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Track The Tropics has been the #1 source to track the tropics 24/7 since 2013! The main goal of the site is to bring all of the important links and graphics to ONE PLACE so you can keep up to date on any threats to land during the Atlantic Hurricane Season! Hurricane Season 2024 in the Atlantic starts on June 1st and ends on November 30th. Love Spaghetti Models? Well you've come to the right place!! Remember when you're preparing for a storm: Run from the water; hide from the wind!

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale
Category Wind Speed Storm Surge
  mph ft
5 ≥157 >18
4 130–156 13–18
3 111–129 9–12
2 96–110 6–8
1 74–95 4–5
Additional Classifications
Tropical Storm 39–73 0–3
Tropical Depression 0–38 0
The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is a classification used for most Western Hemisphere tropical cyclones that exceed the intensities of "tropical depressions" and "tropical storms", and thereby become hurricanes. Source: Intellicast

Hurricane Season 101

The official Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season runs from June 1st to November 30th.

A tropical cyclone is a warm-core, low pressure system without any “front” attached. It develops over tropical or subtropical waters, and has an organized circulation. Depending upon location, tropical cyclones have different names around the world. The Tropical Cyclones we track in the Atlantic basin are called Tropical Depressions, Tropical Storms and Hurricanes!

Atlantic Basin Tropical Cyclones are classified as follows:

Tropical Depression: Organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with defined surface circulation and max sustained winds of 38 mph or less.

Tropical Storm: Organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39-73 mph.

Hurricane: Intense tropical weather system of strong thunderstorms with a well-defined surface circulation. A Hurricane has max sustained winds of 74 mph or higher!

The difference between Tropical Storm and Hurricane Watches, Warnings, Advisories and Outlooks

Warnings:Listen closely to instructions from local officials on TV, radio, cell phones or other computers for instructions from local officials.Evacuate immediately if told to do so.

  • Storm Surge Warning: There is a danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline somewhere within the specified area. This is generally within 36 hours. If you are under a storm surge warning, check for evacuation orders from your local officials.
  • Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are expected somewhere within the specified area. NHC issues a hurricane warning 36 hours in advance of tropical storm-force winds to give you time to complete your preparations. All preparations should be complete. Evacuate immediately if so ordered.
  • Tropical Storm Warning: Tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected within your area within 36 hours.
  • Extreme Wind Warning: Extreme sustained winds of a major hurricane (115 mph or greater), usually associated with the eyewall, are expected to begin within an hour. Take immediate shelter in the interior portion of a well-built structure.

Please note that hurricane and tropical storm watches and warnings for winds on land as well as storm surge watches and warnings can be issued for storms that the NWS believes will become tropical cyclones but have not yet attained all of the characteristics of a tropical cyclone (i.e., a closed low-level circulation, sustained thunderstorm activity, etc.). In these cases, the forecast conditions on land warrant alerting the public. These storms are referred to as “potential tropical cyclones” by the NWS.
Hurricane, tropical storm, and storm surge watches and warnings can also be issued for storms that have lost some or all of their tropical cyclone characteristics, but continue to produce dangerous conditions. These storms are called “post-tropical cyclones” by the NWS.

Watches: Listen closely to instructions from local officials on TV, radio, cell phones or other computers for instructions from local officials. Evacuate if told to do so.

  • Storm Surge Watch: Storm here is a possibility of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline somewhere within the specified area, generally within 48 hours. If you are under a storm surge watch, check for evacuation orders from your local officials.
  • Hurricane Watch: Huriricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are possible within your area. Because it may not be safe to prepare for a hurricane once winds reach tropical storm force, The NHC issues hurricane watches 48 hours before it anticipates tropical storm-force winds.
  • Tropical Storm Watch: Tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within the specified area within 48 hours.


