A severe tropical storm, originating in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico or in the eastern Pacific Ocean and has sustained winds of 74 miles per hour, is classified as a hurricane. These low-pressure systems develop over warm water, generally in the tropics. If the right conditions last long enough, a hurricane can produce violent winds, incredible waves, torrential rains and floods.
Hurricanes rotate in a counterclockwise direction around an “eye” and are categorized into five levels, depending on wind strength. There are on average six Atlantic hurricanes each year; over a three year period, approximately five hurricanes strike the United States coastline from Texas to Maine. In the North Atlantic, a distinct hurricane season occurs from June 1 to November 30, sharply peaking from late August through November.
Since these storms take time to develop and make landfall and can be tracked, residents of hurricane-prone areas have time to protect and prepare their property for the coming storm and to decide if evacuation of the area is necessary. Even with the early warnings, creating a storm plan before a hurricane is imminent is crucial.
Before The Storm: Preparing For A Hurricane
Protecting Your Property From Hurricanes (PDF Format)
Categories Of Hurricanes