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Plan & Prepare

Glossary of Hurricane Terms

Here are some of the most common terms forecasters use when discussing hurricanes and tropical storms:

  • Advisory: Hurricane and storm information is disseminated to the public every six hours.
  • Special Advisory: Information is disseminated when there is significant change in storm-related weather conditions.
  • Gale Warning: Sustained winds of 35-54 mph and strong wave action are expected.
  • Storm Warning: Sustained winds of 55-73 mph are expected.
  • Hurricane Watch: There is a threat of hurricane conditions within 24-36 hours.
  • Hurricane Warning: A hurricane is expected to strike within 24 hours or less, with sustained winds of 74 mph or more and dangerously high water.
  • Tropical Disturbance: A moving area of thunderstorms is in the tropics.
  • Tropical Depression: An area of low pressure, rotary circulation of clouds and winds up to 38 mph is identified.
  • Tropical Storm: A storm characterized by counterclockwise circulation of clouds and winds 39-73 is brewing.
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New Jersey Office of Emergency Management
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Trenton, NJ 08628


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