Hurricane preparedness: What you need to know when tropical watches, warnings are issued

Knowing what each one means is key

As hurricane season approaches, it’s important to know the different watches and warnings issued by the National Weather Service. Here is a breakdown of the tropical alerts you may come across during hurricane season:

ORLANDO, Fla. – This week marks Hurricane Preparedness Week across the country.

As hurricane season approaches, it’s important to know the different watches and warnings issued by the National Weather Service. Here is a breakdown of the tropical alerts you may come across during hurricane season:

Tropical Storm Watch

  • Tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within the next 48 hours.

Tropical Storm Warning

  • Tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected within the next 36 hours.

Hurricane Watch

  • Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are possible.
  • They’re issued 48 hours before anticipation of tropical storm-force winds. It becomes difficult to complete preparations in winds of this magnitude.

Hurricane Warning

  • Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are expected.
  • They’re issued 36 hours before anticipation of tropical storm-force winds. All preparations should be complete and you should evacuate if ordered.

Storm Surge Watch

  • There’s a possibility of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline.
  • They’re generally issued within 48 hours from the projected start of inundation.

Storm Surge Warning

  • There is a danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline. If you’re under a storm surge warning, check to see if evacuation orders have been given by local officials.
  • They’re generally issued within 36 hours from the projected start of inundation

Extreme Wind Warning

  • Issued when sustained surface winds are expected to be 115 mph or greater during a hurricane.
  • This means the rapid onset of destructive winds is imminent. This should be treated as a tornado warning. Take shelter in a sturdy building in the inner-most room on the lowest level.
  • The first ever extreme wind warning issued for Brevard County was in 2016 during Hurricane Matthew.

Flash Flood Warning

  • This means life-threatening flash flooding, rapidly rising water, is occurring or is expected shortly.
  • Seek higher ground immediately. Never drive through flooded roadways
  • This is also issued for non-tropical events.

About the Author:

Jonathan Kegges joined the News 6 team in June 2019 as the Weekend Morning Meteorologist. Jonathan comes from Roanoke, Virginia where he covered three EF-3 tornadoes and deadly flooding brought on by Hurricanes Florence and Michael.