It’s that time of year again-hurricane season-and there’s really no better time to make sure that you understand the terminology, used by meteorologists, so that you can fully understand the situations and potential risks as they occur. Some of these terms you’ve heard before, others you may not be as familiar with, but all of these hurricane-related terms are important to know.
Hurricane season: The part of the year in which there is a relatively high incidence of hurricanes. The hurricane season in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico runs from June 1 to November 30. In the Eastern Pacific basin it runs from May 15 to November 30. Hurricane season in the Central Pacific basin runs from June 1 to November 30. Remember that this is just the hurricane season, and that hurricanes can and do occur outside of these windows.
Air pressure: Air pressure is the force exerted by air, whether compressed or unconfined, on any surface in contact with it. When more air is present over an area, a column of atmosphere has more weight, which results in high pressure. When air is removed from the column, low air pressure is the result. Hurricanes are such a powerful source of suction mainly because of their low pressure center. Typically, the rule is, the lower the pressure, the more intense the hurricane.
Cyclone: This is a blanket term for any area of low pressure that has a closed circulation. Hurricanes, tropical storms, Typhoons and tropical depressions are all cyclones because they are closed areas of low pressure.
Hurricane Watch: Sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are possible and may occur within the specified area in association with a tropical cyclone. Because hurricane preparedness activities can become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.
Hurricane Warning: Sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are expected to occur somewhere within a specified area in association with a tropical cyclone. The warning is typically issued 36 hours before the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.
Storm surge: This is an abnormal rise in sea levels, accompanying a hurricane or other intense storm, creating possible life-threatening situations.
Eye: Clear, sometimes well-defined center of the storm with much calmer conditions than the outer layers of the storm. The eye is either completely or partially surrounded by the eyewall cloud.
Eye Wall: The area surrounding the eye, containing some of the most severe weather of all of the storm, with the highest wind speed and largest precipitation.
Rain Bands: Bands of precipitation coming off the hurricane that produce severe weather conditions such as heavy rain, wind and tornadoes.
Indirect hit: This term generally refers to areas that do not receive a direct hit from a hurricane but do experience hurricane-force winds or tides of at least 4 feet above normal.
Tropical depression: An organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation where the maximum sustained surface wind speed is 38 mph.
Tropical disturbance: A generic term used for discrete weather systems that originate in the tropics or subtropics and maintain their form for at least 24 hours or more.
Category: You will often hear meteorologists referring to a category when discussing a hurricane. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. It is a 1 to 5 category rating system based on the hurricane’s maximum sustained wind speed. This scale estimates potential property damage in five specific categories:
Category 1: 74- 95 mph.
Damage potential: minimal
Category 2: 96-110 mph.
Damage potential: extensive
Category 3: 111-129 mph.
Damage potential: devastating
Category 4: 130-156 mph.
Damage potential: catastrophic
Category 5: greater than 157 mph.
Damage potential: catastrophic
During the hurricane season, especially, it is important to pay attention to the weather reports and keep yourself informed of any possible storm activity. Also, be sure to pay attention to any evacuation orders and curfews put in place for your protection. Protect your home and belongings from the storm by installing impact windows and doors through out.
Installing impact windows and doors that are hurricane-safe and with a high DP rating, protects your home, belongings and loved ones from the flying debris and heavy winds of the storm. Have peace of mind, with East Coast Windows! Call us today at (954) 946-3697 to get more information about our doors, windows, and services, or get a free quote by filling out our online form!