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What is a Hurricane/Typhoon?

A tropical storm with winds that have reached a constant speed of 74 miles per hour or more.

What is the Difference Between a Hurricane and a Typhoon?
They are called hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and eastern Pacific Ocean. But once you go west across the International Dateline and into the western Pacific Ocean, they're called typhoons.

Hurricane/Typhoon Facts

  • Winds blow in a large spiral around a relative calm center known as the eye. The eye is generally 20 to 30 miles wide and the storm may extend outward 400 miles.
  • As it approaches, the skies will begin to darken and winds will grow in strength. As it nears land, it can bring torrential rains, high winds, and a storm surge.
  • They can last for more than two weeks over open waters.
  • Hurricane season is from 1 June through 30 November with the peak months being August and September.
  • Typhoon season is 1 January through 31 December; however 95 percent of typhoons occur after 1 May.

Know the Terms
Tropical Depression - A rotary circulation of clouds with winds up to 38 miles per hour.
Tropical Storm - A rotary circulation of clouds with winds between 39-73 miles per hour.
Hurricane/Typhoon Watch - Issued when there is a threat of hurricane conditions within 48 hours or less.
Hurricane/Typhoon Warning - Issued when hurricane conditions are expected in 36 hours or less.
Storm Surge - A huge dome of water pushed on shore by either a hurricane or typhoon. When coupled with high tide, the storm surge will be the tide and surge combined.
HURCON - Hurricane Condition.
TCCOR - Tropical Cyclone Conditions of Readiness.

Danger Zones

  • The Atlantic and Gulf coasts from Texas to Maine.
  • The territories in the Caribbean.
  • Tropical areas of the western Pacific, including Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, and Saipan.
 5  Destructive winds are POSSIBLE within 96 hours.*
 4  Destructive winds are POSSIBLE within 72 hours.
 3  Destructive winds are POSSIBLE within 48 hours.
 2  Destructive winds are ANTICIPATED within 24 hours.
 1  Destructive winds are ANTICIPATED within 12 hours.
 1C  Caution: Winds of 40-57 mph/35-49 kts sustained are OCCURRING.
 1E  Emergency: Winds of 58 mph/50 kts sustained and/or gusts of 69 mph/60 kts or greater are occurring.
 1R  Recovery: Destructive winds have subsided and are no longer forecast to occur; survey and work crews are 
 permitted to determine the extent of the damage and to establish safe zones around hazards (e.g. downed
 power lines, unstable structures). Non-essential personnel are asked to remain indoors.
* Commanders may direct an installation to stay in HURCON/TCCOR 5 for an entire Tropical Cyclone or Hurricane 
   season if desired. This is discouraged due to the potential of the base/installation population becoming complacent in
   a prolonged HURCON/TCCOR 5 status.

Actions to Consider

  • Bring in outdoor objects and anchor objects that cannot be brought inside.
  • Secure your home by closing and boarding up windows and removing outside antennas.
  • Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings. Open only when absolutely necessary and close quickly.
  • Store drinking water in disinfected bathtubs, jugs, bottles, and cooking pots.
  • Review evacuation plan and assemble your emergency supply kit.
  • Secure boats and/or RVs or move to a designated safe place. Use ropes or tie down straps to secure boats to trailers. Use tie-downs to anchor boat trailers and/or RVs to the ground or structures.
  • Make a record of your personal property. Take photos or video of the exterior and interior of your home, including personal belongings. Store the documents in a safe place. If directed to evacuate, take the documents with you


  • Listen to local radio or television for progress reports.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway in your residence. If in a multiple story building, go to the first or second floors and stay in interior rooms away from windows.
  • Stay inside and away from windows, skylights and glass doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed.
  • Do not go outside when the eye passes over. Winds and rain will soon resume.


  • If in a safe location, stay there until directed by local authorities that it is safe to leave.
  • If you evacuated your community, do not return until authorities say it is safe.
  • Tune into local radio and television stations for information about caring for your household, where to find medical help and how to apply for assistance.
  • Do not drink or prepare food with tap water until notified that it is safe.
  • Talk to your children about what happened and what they can do to help.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and report them to the power company.
  • Enter your home with caution. Beware of insects and animals driven to higher ground by the floodwaters.
  • Open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home.
  • Drive only if absolutely necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
  • Report property damage to your insurance agent immediately.

Did You Know...
Hurricanes are named to help us identify and track them as they move across the ocean. For Atlantic Ocean hurricanes, the names may be French, Spanish, or English, since these are the major languages bordering the Atlantic Ocean where the storms occur. Sometimes names are "retired" if a hurricane has had a significant impact.
Tornadoes and flooding can also occur during this event. Please review information on "tornadoes" and "floods".

Contact your local or Installation's Office of Emergency Management for more information.