Important Tropical Terms

Tropical Cyclone
A general term used to describe a tropical depression, tropical storm, or hurricane.

Tropical Disturbance
A poorly organized cluster of thunderstorms that usually has no closed surface circulation.

Tropical Depression
A cluster of thunderstorms organized around a central circulation with surface winds of 38 mph or less.

Tropical Storm
A cluster of thunderstorms with a substantial rotary circulation and sustained winds of 39-73 mph. It is at this stage of development that the storm is assigned a name.

Hurricane
A severe tropical cyclone that is nature's most powerful storm, with sustained winds of 74 mph or greater.

Hurricane/Tropical Storm Watch
Hurricane or Tropical Storm conditions are possible in the watch area within 36 hours.

Hurricane/Tropical Storm Warning
Hurricane or Tropical Storm conditions are expected in the warning area within 24 hours.

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