  • Tropical Cyclone Public Advisory:The Tropical Cyclone Public Advisory contains a list of all current coastal watches and warnings associated with an ongoing or potential tropical cyclone, a post-tropical cyclone, or a subtropical cyclone. It also provides the cyclone position, maximum sustained winds, current motion, and a description of the hazards associated with the storm.
  • Tropical Cyclone Track Forecast Cone:This graphic shows areas under tropical storm and hurricane watches and warnings, the current position of the center of the storm, and its predicted track. Forecast uncertainty is conveyed on the graphic by a “cone” (white and stippled areas) drawn such that the center of the storm will remain within the cone about 60 to 70 percent of the time. Remember, the effects of a tropical cyclone can span hundreds of miles. Areas well outside of the cone often experience hazards such as tornadoes or inland flooding from heavy rain.


  • Tropical Weather Outlook:The Tropical Weather Outlook is a discussion of significant areas of disturbed weather and their potential for development during the next 5 days. The Outlook includes a categorical forecast of the probability of tropical cyclone formation during the first 48 hours and during the entire 5-day forecast period. You can also find graphical versions of the 2-day and 5-day Outlook here

Be sure to read up on tons of more information on Hurricane knowledge, preparedness, statistics and history under the menu on the left hand side of the page!

TrackTheTropics Resource Links

CONUS Hurricane Strikes

[Map of 1950-2017 CONUS Hurricane Strikes]
Total Hurricane Strikes 1900-2010 Total Hurricane Strikes 1900-2010 Total MAJOR Hurricane Strikes 1900-2010 Total Major Hurricane Strikes 1900-2010 Western Gulf Hurricane Strikes Western Gulf Hurricane Strikes Western Gulf MAJOR Hurricane Strikes Western Gulf Major Hurricane Strikes Eastern Gulf Hurricane Strikes Eastern Gulf Hurricane Strikes Eastern Gulf MAJOR Hurricane Strikes Eastern Gulf Major Hurricane Strikes SE Coast Hurricane Strikes SE Coast Hurricane Strikes SE Coast MAJOR Hurricane Strikes SE Coast Major Hurricane Strikes NE Coast Hurricane Strikes NE Coast Hurricane Strikes NE Coast MAJOR Hurricane Strikes NE Coast Major Hurricane Strikes

Tropical Cyclone Safety

Owlie Skywarn: Hurricane Safety Book (pdf)There is an old saying “An ounce of prevention is a pound of cure.”. This is never more true than when it come to tropical cyclones and the damage they can cause. With some simple fore thought and planning, you can greatly reduce the risk of loss of your loved ones and important documents. The following are ways you can help protect your past, present, future, and peace of mind. This is your call to action! 

Protecting Your Past

After loved ones, people most regret loosing valuables (such as jewelry), items from the families past (such as photos and mementos), and important papers to natural disasters. While most of the appliances and furniture can be replaced, it is the treasured keepsakes and important documentation most regret loosing. These items include but are not limited to…

  • Family Records (Birth, Marriage, Death Certificates),
  • Inventory of Household goods,
  • Copy of Will, Insurance policies, contracts, deeds, etc.,
  • Record of credit card account numbers and companies,
  • Passports, Social Security Cards, immunization records, and
  • Valuable computer information.

Depending upon your particular tropical cyclone hazard(s), you have several options you can due to minimize the risk of loosing these items.

Storm Surge
Storm surges undermine building foundations by constant agitation of the water piled high by the tropical cyclone. The end result can be a complete demolishing of homes and businesses. If the storm is bad enough you will be asked evacuate and head inland to safety.In this case, you need to plan ahead for that possibility. For your valuables, have several large rubber storage containers available in which you place your photos and mementos so you can take them with you when you evacuate.

