HOUSTON - With the first named storm of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico, now is a good time to remind people of some of the basic weather terms associated with tropical weather.
As meteorologists, we use these terms often, and sometimes they can be somewhat confusing, so here is a quick tutorial:
Any well-organized tropical system of thunderstorms with a defined low-pressure center and a low-level circulation around that low.
A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained surface winds up to 38 mph.
A tropical cyclone with sustained surface winds from 39 to 73 mph.
A tropical cyclone in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico or Eastern Pacific Ocean with maximum sustained surface winds of 74 mph or higher. In the Northwest Pacific Ocean they are called typhoons. In the South Pacific and Indian Oceans they are called cyclones.
Lines or bands of thunderstorms that rotate around the center of circulation of a tropical cyclone. They are typically located well away from the eye or eyewall of the hurricane but can produce very heavy rain and strong wind.
Eye of a hurricane
The very center of circulation of a strong tropical cyclone, typically forming when a storm reaches hurricane strength or greater. The eye of a hurricane is characterized by calm weather and somewhat clear skies.
A band of heavy rain and the strongest wind associated with a tropical cyclone. It is located around the immediate perimeter of the eye of the storm.
You can get more definitions of tropical terms associated with hurricanes and the damage they cause in KPRC 2’s Hurricane and Flood Survival Guide.
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