Greg Fishel's hurricane glossary

Hurricane Glossary Greg Fishel's Hurricane Vernacular

Hurricane Glossary Greg Fishel's Hurricane Vernacular

Cyclone: The region-specific name for a hurricane in the Indian Ocean and Southwest Pacific Ocean. In Australia, storms are classified as a Category 1 Cyclone once their winds reach 39 mph. That's equivalent to a tropical storm in the Atlantic Ocean.

Eye: The relatively calm area in the center of a hurricane; can range from about 5 miles to more than 50 miles across.

Eyewall: A doughnut-shaped zone of highest winds and greatest violence surrounding the eye.

Flash-flood warning: A flash flood is imminent; take immediate action. Flooding conditions can occur with little or no warning. Storm surge and rains associated with a hurricane may cause conditions favorable for flooding.

Hurricane: An intense tropical weather system with a well-defined circulation and sustained winds of 74 mph or greater.

Hurricane watch: Hurricane conditions are possible within 36 hours. Be prepared to take action if a warning is issued by the National Weather Service, and keep informed of the storm's progress.

Hurricane warning: Hurricane conditions are likely within 24 hours. Leave beachfront and low-lying areas. Leave mobile homes for more substantial shelter. Stay in your home if it is sturdy, on high ground and not near the beach. If authorities ask you to leave, GO!

Maximum sustained winds: The fastest wind speed in a storm that is sustained for a minute. The measurements are taken or estimated from an unobstructed exposure 10 feet above the ground.

Storm surge: An rise in water greater than the normal tide caused by a storm.

Storm tide: The rise of water caused by a combination of a storm surge and the normal high tide.

Tropical depression: An organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined circulation and sustained winds of 38 mph or less.

Tropical disturbance: An area of clouds and thunderstorms in the tropics that maintains its identity for 24 hours or more.

Tropical storm: An organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined circulation and sustained winds of 39-73 mph. The point at which a storm receives a name.

Typhoon: The region-specific name for a hurricane in the Northwest Pacific Ocean west of the International Dateline.

Wind gust: The peak speed that storm winds hit for three to five seconds. Typically in a hurricane, the highest wind gust is 30 percent faster than the maximum sustained wind.