Storm watch glossary: Important words you need to know
You'll be hearing a lot of weather jargon in the next few days. Here's some help:
Eye: The relatively calm center of the hurricane, where winds are around 15 mph.
Eyewall: A ring of cumulonimbus clouds near the center, where the strongest winds are found.
Hurricane watch: Sustained winds greater than 74 mph possible.
Hurricane warning: Sustained winds greater than 74 mph expected.
Landfall: The intersection of the surface center of a tropical cyclone with a coastline.
Rain bands: Curved bands of clouds and thunderstorms that spiral away from the center of the hurricane.
Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale: A 1 to 5 categorization based on a hurricane's intensity.
- Cat 1: Very dangerous winds between 74 mph and 95 mph, will produce damage
- Cat 2: Extremely dangerous winds between 96 and 110 mph, extensive damage
- Cat 3: Winds between 111 and 129, devastating damage
- Cat 4: Winds between 130 and 156, catastrophic damage
- Cat 5: Winds > 157
Storm surge: That's the abnormal rise of water generated by a storm's winds. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says storm surge is historically the leading cause of hurricane-related deaths in the U.S. It can travel miles inland, especially up bays and rivers.
Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that hurricane watches and warnings are defined by sustained winds greater than 74 mph (not 64 mph).
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