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Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricane Season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 each year, with fall typically seeing more tropical storms and hurricanes than the summer months of hurricane season, according to the National Weather Service's National Hurricane Center.

Be informed and know your hurricane terminology:

  • Tropical Cyclone - A rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain. Depending on its location and strength, a tropical cyclone is referred to by names such as hurricane, typhoon, tropical storm, cyclonic storm, tropical depression, and simply cyclone.
  • Tropical Depression - A system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and sustained winds that do not exceed 38 mph.
  • Tropical Storm - A system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and sustained winds 39-73 mph.
  • Hurricane - A system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and sustained winds 74 mph or higher.
  • Storm Surge - An abnormal rise of water pushed ashore by a storm, over and above the predicted astronomical tide. Storm surges, which are often the greatest threat to life and property, are affected by a number of complex factors and can vary in magnitude despite hurricane categories.
  • Storm Tide - A combination of storm surge with normal tide, increasing the amount of water.
  • Hurricane/Tropical Storm Warning - Hurricane/tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours in specified areas.
  • Hurricane/Tropical Storm Watch - Hurricane/tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours in specified areas. Stay tuned to radio or TV for further information. 
 Living in Virginia?  To determine if your property is in an area that is susceptible to tidal flooding, storm surges, or dam failures, visit
Other state emergency websites have similar information available.


Hurricane Categories are as follows:

  • Category 1  - Winds 74-95 mph (64-82 knots), very dangerous winds will produce some damage.
  • Category 2  - Winds 96-110 mph (83-95 knots), extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage.
  • *Category 3  - Winds 111-129 mph (96-112 knots), devastating damage will occur.
  • *Category 4  - Winds 130-156 mph (113-136 knots), catastrophic damage will occur, well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of roof structure and/or some exterior walls.
  • *Category 5  - Winds exceeding 157 mph (≥ 137 knots), catastrophic damage will occur, high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed with total roof failure and wall collapse.
        *Category 3, 4, and 5 hurricanes are considered “major hurricanes.”


Sortie Conditions are as follows:

  • Condition Charlie:  Ships prepare to sortie within 48 hours to avoid heavy weather.
  • Condition Bravo:  Sortie is expected within 24 hours to avoid heavy weather.
  • Condition Alpha: Sortie commences to avoid heavy weather.


Tropical Cyclone Conditions of Readiness are as follows:

  • Condition V: Trend indicates possible destructive winds within 96 hours.
  • Condition IV: Trend indicates possible destructive winds within 72 hours.
  • Condition III: Destructive winds are possible within 48 hours.
  • Condition II: Destructive winds are possible within 24 hours.
  • Condition I: Destructive winds are possible within 12 hours. 


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Commander, Navy Region Mid Atlantic   |   1510 Gilbert St.   |   Norfolk, VA 23511
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