Hurricane terminology to know before the weekend

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HURRICANE CW39 NO WAIT WEATHER + TRAFFIC

HURRICANE CW39 NO WAIT WEATHER + TRAFFIC

HOUSTON (CW39) – Tropical development in the Gulf of Mexico is expected this week. As for impacts to southeast Texas? Meteorologists are still working on fine tuning the details of the track before we know for sure what that entails.  

Nonetheless, you should be staying weather aware for the rest of the week, especially over the weekend where we will be able to forecast much more accurately.  

Terms that you may not hear in a “day to day” weathercast are about to start getting used often. Here is a Hurricane Terminology Vocabulary List that you can use for yourself, or even use to inform your kids who may be curious about the evolving situation around them.  

These definitions are from the National Hurricane Center, a vital organization when it comes to providing lifesaving information during a storm.  

Hurricane Terminology Vocabulary List

Eye: The roughly circular area of comparatively light winds that encompasses the center of a severe tropical cyclone. The eye is either completely or partially surrounded by the eyewall.

Eyewall / Wall Cloud: An organized band or ring of cumulonimbus clouds that surround the eye, or light-wind center of a tropical cyclone.

High Wind Warning: A high wind warning is defined as 1-minute average surface winds of 40 mph or greater lasting for 1 hour or longer, or winds gusting to 58 mph or greater regardless of duration that are expected over land. 

Hurricane Warning: An announcement that sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are expected somewhere within the specified area in association with a tropical cyclone. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds. The warning can remain in effect when dangerously high water or a combination of dangerously high water and waves. 

Hurricane Watch: An announcement that sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are possible within the specified area in association with a tropical cyclone. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical storm force winds. 

Indirect Hit: Generally refers to locations that do not experience a direct hit from a tropical cyclone, but do experience hurricane force winds (either sustained or gusts) or tides of at least 4 feet above normal. 

Inundation: The flooding of normally dry land, primarily caused by severe weather events along the coasts, estuaries, and adjoining rivers. 
Major Hurricane: A hurricane that is classified as Category 3 or higher. 

Maximum Sustained Surface Wind: The standard measure of a tropical cyclone’s intensity. When the term is applied to a particular weather system, it refers to the highest one-minute average wind (at an elevation of 10 meters with an unobstructed exposure) associated with that weather system at a particular point in time. 


Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale: The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a 1 to 5 categorization based on the hurricane’s intensity. The scale provides examples of the type of damage and impacts in the United States associated with winds of the indicated intensity. The following table shows the scale broken down by winds: 
 

Category Wind Speed (mph) Damage 
74 – 95 Very dangerous winds will produce some damage 
96 – 110 Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage 
111 – 129 Devastating damage will occur 
130 – 156 Catastrophic damage will occur 
> 156 Catastrophic damage will occur 

Storm Surge: An abnormal rise in sea level accompanying a hurricane or other intense storm, Storm surge is usually estimated by subtracting the normal high tide from the observed storm tide. 

 
Tropical Storm Warning: An announcement that sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph are expected somewhere within the specified area within 36 hours in association with a tropical cyclone. 
 

Tropical Storm Watch: An announcement that sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph are possible within the specified area within 48 hours in association with a tropical cyclone. 

For a full list of terms you may be hearing more of this season, you may visit the NHC website. However, our weather team here will be on top of the latest information and breaking down how the weather will impact YOU! 

Source: https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutgloss.shtml 

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