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Hurricane season for the Atlantic and Caribbean is June 1 to November 30. Peak season is mid-August to late October. The average number of tropical storms per year for 1970-2010 included 11 tropical storms, 6 of which became hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico.
You may have heard climatologists refer to tropical cyclones, but you may not know that a tropical cyclone is a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters and has a closed low-level circulation. Northern Hemisphere cyclones rotate counterclockwise, while those in the southern hemisphere rotate clockwise. What does that have to do with hurricanes? A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone.
Tropical Cyclone Types
- Tropical depression has maximum sustained winds of 38 mph or less.
- Tropical storm has maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph.
- Hurricane has maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or higher. These storms are called typhoons in the western North Pacific and cyclones in the Indian and South Pacific oceans.
- Major hurricane has maximum sustained winds of 111 mph or higher.
Hurricane categories are based on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
Hurricane hazards include storm surge, storm tide, tornadoes, winds, rip currents, and torrential rainfall.
Learn weather terms:
Check for current storm information:
Tune your NOAA weather radio to your area:
Listen to your local radio and television stations for the most current weather information.
- Determine safe evacuation routes inland; find pet-friendly hotels.
- Learn official shelter locations. (Dial 2-1-1 or 1-888-421-1266)
- Check emergency equipment.
- Buy plywood and other material to protect your home.
- Trim trees and shrubbery.
- Clean clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- Decide where to move your boat. Review your insurance policy.
In Hurricane or Tropical Watch Areas
Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) or tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible in your area.
- Listen to radio, television or weather radio for official bulletins of storm progress.
- Fuel and service family vehicles.
- Inspect and secure mobile home tie downs.
- Ensure you have extra cash on hand.
- Prepare to cover all windows and doors with protective material.
- Check batteries and stock up on canned and non-perishable food, first aid supplies, drinking water and medications.
- Bring in light-weight objects such as garbage cans, garden tools, toys and lawn furniture.
In Hurricane or Tropical Warning Areas
Hurricane or tropical storm conditions are expected in your area. Take shelter!
- Closely monitor web, AM/FM radio, television, and NOAA weather radio for storm conditions.
- Install protective material on doors and windows.
- Follow instructions of local officials.
- DO NOT stay in a mobile home or manufactured home.
- Take pets with you, if possible. Remember that most shelters do not allow pets other than those used by people with disabilities.
- NOAA National Hurricane Center
- CDC Hurricane Emergency Preparedness & Response
- Alabama Emergencey Management Agency (EMA)
- Ready Alabama
Current Tropical Weather & Hurricanes