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Hurricane Response

Hurricane Ike
GALVESTON, Texas (Sept. 12, 2008) - The surge before the storm engulfs Galveston Island, Texas, as Hurricane Ike approaches Sept. 12, 2008. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Hurricane season in the Atlantic is June 1-November 30

Galveston Storm (1900)        Hurricane Alicia (1983)        Hurricane Ike (2008)

Watches and Warnings

Hurricanes form over warm ocean waters, like those found in the Gulf of Mexico. The hurricane season starts June 1 and ends November 30,  however, hurricanes can (and have) struck the Texas coast during every month of the hurricane season.

Since 1851, 63 hurricanes have hit the Texas coast. That is one every three years on average.

Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions are possible within the specified coastal area. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane watch is typically issued 36 to 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical storm-force winds.

Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions are expected in the specified area of the warning. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane warning is typically issued 24 to 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings: Take these alerts seriously. Although Tropical Storms have lower wind speeds than hurricanes, they often bring life-threatening flooding and dangerous winds. Take precautions.

It is virtually impossible for a hurricane to strike with no warning, but it's not unheard of go directly to a WARNING and not issue a WATCH as some cyclones can develop quickly and close to land. Be ready to move quickly.

Monitor the tropics through local radio and television and NOAA Weather radio.

Definitions to Know

TROPICAL DEPRESSION: An organized system of persistent clouds and thunderstorms with a closed low-level circulation and maximum winds of 38 mph or less.

TROPICAL CYCLONE: A general term used to describe a tropical depression, tropical storm, or hurricane.

TROPICAL STORM: An organized system of strong thunderstorms with a well defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph.

HURRICANE: An intense tropical weather system with a well defined circulation and sustained winds of 74 mph or higher.

HURRICANE/TROPICAL STORM WATCH: Hurricane or Tropical Storm conditions are possible in the watch area within 48 hours.

HURRICANE/TROPICAL STORM WARNING: Hurricane or Tropical Storm conditions are possible in the warning area within 36 hours.

Hurricane Preparedness Tips