TROPICAL DEPRESSION - A storm or cluster of storms which is forming a circular pattern with sustained winds less than 39MPH.
TROPICAL STORM - A tropical depression which has formed a circular pattern and has intensified to between 40MPH and 70MPH. Very heavy thunderstorms and a low pressure area has developed over the center or eye of the storm.
HURRICANE - A tropical storm which has intensified to 75MPH and has high tides, strong winds, and heavy rainfall. Their are 5 categories of hurricane intensity:
Storm surge is the difference between sea level, at the time of the storm, and mean sea level.
Category I - 75 to 95 MPH winds; 4 to 5 foot storm surge below eye of storm.
Category II - 96 to 110 MPH winds; 6 to 8 foot storm surge.
Category III - 111 to 130 MPH winds; 9 to 12 foot storm surge.
Category IV - 131 to 155 MPH winds; 13 to 18 foot storm surge.
Category V - greater than 155 MPH winds and 18 foot storm surge.
HURRICANE WATCH - A hurricane may threaten an area within 24 hours.
HURRICANE WARNING - A hurricane is expected to strike an area within 24 hours.