What is a Hurricane?
A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone, which is a generic term for a low pressure system that generally forms in the tropics. The cyclone is accompanied by thunderstorms and, in the Northern Hemisphere, a counterclockwise circulation of winds near the earth's surface. Tropical cyclones are classified as follows:
An organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 38 mph (33 kt) or less. Sustained winds are a 1-minute average wind measured at about 33 ft (10 meters) above the surface. While 1 knot = 1 nautical mile per hour or 1.15 statute miles per hour and is abbreviated as "kt".
An organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39-73 mph (34-63 kt)
An intense tropical weather system of strong thunderstorms with a well-defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 kt) or higher
Hurricanes are categorized according to the strength of their winds using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. A Category 1 storm has the lowest wind speeds, while a Category 5 hurricane has the strongest. These are relative terms, because lower category storms can sometimes inflict greater damage than higher category storms, depending on where they strike and the particular hazards they bring. In fact, tropical storms can also produce significant damage and loss of life, mainly due to flooding.
When the the winds from these storms reach 39 mph (34 kts), the cyclones are given names. Years ago, an international committee developed names for Atlantic cyclones (The History of Naming Hurricanes). In 1979 a six year rotating list of Atlantic storm names was adopted — alternating between male and female hurricane names. Storm names are used to facilitate geographic referencing, for warning services, for legal issues, and to reduce confusion when two or more tropical cyclones occur at the same time. Through a vote of the World Meteorological Organization Region IV Subcommittee, Atlantic cyclone names are retired usually when hurricanes result in substantial damage or death or for other special circumstances.
(Thanks to the NHC.)
Active tropical cyclones in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico
Atlantic Tropical Weather Outlook-
ABNT20 KNHC 211137
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 AM EDT THU AUG 21 2014
For the North Atlantic...Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico:
Shower and thunderstorm activity associated with an elongated area
of low pressure located about 350 miles east of the Lesser Antilles
has changed little in organization during the past several hours.
Environmental conditions are expected to be conducive for
development during the next day or so, and a tropical depression
could form while the system moves west-northwestward at 15 to 20
mph across the Lesser Antilles and over the eastern Caribbean
Sea. The mountainous terrain of Hispaniola and eastern Cuba could
limit development during the first part of the weekend, but
conditions are expected to become more conducive for development by
early next week when the system is forecast to move near or over the
Regardless of tropical cyclone formation, gusty winds and heavy
rainfall are possible across portions of the Lesser Antilles, Puerto
Rico, and the Virgin Islands tonight and Friday, and over Hispaniola
late Friday and Saturday. Interests in those islands should closely
monitor the progress of this disturbance. An Air Force Reserve
Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the low this
afternoon, if necessary.
* Formation chance through 48 hours...medium...50 percent.
* Formation chance through 5 days...high...70 percent.
There are no tropical cyclones at this time.-No tropical cyclones as of Thu, 21 Aug 2014 15:13:19 GMT