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Hurricane Preparation | Understand the Terms!

Part of making sure you’re adequately prepared during hurricane season is understanding the terms that are used to identify a hurricane.

  •  A hurricane watch means a hurricane is possible in your area. Be prepared to evacuate. Monitor local radio and television news outlets or listen to NOAA Weather Radio for the latest developments.
  •  A hurricane warning is when a hurricane is expected in your area. If local authorities advise you to evacuate, leave immediately.
  •  Hurricanes are classified into five categories based on their wind speed, central pressure, and damage potential. Category Three and higher hurricanes are considered major hurricanes, though Categories One and Two are still extremely dangerous and warrant your full attention.

Scale number (Category)

Sustained winds (MPH)


Storm Surge

 1  74-95 Minimal: Unanchored mobile homes, vegetation, and signs. 4-5 ft.
 2  95-110 Moderate: All mobile homes, roofs, small crafts, flooding 6-8 ft.
 3  111-130 Extensive: Small buildings, low-lying roads cut off 9-12 ft.
 4  131-155 Extreme: Roofs destroyed, trees down, roads cut off, mobile homes destroyed. Beach homes Flooded. 13-18 ft.
5 155+ Catastrophic: Most buildings and vegetation destroyed. Major roads cut off.  Homes flooded. 18 ft.+