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.)
Hurricane & Tropical Storm
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Active tropical cyclones in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico
Atlantic Tropical Weather Outlook
ABNT20 KNHC 070549
SPECIAL TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
150 AM EDT THU MAY 7 2015
For the North Atlantic...Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico:
A non-tropical low pressure system located about 220 miles
south-southeast of the South Carolina-North Carolina border has been
nearly stationary the past several hours. Showers and thunderstorms
are gradually becoming better organized and environmental conditions
are expected to become more conducive for development over the next
day or so while this system moves slowly northward and then
northwestward. A subtropical or tropical cyclone could form later
today or on Friday, and interests along the southeast coast of the
United States should monitor the progress of this system. An Air
Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate
the low later this morning. Regardless of development, heavy rain is
possible over portions of the coastal southeastern United States
beginning later today. The next Special Tropical Weather Outlook
will be issued on this system by 8 AM EDT this morning. For
additional information, see products from your local National
Weather Service forecast office and High Seas Forecasts issued by
the National Weather Service.
* Formation chance through 48 hours...high...70 percent
* Formation chance through 5 days...high...70 percent
High Seas Forecasts issued by the National Weather Service are
available under AWIPS header NFDHSFAT1, WMO header FZNT01 KWBC, and
on the Web at http://www.opc.ncep.noaa.gov/shtml/NFDHSFAT1.shtml
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th.
-The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th.