Tropical Cyclones

Tropical cyclones are the biggest threat to the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Hurricanes and Tropical Storms are categorized as tropical cyclones. Tropical cyclones are generally low pressure systems that forms over tropical waters and rotate inward with high wind speeds. Tropical cyclones in the Northern Hemisphere rotate counterclockwise. When they make landfall, tropical cyclones can bring high waves, tornadoes, damaging winds, torrential rains, and floods affecting power, roadways, homes, and buildings. While these storms directly impact coastal areas, effects from tropical cyclones can be felt for hundreds of miles inland.

Types of Tropical Cyclones:

  • Tropical Depression – A tropical cyclone with wind speeds up to 38 mph.
  • Tropical Storm - A tropical cyclone with wind speeds from 39 mph up to 73 mph.
  • Hurricane - A tropical cyclone with wind speeds 74mph or higher is considered to be a Category 1 hurricane by the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
  • Major Hurricane - A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 111 mph or higher, corresponds to a Category 3, 4 or 5.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 - November 30 each year.

Hurricanes are categorized by the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, which categorizes hurricanes from Category 1 (lowest strength) to Category 5 (highest strength). The following is a table showing the Saffir-Simpson Scale (Table 4).

Know the Difference: Watch vs. Warning

  • Tropical Storm Watch - winds of 39 to 73 mph are possible within 48 hours.
  • Tropical Storm Warning - winds of 39 to 73 mph are possible within 36 hours.
  • Hurricane Watch - conditions with sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are possible within 48 hours (2 days) of anticipated onset of tropical- storm-force winds. Watches are issued in advance of the storm to provide enough lead time to set response actions into motion for life safety. Purchase extra gas, food and water, close shutters, and relocate to a safe area.
  • Hurricane Warning - conditions with sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are possible within 36 hours of the onset of tropical- storm-force winds. A warning is issued when conditions pose a threat to life or property.
Visit these websites for more information about tropical cyclones and steps to take to keep your family safe:

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Information is the key to developing hazard awareness and keeping families safe. Download the Hazard Awareness Guide.

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