What is a Hurricane?

A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone, the generic term for a low pressure system that generally forms in the tropics.

A typical cyclone is accompanied by thunderstorms, and in the Northern Hemisphere, a counterclockwise circulation of winds near the earth’s surface.

All Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas are subject to hurricanes or tropical storms.

The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June to November, with the peak season from mid-August to late October.

Why Is It Dangerous?

Hurricanes winds can exceed 155 mph and can cause catastrophic damage to coastlines and several hundred miles inland.

Hurricanes and tropical storms can also spawn tornadoes, create storm surges along the coast, and cause extensive damage from heavy rainfall.

A Tropical Storm is an organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39-73 mph.


Hurricanes are classified into five categories based on their wind speed, central pressure, and damage potential.

Category 3 and higher hurricanes are considered major hurricanes, though Categories 1 and 2 are still extremely dangerous and warrant your full attention.

Category 1:

74 – 95 mph

Category 2:

96 – 110 mph

Category 3:

111 – 130 mph

Category 4:

131 – 155 mph

Category 5:

155+ mph