Hurricanes & tropical storms can wreak havoc on communities when they make landfall. Although storm surge is perhaps the most dangerous and destructive part of a hurricane, its winds and heavy rains can be felt well inland from a storm’s landfall and can cause damage.

What Are Hurricanes & Tropical Storms?

A hurricane—also known as a tropical cyclone—is a storm system characterized by a low-pressure center surrounded by a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce strong winds and heavy rain.

Hurricanes generally affect the Atlantic seaboard, the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea Islands, and Pacific Ocean Islands. Hurricanes are also called typhoons in the Western Pacific, west of the International Date Line.

A tropical storm is an organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds between 34 knots and 64 knots.

Safety & Preparedness Tips

Hurricanes and tropical storms generally can be tracked days ahead of any impact, providing ample time to prepare for potential evacuation. Be aware that these storms can change direction, speed, and intensity quickly.

Listen to the local news broadcasts for updates on hurricanes and tropical storms. Watch out for the 4 key alerts:

  • Tropical Storm Watch—Conditions are possible in your area in the next 48 hours.
  • Tropical Storm Warning—Conditions are expected in your area within the next 36 hours.
  • Hurricane Watch—Conditions are possible in your area in the next 48 hours.
  • Hurricane Warning—Conditions are expected in your area in 36 hours or less.

Be Prepared!

Check the incidence of hurricanes and tropical storms in your area by contacting an expert source. Contact your homeowners insurance agent and discuss your options for hurricane protection insurance.

Develop a Family Preparedness Plan and Family Emergency Supplies Kit.

Prepare your home with simple measures that can strengthen the exterior and interior of a house. Some quick tips include:

  • Board up your windows and doors with plywood
  • Install hurricane shutters on your windows
  • Trim trees to reduce debris