Atlantic Hurricane Season starts June 1 and ends November 30
All residents are encouraged to BE PREPARED for a storm threat. Below you will find links with information to help you and your family prepare your home and property before a storm and checklists to help you prepare for during and after a storm.
Hurricane Terms & Alerts
Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a tropical storm or hurricane.
- Tropical Depression
- An organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 38 MPH (33 knots) or less. Sustained winds are defined as one-minute average wind measured at about 33 ft (10 meters) above the surface.
- Tropical Storm
- An organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39–73 MPH (34–63 knots).
- An intense tropical weather system of strong thunderstorms with a well-defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 MPH (64 knots) or higher.
See the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale for hurricane categories.
- Hurricane/Tropical Storm Watch
- An announcement issued when hurricane/tropical storm conditions pose a possible threat in the specified area, generally within 36 hours. Be prepared to evacuate. Monitor local radio and television news outlets or listen to NOAA Weather Radio for the latest developments.
- Hurricane/Tropical Storm Warning
- A warning is issued when hurricane/tropical storm conditions are expected in the specified area, usually within 24 hours. Once issued, you should determine the safest location to be during the storm. If an evacuation order has been issued for your area, leave immediately for a safer location.
- Short Term Watches and Warnings
- Provide detailed information about specific threats associated with hurricane/tropical storm conditions, such as flash floods and tornadoes.
- Storm Surge
- A dome of water pushed onshore by hurricane and tropical storm winds. Storm surges can reach 25 feet high and be 50–1000 miles wide.
- Storm Tide
- A combination of storm surge and the normal tide (i.e., a 15-foot storm surge combined with a 2-foot normal high tide over the mean sea level created a 17-foot storm tide).
- Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale
- A classification scale of five categories based on a hurricane's wind speed, central pressure, and damage potential (see chart below). Category Three and higher hurricanes are considered major hurricanes, though Categories One and Two can still be extremely dangerous and warrant your full attention.
|Category||Sustained Winds||Damage||Potential Storm Surge|
|Category 1||74-95 mph||Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.
|Category 2||96-110 mph||Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.
|Category 3||111-129 mph||Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.
|Category 4||130-156 mph||Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
|Category 5||>= 157 mph||Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
||> 18 ft|
For more information on hurricane preparedness and how to protect your property from hurricane damage visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency.