Hazards and Threats


North Atlantic Hurricane Watch & Tracking Map

Hurricanes & Tropical Cyclones

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.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration updated outlook for the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season calls for a near-normal or above-normal season for the Atlantic Ocean basin. They expect it to be the most active season since 2012.

Tropical Cyclone

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.

Hurricanes pose the greatest threat to life and property, but tropical storms and depressions also bring devastation. Floods and severe weather, such as tornadoes, can occur due to these systems.

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.

Stay Informed

Be Prepared


  • 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.

Additional Resources

Current Tropical Weather & Hurricanes

From: WeatherUnderground.com

Current Outlook & Advisories (North Atlantic) RSS

No North Atlantic Tropical Advisories

Thursday, January 17, 2019 at 11:00 pm
There are currently no tropical advisories... more