What Are Storm Warnings?

STORM WARNINGS: Issued when winds of 55 to 73 mph (48-63 knots) are expected. If a hurricane is expected to strike a coastal area, gale or storm warnings will not usually precede hurricane warnings.

TORNADO WARNING: Indicates a tornado has been spotted. Be prepared to take shelter.

TORNADO WATCH: Conditions are favorable for this type of storm.

TROPICAL CYCLONE: A general term for all cyclonic circulations originating over tropical water.

TROPICAL DEPRESSION: Rotary circulation at the surface with a maximum constant wind speed of 38 mph.

TROPICAL DISTURBANCE: A moving area of thunderstorms in the tropics that maintains its identity for 24 hours or more. This type of disturbance is common.

TROPICAL STORM: Distinct rotary circulation with constant wind speed ranges of 39 to 73 mph.

TROPICAL STORM WARNING: Tropical storm conditions are expected within the specified coastal area within 36 hours.

TROPICAL STORM WATCH: Tropical storm conditions are possible within the specified coastal area within 48 hours.

TROPICAL WAVE: A kink or bend in the normally straight flow of the surface air in the tropics which forms a low pressure trough or pressure boundary, with showers and thunderstorms. These may eventually develop into a tropical cyclone.