Wind and Squalls
Like the storm surge, hurricane force wind can destroy buildings. If a hurricane threatens your location your response should be the same as with the storm surge. Place your valuable in large rubber storage containers so you can take them with you should you need to evacuate.
Inland Flooding
Even in the most severe inland flood events, houses usually are not completely submerged.If you live well inland and storm surges and hurricane force winds will not be a problem, you could still be affected by flooding from very heavy rains. However, even in the most severe inland flood events, houses usually are not completely submerged. Simple precautionary steps now will help you save your memories.Begin with simply hanging pictures a little higher on the wall. This will help diminish the threat of loosing them forever to floods. Do you have extra photos laying around that may not be displayed? If they are not on display, place them in plastic storage containers and store them in the attic. Have an extra, empty plastic storage container available to quickly gather jewelry, mementos, and other displayed photos and place the container in the atticshould a flood emergency arrive.

If a flooding is occurring at your home, immediately shut off your electricity at the circuit breakers. This will prevent short circuiting electrical appliance such as refrigerators. In many cases, with minor flooding, the refrigerator will just need to be cleaned and can be put back into use again. If the power was left on in a flood, the short circuit will make repairs very costly.

Also, if you normally keep valuable documents in a fire-proof safe, check to insure it is water-proof as well. Awater-resistant safe might not prevent water from entering the safe should it become submerged in a flood.

Protecting Your Present

Help protect your present dwelling by retrofitting your home. The most important precaution you can take to reduce damage to your home and property is to protect the areas where wind can enter. According to recent wind technology research, it’s important to strengthen the exterior of your house so wind and debris do not tear large openings in it. You can do this by protecting and reinforcing these four critical areas:

A great time to start securing, or retrofitting, your house is when you are making other improvements or constructing additions. Remember: building codes reflect the lessons experts have learned from past catastrophes. Contact the local building code official to find out what requirements are necessary for your home improvement projects.

Help protect your present dwelling through flood insurance.
When you hear hurricane, think flooding, both from storm surge and from inland flooding. Learn your vulnerability to flooding by determining the elevation of your property. Evaluate your insurance coverage; as construction grows around areas, floodplains change.

Why flood insurance? Because damage from floods are not usually covered by homeowners policies. Flood insurance is affordable. The average flood insurance policy costs a little more than $300 a year for about $100,000 of coverage. In comparison, a disaster home loan can cost you more than $300 a month for $50,000 over 20 years.

You should know that usually you can get flood insurance, if available, by contacting your regular homeowners insurance agent. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and others recommend that everyone in special flood hazard areas buy flood insurance. If you buy a home or refinance your home your mortgage lender or banker may require flood insurance. But, even if not required, it is a good investment especially in areas that flood frequently or where flood forces are likely to cause major damage.

Help protect your present dwelling through flood insuranceIf you are in a flood area, consider what mitigation measure you can do in advance. For example, in highly flood-prone areas, keep materials on hand like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, plastic garbage bags, lumber, shovels, work boots and gloves. Call your local emergency management agency to learn how to construct proper protective measures around your home.

There is usually a 30-day waiting period before the coverage goes into effect. Plan ahead so you’re not caught without flood insurance when a flood from tropical cyclones threatens your home or business. Remember, federal disaster assistance is not the answer. Federal disaster assistance is only available if the President declares a disaster. More than 90 percent of all disasters in the United States are not Presidentially declared. Flood insurance pays even if a disaster is not declared.

National Flood Insurance Program call 1.888.379.9531, TTY# 1.800.427.5593.

Protecting Your Future

The previous “Calls To Action” were concerned mainly about your property. The following steps are primarily for your protection and to help ensure the safety of your loved ones.

Your best protection is to know when there is a threat of hazardous weather. Before the start of the tropical cyclone season, obtain a NOAA Weather Radio and listen to the forecast directly from your local National Weather Service Office. Not only will to be better informed concerning tropical weather systems, you will be able to be alerted to all types of hazardous weather that could affect you.

