Hurricane terms to know

Published: Updated:
Hurricane Daniel in 2006.


The vertical axis of a tropical cyclone, usually de ned by the location of minimum wind or minimum pressure.


The relatively calm area in the center of a hurricane. It can range from 5 to more than 50 miles wide.

Eye Wall

A doughnut-shaped zone of the highest winds and heavy rain surrounding the eye.

Feeder Bands

Thunderstorms that spiral into and around the center of a tropical system. A typical storm may have three or more bands, usually 40 to 80 miles apart.

Hurricane Warning

Issued when hurricane conditions—winds of 74 mph or greater— are expected within 24 hours.

Hurricane Watch

Issued when hurricane conditions are possible within 36/48 hours.


When the surface center of a tropical cyclone intersects with the coastline.

Major Hurricane

A storm with highest winds of 111 mph or higher.

Tropical Disturbance

An area of thunderstorms that keeps its intensity for at least 24 hours.

Tropical Storm

A warm-centered, low-pressure circulation with highest sustained winds between 39 and 73 mph.

Wind Shear

Upper level winds that can blow the tops off hurricanes, weakening or destroying them.

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