Hurricane Warning:
Hurricane conditions are expected in the warning area within 24 hours. All preparations should be complete and if evacuating, you should be on your way to a safe place.

Storm Surge:
A mound of ocean water up to 20 feet high that can come ashore with a hurricane. Evacuation zones are identified by the likelihood of being flooded by this rising water. Most hurricane related deaths are from storm surge flooding. Storm surge flooding can occur over 100 miles of coastline and may extend inland several miles.

Saffir-Simpson Scale of Hurricane Winds:
Category 1: 74-95 mph
Category 2: 96-110 mph
Category 3: 111-130 mph
Category 4: 131-155 mph
Category 5: over 155 mph

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