Definitions of Storm Alerts,
Watches & Warnings
An organized, tropical, low-pressure system with sustained winds blowing counterclockwise around the center at speeds less than 39 MPH (34 knots).
An organized system of low atmospheric pressure originating over tropical water with strong thunderstorms defined circulation and sustained winds of 39-73 MPH (64 knots). Tropical Storms can quickly develop into hurricanes. Storms are issued a name when they reach Tropical Storm strength
A hurricane watch indicates that hurricane conditions are possible within 24-36 hours. When a tropical storm or hurricane becomes a threat to coastal areas, the National Weather Service issues an announcement to the public, and all other interests, via the news through radio and television. A Hurricane Watch is not a Warning, it is an indication that a hurricane is near and everyone in the area covered by the “watch” should listen for subsequent advisories and updates and be ready to take precautionary action in case hurricane warnings are issued.
A hurricane warning indicates that hurricane conditions are expected within 24 hours or less. Winds of 74 MPH (64 knots) and higher, or a combination of dangerously high water and very rough seas (in this case winds as low as 60 MPH) are expected in a specified area. When a hurricane warning is announced, hurricane conditions are considered imminent and may begin immediately, or within 12 to 24 hours. It is of utmost importance that all precautionary measures and actions be instituted immediately for the protection of life and property, when a hurricane warning is announced.