The Atlantic Hurricane Season begins June 1 and ends November 30. A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone, which is a generic term for a low-pressure system that generally forms in the tropics. The cyclone is accompanied by thunderstorms and, in the Northern Hemisphere, a counterclockwise circulation of winds near the earth's surface.
Tropical cyclones are classified as follows:
- Tropical Depression: A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 38 mph or less.
- Tropical Storm: A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph.
- Hurricane: A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or higher.
Hurricanes are categorized according to the strength of their winds using the 1 to 5 rating on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. This scale does not take into account other potentially deadly hazards such as storm surge, rainfall flooding, and tornadoes.