Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island Community

Hurricane Terminology


So coastal residents can take appropriate action before, during and after a hurricane,
it is vital to know and understand typhoon


The following are some terms often associated with a hurricane and their implications.


Category 1 Hurricane: Storm with winds 75 to 95 mph and storm surges four to five feet above mean sea level.


Category 2 Hurricane: Storm with winds 96 to 110 mph and storm surges six to eight feet above mean sea level.


Category 3 Hurricane: Storm with winds 110 to 130 mph and storm surges nine to 12 feet above mean sea level.


Category 4 Hurricane: Storm with winds 131 to 155 mph and storm surges 13 to 18 feet above mean sea level.


Category 5 Hurricane: Storm with winds in excess of 155 mph and storm surges in excess of 20 feet above mean sea level.


Condition 5: This is a normal condition of readiness in which precautionary measures are exercised by all units during the annual hurricane season. This condition will be in effect from June 1 until Nov. 30 of each year.


Condition 4: A hurricane’s path has been reasonably well established, and its trend indicates a possible threat of destructive force winds within 72 hours.


Condition 3: The hurricanes continues to advance and destructive force winds are possible within 48 hours.


Condition 2: Destructive force winds are anticipated within 24 hours.


Condition 1: Destructive force winds are imminent or expected within 12 hours. This condition also applies when destructive winds are in progress.


Destructive Weather Condition One Caution: Destructive winds are anticipated within six hours.


Destructive Weather Condition One Emergency: Destructive winds are currently affecting the MCAS Beaufort area.


Destructive Weather Condition One Recovery:The destructive weather system has passed the area, but storm hazards remain. All orders, restrictions and guidance established in previous DWCs remain in effect. MCAS emergency management is affecting the speedy return to normal operations by eliminating safety concerns, re-establishing services, utilities, clearing debris and performing essential repairs.


Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is imminent, take immediate action.


Flash Flood Watch: A flash flood in the area is possible, stay alert.


Gale Warning: Issued when winds of 39 to 54 mph (34 to 47 knots) are expected.


Hurricane: Pronounced rotary circulation with a constant wind speed of 75 mph (64 knots) or more.


Hurricane Warning: Issued when hurricane conditions are expected in a specified coastal area in 24 hours or less. Hurricane conditions include winds of 75 mph (64 knots) or more and/or dangerously high tides and waves. Actions for protection of life and property should begin immediately when the warning is issued.


Hurricane Watch: Issued for coastal areas when there is a threat of hurricane making landfall in the Lowcountry.


Storm Warnings: Issued when winds 55 to 74 mph (48 to 63 knots) are expected. If a hurricane is expected to strike the coastal area, gale or storm warnings will not usually precede hurricane warnings.


Tornadoes: Sometimes spawned by hurricanes, these violently rotating columns of air may produce severe damage and casualties. The typical path of a tornado is 50 feet wide and a few miles long, but some have cut a swath much larger. If a tornado is reported in your area, a warning will be issued.


Tropical Cyclone: The general term for all rotating storms originating over tropical waters.


Tropical Depression: Rotary circulation at the ocean’s surface with a highest constant wind speed of 38 mph (33 knots).


Tropical Disturbance: A moving area of thunderstorms in the tropics that maintains its identity for 24 hours or more.


Tropical Storm: Distinct rotary circulation, constant wind speed ranges from 39 to 74 mph (34 to 63 knots).


Typhoon: The name given to hurricanes that develop west of the international date line.


Waterspout: A tornado over water.






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