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Marine Definitions...  good to know.


... Official information issued by Tropical Cyclone Centers, such as the National Hurricane Center near Miami, FL. Describes all tropical cyclone watches and warnings in effect along with details concerning locations, intensity, movement, and precautions that should be taken. Advisories are also issued to describe tropical cyclones prior to the issuance of watches and warnings and subtropical cyclones.
Beach Erosion ... the carrying and wearing away of beach materials, such as sand or rocks, by wave action, currents tides or wind.
Beaufort Scale ... a scale that indicates the wind speed using the effect wind has on certain farmiliar objects.
"Bomb" ... indicates an expected rapid intensification of a cyclone (low pressure) with surface pressure expected to fall by at least 24 milibars in 24 hour.
Coastal Flood Statement ... Keeps the public and cooperating agencies informed of the status of existing coastal flood watches and warnings, as well as provides an update on local conditions. Also used to cancel a watch or warning.
Coastal Flooding
... the inundation of land areas along the ocean coast caused by sea waters over and above normal tidal action that may be originate from the ocean front, back bays, sounds, or other bodies of ocean water.
Coastal Flood Warning

... issued when tidal flooding or storm induced flooding is occurring, imminent or highly likely along coastal areas within approximately the next 12 hours.  A coastal flood watch alerts coastal residents to the possibility of flooding. A coastal flood warning means that flooding is imminent or occurring. Coastal waters extend out 100 nautical miles.
Coastal Flood Watch ... issued when conditions are favorable for tidal flooding or storm induced flooding along coastal areas within approximately 12 to 36 hours.
Coastal Waters ... the marine area, including bays, harbors and sounds extending from the coast to 20 nautical miles offshore.
Crest ... highest point in a wave.
... Dusk or civil dusk is the time at which the sun is 6 degrees below the horizon in the evening. At this time objects are distinguishable but there is no longer enough light to perform any outdoor activities.
Fathom ... unit of depth in the ocean equal to 6 feet.
Fetch ... the marine area in which waves are generated by winds consisting of a near constant direction and speed.
Freezing Spray ... an accumulation of freezing water droplets on a vessel caused by a combination of the wind, water, air temperature and vessel temperature.
Gale Warning. ... issued for sustained winds or frequent gusts of 34 to 47 knots, not associated with a tropical storm. Can be issued up to 24 hours before the conditions are expected.
Greenwich Mean Time
... Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is the mean solar time at the Royal Greenwich Observatory in Greenwich near London in England, which by convention is at 0 degrees geographic longitude.
Heavy Surf ... large waves breaking on or near the shore resulting from swells spawned by a distant storm.
Heavy Surf Advisory. ... issued for heavy surf that poses a threat to life and/or property.  Such advisories may be issued alone or in conjunction with coastal flood watches or warnings.
High ... an area of high pressure usually accompanied by anticyclonic (clockwise) outward flow.
High Seas ... that portion of the Atlantic Ocean which extends from 20 to 40 nm off the East Coast to 35 W.

... The horizon is the line that separates earth from sky.  The distance of the horizon on earth, in a plain (standing on the ground or on a tower, or from a plane) or on a hill or mountain surrounded by plains, is approximately kilometers, where h is the height in meters of the eyes.  Examples:  Standing on the ground with h = 1.70 m, the horizon is at a distance of 4.7 km.  Standing on a hill or tower of 100 m height, the horizon is at a distance of 36 km
Hurricane Eye ... The relatively calm area in the center of the storm. In this area, winds are relatively light and the sky often is only partly covered by clouds.
Hurricane Eye Wall ... The area surrounding the hurricane eye. Usually the most intense winds of the hurricane are located here.
Hurricane Season
... The part of the year having a relatively high incidence of hurricanes. In the Atlantic, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and central Pacific, the hurricane season is from June through November.
Hurricane Local Statement. ... A public release in or near the threatened area giving specific details on weather conditions, evacuation decisions made by local officials, and other necessary precautions to protect life and property.
Hurricane Watch ... An announcement for specific locations that a hurricane poses a possible threat generally within 36 hours.
Hurricane Warning

