Hurricane Basics


What is a Hurricane?

Hurricanes are massive storm systems, also known as tropical cyclones, that form over the water and produce winds of 74 mph or higher. There are five types, or categories, of hurricanes based on a scale of categories called the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.  The categories are based on wind speed:

•    Category 1: Winds 74-95 mph

•    Category 2: Winds 96-110 mph

•    Category 3: Winds 111-129 mph

•    Category 4: Winds 130-156 mph

•    Category 5: Winds 157 mph or higher

Parts of a hurricane include the Eye, the “hole” at the center of the storm.  Winds are light in this area and skies are sometimes even clear; the Eye Wall is a ring of thunderstorms that swirl around the eye where winds are strongest and rain is heaviest; and Rain Bands which are bands of clouds and rain that extend far out from the hurricane’s eye wall that can also contain tornadoes.  What is a tornado?  More Hurricane Terms

Hurricane Watch vs Hurricane Warning

Hurricane Watch = conditions possible within the next 48 hours

Hurricane Warning = conditions are expected within 36 hours

2021 Hurricane Names