Specifically, a hurricane is a tropical storm, usually in the Atlantic Ocean (in the Pacific they are usually called typhoons or tropical cyclones) which has sustained surface winds of more than 33 meters per second (74 miles per hour). A speed lower than that is a tropical storm.

Hurricanes always form over water and often lose strength once they hit a coastline (though not so quickly as to spare the people living on that land from intense weather and great damage to the area). The Atlantic and north Pacific hurricane season is June through November, with peak activity typically in early September.