A Weather Map of a Hurricane

Glossary of Hurricane Terminology

When researching hurricanes you're going to see words and acronyms you may be unfamiliar with. That's why we created this hurricane terminology glossary. It has everything you need to keep up with the conversion.

Many of the hurricane terms listed below are heavily geared towards the United States. However, some terms are interchangeable around the globe, and they would appear in the below glossary.

Using our hurricane glossary is simple, all the terms are in a list format, in alphabetical order. If you think we're missing anything in our glossary of hurricane terms, please contact us and let us know.


Hurricane Terms & Slang

  • Atlantic Hurricane Season - A period between June 1st and November 30th when hurricanes typically form in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Clockwise - Movement that follows the same directional path as the hands on a clock.
  • Counterclockwise - Movement that follows the opposite directional path as the hands on a clock.
  • Hurricane - A tropical storm that has reached sustained winds of 74 mph (119 km/h) or greater.
  • Hurricane Category - Hurricanes are rated by their wind speed using the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale. A hurricane can be a category one to a category five, with five being the strongest types of hurricanes.
  • Hurricane Warning - An announcement by the National Hurricane Center that hurricane conditions are expected for a specific area.
  • Hurricane Watch - An announcement by the National Hurricane Center that hurricane conditions are possible for a specific area.
  • Knot - A unit of speed that is the equivalent of one nautical mile. A knot is approximately 1.15078 mph.
  • Major Hurricane - A major hurricane is one that reaches category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale.