What does all of it mean? Before you panic, make sure you understand the terms the weather man is using. A hurricane is a rotating low-pressure weather system that has organized thunderstorms but no fronts. Only tropical storms that form in the Atlantic or Northeast Pacific (near the United States) are called hurricanes. Typhoons originate in other parts of the world.

Depressions, Tropical Storm, Hurricane... Oh, My!
Hurricanes 101 | National Geographic
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But not all hurricanes are created equal. Once a storm at sea begins to strengthen, NOAA's National Hurricane Center predicts and tracks these massive storm systems to keep people safe. Generally, we don't worry about tropical storms anymore than we worry about thunderstorms. But just like with any storm, lightening, excessive rain, winds and tornadoes pose a danger. To keep an eye on the storms in the Gulf and the Atlantic check out the National Hurricane Center (click here), part of NOAA.

Depressions, Tropical Storm, Hurricane... Oh, My!
How Do Hurricanes Form? Hurricanes are the most violent storms on Earth. They form near the equator over warm ocean waters. Actually, the term hurricane is used only for the large storms that form over the Atlantic Ocean or eastern Pacific Ocean. The generic, scientific term for these storms, wherever they occur, is tropical cyclone.

We don't generally worry too much about Tropical Depressions and Storms. Even a Category 1 hurricane can be anti-climatic. But each storm is different and unpredictable. Storms change course, weaken or strengthen quickly. So all storms should be taken seriously.

Here is the breakdown of the wind strengths of each category of storm:

Winds of less than 39 mph = Tropical Depression

Winds of 39 - 73 mph = Tropical Storm

Winds of 74 - 95 mph = Hurricane Category 1

Winds of 96–110 mph = Hurricane Category 2

Winds of 111–129 mph = Hurricane Category 3

Winds of 130–156 mph = Hurricane Category 4

Winds of 157 mph or more = Hurricane Category 5

Depressions, Tropical Storm, Hurricane... Oh, My!

"Hurricane Season" begins on June 1 and ends on November 30. When you are renting a home on the beach during hurricane season, there is a chance of a storm. But you don't need to worry. If there is any hurricane evacuation or even a possibility of it, we will have plenty of warning. We will give you all the information we receive from the Santa Rosa Island Authority and weather services.

Hurricanes occur an average 12 times a year in the Atlantic basin. But we have countless storms that never make landfall. NOAA and NHC keep an eye on all of them. And so can you!

Check out the NOAA's National Hurricane Center website for updates.

Depressions, Tropical Storm, Hurricane... Oh, My!
Atlantic 5-Day Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook
This product is updated at approximately 2 AM, 8 AM, 2 PM, and 8 PM EDT from June 1 to November 30, with special outlooks issued at any time as conditions warrant. The graphic displays all currently active tropical cyclones, and disturbances with tropical cyclone formation potential over the next five days.

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Depressions, Tropical Storm, Hurricane... Oh, My!
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