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8/26/2011
Hurricane prep: know your terminology

When staying up-to-date on the progress of hurricanes, the Red Cross stresses understanding the terminology. The following are some terms and definitions the Red Cross encourages everyone to understand:

  • HURRICANE WATCH: Hurricane conditions are possible in the specified area of the watch, usually within 36 hours;
  • HURRICANE WARNING: Hurricane conditions are expected in the specified area of the warning – usually within 24 hours;
  • HURRICANE CATEGORIES: These designations are based on wind speed:
    • CATEGORY 1: winds 74-95 mph; light building damage; coastal flooding; minor pier damage;
    • CATEGORY 2: winds 96-110 mph; damage to roofs, doors and windows; considerable damage to mobile homes; floods damage piers and small craft; some trees blow down;
    • CATEGORY 3: winds 111-130 mph; structural damage to small residences; large trees blow down; mobile homes destroyed; coastal flooding destroys smaller structures; flooding inland;
    • CATEGORY 4: winds 131-155 mph; complete roof failures; major beach erosion; inland flooding and tornadoes; and
    • CATEGORY 5: winds 156 mph and over; roofs destroyed on homes and industrial buildings; complete building failures; severe flooding.

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