Understanding Hurricane Conditions

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kimberly L. Mueller
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

Since 1944, September has been a peak month of hurricane season and is an essential time to be ready.

There are many factors to consider when ensuring thorough hurricane preparation, such as preparing a kit, evacuation route, etc., but an important step is knowing what each Hurricane Condition means.

Destructive winds are possible within 96 hours. The crisis action team will implement a tropical storm advisory and direct commanders and/or first sergeants to review TSA checklists and take appropriate actions.

Destructive winds are possible within 72 hours. Airmen and families are advised to monitor local weather channels and follow instructions from unit commanders. Off-base and base housing residents should:

  • Brief family members on their responsibilities and review actions to take if sheltering is necessary.
  • Check that their food supply can be eaten without cooking.
  • Verify hurricane kits are stocked.
  • Tie down mobile homes and disconnect propane tanks.
  • Bring in outdoor objects and anchor objects that cannot be brought inside.
  • Fill their car gas tanks.
  • Review evacuation plans.
  • Secure boats and/or RVs or move to a designated safe place. Use ropes or tie down straps to secure boats to trailers. Use tie-downs to anchor boat trailers and/or RVs to the ground or structures.
  • Make a record of your personal property. Take photos or video of the exterior and interior of your home, including personal belongings. Store the documents in a safe place. If directed to evacuate, take the documents with you.

Destructive winds are possible within 48 hours. Dorm residents are recommended to:

  • Store personal items in lockers and drawers.
  • Move furniture to walls opposite windows and stack furniture and rugs.
  • Unplug electrical equipment, turn off lights and close all doors.
  • Secure equipment, motorcycles, trash cans, signs, etc.
  • Stand by for briefings by unit commanders.
  • Plan to brace doors securely and stay away from windows.
  • Have flashlights within easy reach.
  • Keep in contact with their duty section or squadron.
  • Minimize phone calls to the base.
  • Pay attention to notifications and advisories issued by base officials, and to radio, television, base social media and the base website for information and evacuation or sheltering instructions.

Destructive winds are anticipated within 24 hours. Make final preparations:

  • Fill jugs, bottles, etc., with drinking water if sheltering. Put important personal papers or valuables in water-proof strong boxes.

Destructive winds are anticipated within 12 hours. Mission-essential personnel and students (if not evacuated) will report to their designated shelters.

HURCON 1C - Caution
Winds of 40-57 mph/35-49 kts sustained are occurring. If sheltering:

  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway in your residence. If in a multiple story building, go to the first or second floors and stay in interior rooms away from windows.
  • Stay inside and away from windows, skylights and glass doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed.
  • Do not go outside when the eye passes over. Winds and rain will soon resume.

HURCON 1E - Emergency
Winds of 58 mph/50 kts sustained and/or gusts of 69 mph/60 kts or greater are occurring.

HURCON 1R - Recovery
Destructive winds have subsided and are no longer forecasted to occur; survey and work crews are permitted to determine the extent of the damage and to establish safe zones around hazards (e.g. downed power lines, unstable structures). Non-essential personnel are asked to remain indoors.

  • If you are in a safe location, stay there until directed by local authorities that it is safe to leave.
  • If you are evacuated, do not return until authorities say it is safe.
  • Tune into local radio and television stations for information about caring for your household, where to find medical help and how to apply for assistance.
  • Do not drink or prepare food with tap water until notified that it is safe.
  • Talk to your children about what happened and what they can do to help.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and report them to the power company.
  • Enter your home with caution. Beware of insects and animals driven to higher ground by the floodwaters.
  • Open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home.
  • Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
  • Report property damage to your insurance agent immediately.


Commanders may direct an installation to stay in HURCON/Tropical Cyclone Conditions of Readiness 5 for an entire Tropical Cyclone or Hurricane season if desired.