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Hurricane Preparedness: Storm Watch vs. Warning

Know the Hazards

Post Date:06/01/2018 2:00 PM

Before a storm threatens South Florida, it’s best to know the lingo so that you can best prepare your home, family and business for the storm’s possible affects.

As a storm develops it can intensify or weaken to a Tropical Storm before landfall.  Although weaker than hurricanes, tropical storms are still a threat to be taken seriously.  

Tropical Storm Watch

A tropical cyclone containing sustained winds of 39-73 mph is possible in the next 48 hours

Tropical Storm Warning

A tropical cyclone containing sustained winds of 39-73 mph is expected in the next 36 hours

Hurricane Watch

Hurricane conditions (a tropical cyclone containing sustained winds of 74 mph or more) are possible within 48 hours. A watch let’s you know that conditions are favorable for a hazard to occur and allows you to prepare.

Hurricane Warning

Hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. A warning is an urgent message that indicates that a weather hazard is imminent.



Storm Surge 

The most dangerous element of a hurricane is the storm surge – a dome of ocean water that can be 20 feet high at its peak and up to 100 miles wide that can reach inland areas. Nine out of 10 hurricane fatalities are attributed to storm surge.

Extreme Wind

An Extreme Wind Warning will be issued if sustained winds of 115 mph or greater are expected to begin in a specific area within the hour.


Hurricanes are storms comprised of wind and rain, which can be heavy and lead to isolated flooding, as well as flash floods.

Click here for more information on flood hazards and insurance, etc. 

Read more on hurricane preparedness at