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Weather Definitions

Please Read National Weather Service Weather Definitions

  • Advisory - A method for disseminating hurricane and storm data to the public every six hours. Small craft warnings are released as necessary.
  • Gale Warning - Wind speed of 34-63 kts (39-54 mph) expected.
  • Hurricane - When a tropical storm reaches winds of 64 kts (74 mph) or more, it is classified as a hurricane.
  • Hurricane Warning - A hurricane is expected to strike your area within 24 hours or less.
  • Hurricane Watch - A hurricane may threaten your area.
  • Intermediate Advisory - A method of updating regular advisory information every two to three hours as necessary.
  • Special Advisory - Warning given anytime there is a significant change in weather conditions or change in warnings.
  • Storm Surge - The strong winds associated with hurricanes and tropical storms cause the sea level to raise above normal tidal heights, with giant wind-driven waves and strong unpredictable currents, sometimes covering 50 miles.
  • Storm Warning - Wind speed of 48-63 kts (55-73 mph) expected.
  • Tornado Warning - Tornado detected in your area. TAKE SHELTER IMMEDIATELY.
  • Tornado Watch - Tornadoes and severe thunderstorm are possible in your area.
  • Tropical Depression - An area of low pressure, rotary circulation of clouds and winds to 33 kts (38 mph).
  • Tropical Storm - Counterclockwise circulation of clouds and winds 34-68 kts (39-73 mph). The storm is given a name.

For additional information, please visit the Emergency Management page.

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