Hurricane Terms: Tropical Depression, Tropical Storm, Hurricane, Storm Tide, & More

Hurricane Terms


What Do These Hurricane Weather Words Mean?

It’s important that you know these hurricane terms so that you’ll know exactly what to expect next time you hear them on the weather report. It’s really important that you know the different types of hurricane hazards so you can properly prepare. If you don’t familiarize yourself with these terms then you could be in real danger next time there’s a hurricane heading your way.

  • Tropical Depression: This term might sound like a sad pineapple sundae, but it’s actually an organized system of thunderstorms and clouds with maximum sustained winds of 38 miles per hour (33 knots) or less. By sustained, they mean it was averaged out over a one minute period at 33 feet above the surface.
  • Tropical Storm: A tropical storm is a little mightier than a tropical depression, with sustained winds of between 39 and 73 miles per hour (34–63 knots).
  • Hurricane: Hurricane the term given to a tropical storm which has winds exceeding 74 miles per hour (64 knots). Hurricanes are, however, known as different words throughout the world as cyclones, typhoons, and willy-willies (I’m not kidding).
  • Storm Surge: A storm surge is one of the major causes of damage during a hurricane. It is a dome of water which is pushed onto the shore by the tropical storm winds. These storm surges can reach up to a massive 25 feet high and be up to one thousand miles wide.
  • Storm Tide: When storm surge meets a normal tide, combining both to be an even bigger wall of water. For example, if there is a 10-foot storm surge and a 2-foot tide, the result would be a 12-foot storm tide.
  • Hurricane/Tropical Storm Watch: This means that a hurricane could possibly arrive within the next 36 hours in the specified area. If there is a hurricane watch, you need to stay tuned to the television, NOAA weather radio, or even a commercial radio station to keep up-to-date on the latest information.
  • Hurricane/Tropical Storm Warning: A warning is more serious than a watch. It means that the hurricane is expected in a specified area, generally within 24 hours. Be prepared to take the necessary action if there is a hurricane warning and make sure that you follow the advice of the authorities.
  • Short-Term Hurricane Watches & Warnings: These provide specific information about hurricane and storm threats including tornadoes and flash floods. Make sure that you keep up-to-date on all of the latest hurricane information to be able to act accordingly and keep you, your family, and your property as safe as you possibly can.

The following items can help your family survive during a hurricane:

Safety Item

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

The Lifestraw Water Filter is highly effective in removing harmful bacteria and parasites from water. Its microfiltration membrane eliminates 99.99% of waterborne bacteria, such as E. Coli and Salmonella, as well as 99.99% of waterborne parasites like Giardia and Cryptosporidium.

Safety Item

Raynic 5000 Weather Radio

This weather radio is equipped with 5 different power sources, making it the ideal choice during prolonged power outages. The hand crank, solar panel, and AC power options make it easy to keep the radio running.

Recharge Electronics

Feeke Solar Charger Power Bank

This power bank has a large cell capacity of 36800mAh, which is made possible by the use of industry-leading high-density lithium polymer cells. It is compact and has a high-quality, high-density battery that can support thousands of charge cycles.