The Eastern Pacific hurricane season runs May 15 through November 30 while the Atlantic hurricane season runs June 1 through November 30. As Tropical Storm Bill pounds the Texas coast and moves inland, this second named storm reminds us to become familiar with the hurricane-related notifications issued by the National Weather Service (NWS), including watches and warnings.
- Hurricane Watch: An announcement that sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are possible within a specified area. Watches are issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical storm force winds. During a watch, tune in to your NOAA Weather Radio, local radio, or television for information and conduct outside preparedness activities. You can use the America’s PrepareAthon! How to Prepare for a Hurricane Guide for help with storm preparations.
- Hurricane Warning: An announcement that sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are expected within a specified area. Warnings are issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical storm force winds. During a warning, complete storm preparations and immediately leave the threatened area if directed by local officials.
Threats from hurricanes include high winds, heavy rainfall, tornadoes, coastal and inland flooding, and storm surge. According to NWS, storm surge produced by hurricanes is one of the greatest threats to life and property along the coast. To learn more about storm surge, take a look at this clip from the National Hurricane Center.