At the start of the tropical cyclone season…

  • Monitor your NOAA Weather Radio for tropical weather updates and visit the NWS Southern Region’s Tropical Weather Update.
  • Review your evacuation routes. Contact the local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter, and ask for the community hurricane preparedness plan. This plan should include information on the safest evacuation routes and nearby shelters. These routes may change from year to year depending upon local construction.
  • Make a disaster supply kit that includes…
    • At least two waterproof flashlights with extra, fresh batteries,
    • Portable, battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio and AM/FM radio with extra, fresh batteries,
    • Either purchase an approved American Red Cross First Aid Kit or put your own together. Include…
      • Assorted sizes of sterile adhesive bandages, sterile gauze pads, and roller bandages,
      • Hypoallergenic adhesive tape and triangular bandages,
      • Scissors, tweezers, needle and thread, and assorted sizes of safety pins,
      • Medicine dropper and thermometer,
      • Safety razor and blades,
      • Bar of soap, moistened towelettes packages and antiseptic spray,
      • Tongue blades and wooden applicator sticks,
      • Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant,
      • Cleansing agent, and
      • latex gloves.
    • Disposable camera with flash,
    • Emergency food and eating supplies…
      • Non-perishable packaged or canned foods and juices (check the expiration dates),
      • Special foods for infants or the elderly (check the expiration dates),
      • Cooking tools and fuel,
      • Paper plates and plastic utensils, and
      • A non-electric can opener.
    • Fire Extinguisher – Class ABC extinguishes can be safely used on any type of fire, including electrical, grease or gas.
  • Plan to take care of your pets. Contact your local humane society for information on local animal shelters as pets may not be allowed into emergency shelters for health and space reasons. Also, store two weeks of pet supplies.
  • Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1, police, or fire department and which radio station to tune to for emergency information.
  • Prepare your protection for your windows. If you wait until a hurricane watch is in effect, plywood may be in short supply. Use ½” plywood (marine plywood is best) cut to fit each window. Remember to mark which board fits which window. Read more about window protection.
  • Trim trees and remove dead or weak branches.
  • Develop an emergency communication plan. In case family members are separated from one another during a disaster (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the “family contact.” After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.
  • Check to ensure tie-downs are secured properly if you live in a mobile home.

At the end of the tropical cyclone season, use the food you stored provided the you have not exceeded the expiration dates. You will want to store fresh supplies for the next tropical cyclone season.

If a hurricane  watch  is issued for your area, you could experience hurricane force wind conditions within 48 hours. Do the following…

  • Listen to the NOAA Weather Radio for hurricane progress report,
  • Check your disaster supply kit to ensure it is up to date,
  • Fuel your automobile. Be ready to drive 20 to 50 miles inland to locate a safe place,
  • Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys, and garden tools,
  • Anchor outside objects that cannot be brought inside,
  • Secure buildings by closing and boarding up windows,
  • Remove outside antennas,
  • Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings. Open only when absolutely necessary and close quickly. Freeze as much water as you can. This will help keep your refrigerator cold if the power is out for several days,
  • Store drinking water in jugs and bottles. You will need at least 1 gallon daily per person for up to seven days,
  • Moor boat securely or move it to a designated safe place. Use rope or chain to secure boat to trailer and use tie-downs to anchor trailer to the ground,
  • Review evacuation plan,
  • Collect essential medicines into one place so you can quickly grab them should you need to evacuate, and
  • Get extra cash. With the possibility of no electricity, ATM’s and credit card purchases will not work.

If a hurricane  warning  is issued for your area then sustained winds of at least 74 mph are expected within 36 hours or less. Do the following…

  • Listen to the NOAA Weather Radio for hurricane progress reports.
  • Listen to the radio or television for official instructions.
  • Avoid elevators should the electricity fail.
  • If officials indicate evacuation is necessary you should do so immediately.
    • Turn the water off at the main water valve.
    • Turn off the gas at the outside main valve.
    • Tell someone outside of the storm area where you are going.
    • If time permits, and you live in an identified surge zone, elevate furniture to protect it from flooding or better yet, move it to a higher floor.
    • Bring your pre-assembled emergency supplies, warm protective clothing, blankets, and sleeping bags to shelter.
    • Lock up home and leave as soon as possible. Avoid flooded roads and watch for washed-out bridges.
  • If you choose to remain at your house…
    • Stay in the interior portion of your house, away from windows, skylights, and glass doors.
    • Keep several flashlights and extra batteries handy.
    • If your house is damaged by the storm you should turn the water and gas off at the main valves.
    • If power is lost, turn off electricity at the circuit breakers to reduce power “surge” when electricity is restored. Also avoid open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light.

