Hurricane Protection Preparedness: Terms You and Your Family Should KnowDuring the summer months in South Florida, residents brace themselves for another hurricane season. Keep your family safe by familiarizing yourself with the most common hurricane protection preparedness terms.

The term “tropical cyclone” describes the set of weather conditions that people associate with hurricanes. A tropical cyclone occurs when there is a rotating system of clouds and thunderstorms located over tropical or subtropical waters.

  • Tropical depression: A mild tropical cyclone, with wind speeds of 38 mph.
  • Tropical storm: A stronger tropical cyclone, wind speeds of 39 to 79 mph.
  • Hurricane: A serious tropical cyclone with wind speeds of at least 74 mph.
  • Major hurricane: A severe tropical cyclone with wind speeds of at least 111 mph. They are designated a category depending on their severity, usually a Category 3, 4, or 5.

Always try to be aware of what the weather reports are saying about current weather conditions so that you can conduct hurricane protection preparedness actions if necessary. These reports might use the following terms:

  • Hurricane watch: When wind speeds are expected to reach 74 mph or higher, a hurricane watch will be declared at least 48 hours beforehand to give people more time to take the necessary hurricane protection preparedness steps.
  • Tropical storm watch: Similar to a hurricane watch, but for less serious tropical storm conditions involving wind speeds of 39 to 73 mph.
  • Hurricane warning: Similar to a hurricane watch, but issued 36 hours before the weather conditions are forecasted to occur. When you hear this term, you’ll want to hurry with completing your hurricane protection preparedness steps.
  • Tropical storm warning: An announcement made at least 36 hours before tropical storm conditions are forecasted to happen.
  • Extreme wind warning: This announcement is usually declared at least an hour before the sustained winds of a major hurricane, which are 115 mph or higher. This means that the eyewall is closing in. If you’re still in the area when you hear this warning, take immediate shelter.

For more information about hurricane protection preparedness, please contact us at Robert R. McGill Air Conditioning, Inc. We serve the residents of eastern Palm Beach, northern Broward and southern Martin counties.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Palm Beach County, Florida about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

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