- Category 1: wind speed of 74-95 mph; very dangerous winds will produce some damage
- Category 2: wind speed of 96-110 mph; extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage
- Category 3: wind speed of 111-129 mph; devastating damage will occur
- Category 4: wind speed of 130-156 mph; catastrophic damage will occur
- Category 5: wind speed more than 156 mph; catastrophic damage will occur
The roughly circular area of comparatively light winds at the center of a storm.
A hurricane warning is an announcement that sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are expected. The warning can remain in effect — even if winds are less than hurricane force — when dangerously high water, or dangerously high water waves are present.
A hurricane watch is an announcement that sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are possible. A watch is issued about 48 hours before a storm is expected to reach tropical storm force, because preparations are difficult once that happens.
When meteorologists say a hurricane will make landfall soon, they are talking about when the eye of the storm meets the coastline.
A hurricane that is classified as Category 3 or higher.
An abnormal rise in sea level accompanying a hurricane or other intense storm. Storm surge is usually estimated by subtracting the normal or astronomic high tide from the observed storm tide.