Damage from Hurricane AndrewRemember, if the hurricane is forecast to move directly over your location, you may be in the path of the eye wall. This means that at the height of the storm, you could experience a sudden, rapid decrease in storm intensity as the hurricane’s eye passes over your location. Remain in your shelter as the back side of the storm can be only minutes away with a just as sudden and rapid increase in wind speed, this time from the opposite direction.

After the hurricane has completely passed your location do the following…

  • Listen to the NOAA Weather Radio for hurricane progress reports.
  • Stay tuned to local radio for information.
  • Return home only after authorities advise that it is safe to do so.
  • Once home, check refrigerated foods for spoilage.
  • Take pictures of the damage, both to the house and its contents and for insurance claims.

If you remained at your house during the storm…

  • Help injured or trapped persons. Give first aid where appropriate. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.
  • Avoid loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company, police, or fire department. Be careful and not step onto objects in contact with downed power lines.
  • Beware of snakes, insects, and animals driven to higher ground by flood water.
  • If your home has been damaged, open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home.
  • Take pictures of the damage, both to the house and its contents and for insurance claims.
  • Drive only if absolutely necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
  • Use telephone only for emergency calls.
  • Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor’s home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
  • Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.
  • Check for sewage and water lines damage. If you suspect sewage lines are damaged avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid the water from the tap. You can obtain safe water by melting ice cubes.

Protecting your Peace of Mind

Tropical cyclones, in and of themselves, are not “bad” things. They are just one way nature transfers heat energy from the tropics to the north and south poles. What makes them bad to us is when they affect us. While these storms cannot be prevented you can have peace of mind knowing you did all you could to minimize the impact on your life.

If you are moving into an area that can be affect by tropical storms, try to avoid living in a place where you may be at risk of storm surge. Also, creeks and rivers, while picturesque, could become disasters areas during a flood; stick to higher ground. Anything to can do to minimize the future impact of a tropical cyclone on your home will be one less thing to worry about if the event occurs.

Remember, past experiences of tropical cyclones are NO measure of future events. There may, and probably will be times, when you return to your home, after evacuating, to find no damage whatsoever as the storm either weakened or turned away from where we thought it would strike. However, the time you spent preparing your home and loved ones was NOT wasted because the next time you may not be so fortunate.

You may hear some of the “locals” make statements like “I’ve lived here x-number of years made it through storms such-and-such” or “a certain hill or creek protected us at this-or-that place”. While you cannot discount their experiences, you can know they were fortunate during those events. It’s best to be prepared. This could be the year a tropical cyclone could bring devastating results.

If asked to evacuate, do so immediatelyFor your peace of mind, always heed your local officials instructions. It is their responsibility to serve your community. If you follow their guiding, you will make their job much easier. If they ask you to evacuate, do so immediately. This way, you will not be a burden on the local rescue teams so they can better assist the ones who may need rescue through no fault of their own.

Your evacuation will also aid the police after the storm passes. Unfortunately, some people try to take advantage of others going through difficult situations. While generally not widespread, looting does occur in neighborhoods damaged by tropical storms. Your absence will help the police better monitor the region and make it easier to spot the ones who do not belong.

One final word of caution. You may live thousands of miles from the effects of tropical cyclone and think you can not be a victim. However, that is not always the case. Vehicles that have been flooded are suppose to be relegated for salvage but many are not. The unscrupulous do superficial cleaning jobs on the vehicles and wholesale them to dealers across the nation. If you are considering purchasing a used vehicle, be sure to check the title history and hire a trusted mechanic to do a thorough inspection including checking behind the door panel for signs of flooding. A few dollars spent now could save your thousands of dollars down the road and maybe a life.

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