A hurricane warning is the first action notice issued by the National Hurricane Center when tropical-storm-force winds (39 to 73 mph) are expected somewhere within the area. During the warning, preparations should be completed and people should leave the affected area if local officials advise it.
A tropical storm watch is issued when hurricane conditions are possible within an area within 48 hours, but this does not mean that a hurricane is certain to develop. It is important to remain aware of the storm and continue monitoring its track.
A Tropical Storm/Hurricane Watch is issued when tropical-storm-force winds are expected along the coast within 36 hours. This is a good time to start preparing your home and review your evacuation plan.
A Hurricane Warning is issued when sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or greater are expected somewhere within the specified area. This is the most serious weather threat, so residents should evacuate immediately if notified by local authorities.
During a Hurricane Warning, it is vital to listen for updated information and official instructions on NOAA Weather Radio, portable, battery-powered radio or television. It is also essential to take your disaster supplies kit with you and call a check-in contact so someone will know where you are headed.
Having all of your preparations complete and being ready to leave when a hurricane warning is issued can make the difference between life and death. Remember that hurricanes can change direction, intensity and speed very quickly.