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    WATCH = Be alert!

     WARNING = Take action !


  • HAIL - ball of ice that falls from a cumulonimbus cloud/thunderstorm
    • Penny = 3/4 inch
    • Nickel / Mothball = 0.88 inch
    • Quarter = 1 inch
    • Half Dollar = 1.25 inches
    • Walnut / Ping Pong = 1.50 inches
    • Golf Ball = 1.75 inches
    • Tennis Ball = 2.5 inches
    • Baseball = 2.75 inches
    • Grapefruit = 4 inches
  • SEVERE THUNDERSTORM - a thunderstorm which produces
    • hail 3/4 of an inch or greater
    • winds greater than 58 mph
    • damage to trees, telephone/utility poles or any structure
    • tornado


    • F0     40  to  72 mph    light damage
    • F1     73  to 112 mph   moderate damage
    • F2    113 to 157 mph   considerable damage
    • F3    158 to 206 mph   severe damage
    • F4    207 to 260 mph   devastating damage
    • F5    261 to 318 mph   incredible damage
  • FUNNEL-CLOUD - a funnel-shaped cloud extending downward from the base of a thunderstorm which is rapidly rotating and does NOT come into contact with the ground or objects on the ground.
  • TORNADO - a funnel-shaped cloud extending downward from the base of a severe thunderstorm which is rapidly rotating and comes into contact with the ground or any objects on the ground.
  • WATERSPOUT - a tornado that occurs over the waters.


  • HURRICANE - maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or greater.
  • HURRICANE LOCAL STATEMENT - issued by your local NWS Forecast Office when a hurricane or tropical storm watch or warning is issued for the local area. It contains highly detailed information about present and/or anticipated storm affects such as: watches and/or warnings in effect, storm information, precaution/preparedness information, storm surge and tidal impacts, wind impacts, rainfall and flooding impacts, the tornado threat and update information.
  • HURRICANE SEASON - June through November for the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea & Gulf of Mexico. Peak threat to United States is from the middle of August through late October.
    • Category 1    74 to 95 mph
    • Category 2    96 to 110 mph
    • Category 3    111 to 130 mph
    • Category 4    131 to 155 mph
    • Category 5    greater than 156 mph
  • TROPICAL CYCLONE PUBLIC ADVISORY - issued by the National Hurricane Center. The advisory contains a list of all current watches and warnings on a tropical cyclone. The cyclone position is given in terms of latitude and longitude coordinates and distance from a selected land point or island, as well as the current motion. The advisory includes the maximum sustained winds in miles per hour and the estimated or measured minimum central pressure in millibars and inches. Public advisories are normally issued every six hours. They may be issued every two or three hours when coastal watches or warnings are in effect. Special public advisories may be issued at any time due to significant changes in warnings or in the cyclone. They are broadcast over local NOAA Weather Radio when the tropical storm or hurricane is located west of longitude 50 degrees West.
  • TROPICAL DEPRESSION - an organized area of low pressure where sustained surface winds are 38 mph or less.
  • TROPICAL STORM - a strong area of low pressure associated with maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph. It is at this point a tropical cyclone gets a name.
  • TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK - issued four times a day during the hurricane season by the National Hurricane Center. The outlook is a discussion of significant areas of disturbed weather and their potential for development out to 48 hours.
  • TROPICAL WEATHER SUMMARY - issued by the National Hurricane Center. The summary is issued on the first of every month during the hurricane season. It describes the previous month's tropical cyclone activity and gives details on the cyclones as known at that time. The last Tropical Weather Summary of the season gives an brief account of the whole season.


  • HEAT INDEX - what the temperature feels like to the human body based on both the air temperature and humidity.
  • HUMIDITY - the measured amount of moisture in the air.
  • OZONE HEALTH ADVISORY - issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation when ozone levels in outdoor air are predicted to be greater than 0.08 ppm when averaged over an 8 hour period. The "ozone / advisory season" typically runs from May 15 until September 15. Ozone forecasts are updated Monday through Friday by 11 am and are not updated on the weekends. Ozone Health Advisory are broadcast over NOAA Weather Radio.



  • TYPES OF FLOODING - coastal, dam failures, ice jams, rivers, small streams, and urban.
  • COASTAL FLOODING - the inundation of land areas along the ocean coast caused by sea waters over and above normal tidal action that may be originate from the ocean front, back bays, sounds, or other bodies of ocean water.


  • WIND - the movement of air from areas of higher pressure to areas of lower pressure. The greater the difference in pressure the stronger the winds. Wind direction is defined by the direction it is coming from.



    • Slight Chance or Isolated = 10% 20%
    • Chance or Scattered = 30% 40% 50%
    • Likely or Numerous = 60% 70%
    • Occasional or Periods = 80% 90% 100%


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Page last modified: Oct 30, 2005
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