... A warning that sustained surface winds of 64 knots (74 mph) or higher are expected in specified coastal areas within 24 hours or less. A hurricane warning can remain in effect when dangerously high water and/or exceptionally high waves continue even though winds may be less than hurricane force.
Inland High Wind Watches For Hurricane Force Winds ... Issued for inland locations when hurricane force winds are anticipated beyond the coastal areas though the actual occurrence, timing, and location are still uncertain.
Knot ... is equal to 1 nautical miles per hour or 1.15 statue miles (the length of 1 minute latitude) per hour.
Land Breeze ... a wind that blows from the land towards a body of water. Also known as an offshore breeze. It occurs when the land is colder than the water.
Lightning ... any form of visible electrical discharges produced by thunderstorms
Low ... an area of low pressure usually accompanied by cyclonic (counterclockwise) inward flow.
Marine Weather Statement ... issued to provide mariners with details on significant or potentially hazardous conditions.
Mean Lower Low Water ... a tidal datum which corresponds to the average mean of the lower low tide heights of a mixed tide observed over a specific 19 year period.
Nautical Mile (nm) ... unit of distance used for marine navigation and is equal to 1.15 statue miles.
Neap Tide ... occurs at the first and third quarters of the moon.
Offshore Waters
... the portion of the ocean, gulfs and seas beyond the coastal waters extending to a specified distance from the coastline (usually 100 nm), a specified depth, or covering an area defined by specific latitude and longitude points.
Rip Currents ... are narrow channels of water flowing seaward from the beach through breaking waves in the surf zones. They can rapidly carry a person into deeper waters.
Sea Breeze ... a wind that flows from a sea or ocean towards a land mass. Also known as an onshore breeze. It occurs when the land is warmer than the water.
Significant Wave Height ... the average wave height of the 1/3 highest waves reported by an experienced observer.
Small Craft Advisory ... issued for sustained winds or frequent gusts of 25 to 33 knots and/or seas 5 feet or higher. Can be issued up to 12 hours before the conditions are expected.
Special Marine Warning
... issued to convey information regarding hazardous convective activity or other short-term weather events occurring over the water or which may impact those on the water. For brief or sudden occurrence of sustained winds or frequent gusts 34 knots or greater. Usually in association with thunderstorms and/or waterspouts.
Spring Tide. ... tides of increased range or tidal currents of increased speed that occur semimonthly as a result of the new moon or the full moon.
... a sudden wind increase characterized by a duration of minutes and followed by a sudden decrease in winds (an increase in wind speed of 16 knots or more and sustained at 20 knots or more for at least 1 minute).
St. Elmo's Fire
... the glow on a masthead produced by an extreme buildup of electrical charge. Unprotected mariners should immediately move to shelter when this phenomena occurs. Lightning may strike the mast within five minutes after it begins to glow.
Storm Summary

.... Issued by the National Hurricane Center after subtropical and tropical cyclones have moved inland and advisories have been discontinued. These summaries are initiated when and if flash flood watches are posted in the conterminous U.S. because of an approaching system.
Storm Surge
... the difference between the astronomical tide and the observed tide.  An abnormal rise in sea level accompanying a tropical cyclone. The height is the difference between the observed level of the sea surface and the level that would have occurred in the absence of the storm.
Storm Tide. ... the actual water level resulting from the astronomical tide plus the storm surge.  This term is used interchangeably with "hurricane tide".
Storm Warning ... issued for sustained winds or frequent gusts of 48 knots or higher, not associated with a tropical storm. Can be issued up to 24 hours before the conditions are expected.
Swell ... wind generated waves that have traveled out of their area of origin. Swells exhibit smoother, more regular and uniform crests and longer wave periods than wind waves.
Sunrise (see Twilight)
... Sunrise, also called sunup in some American English dialects, is the time at which the first part of the Sun appears above the horizon in the east. Sunrise should not be confused with dawn, which is the (variously defined) point at which the sky begins to lighten, some time before the sun itself appears, ending twilight.
Sunset (see Twilight)
... Sunset, also called sundown in some American English dialects, is the time at which the Sun disappears below the horizon in the west. It should not be confused with dusk, which is the (variously defined) point at which darkness falls, some time after the Sun itself sets (which begins twilight).
Surf ... the waves in the area between the shoreline and the outermost limit of breakers.
Tidal Piling
... abnormally high water levels caused by an accumulation of successive incoming tides that do not allow the water to completely drain due to opposing strong winds and/or waves/swells.
Tide ... the periodic rise and fall of water resulting from the gravitational interactions between the Earth, Moon and Sun.
Tide Anomaly ... actual water level minus the tide table predictions.
Tide Cycle ... the periodic changes in the intensity of tides caused primarily by the varying relations between the Earth, Moon and Sun.
Tide Times ... are given in local time on NOAA Weather Radio (EST or EDT).
Tropical Disturbance Statement (Special) ... Issued to furnish information on strong formative, nondepression systems. It focuses on major threats of the disturbance, such as the potential for torrential rains on island or inland areas.
Tropical Cyclone Conditions (Strike Probability Forecast) ... The probability, in percent, that the cyclone center will pass within 50 miles to the right or 75 miles to the left of the listed locations within the indicated time period when looking at the coast in the direction of the cyclone's movement.
Tropical Cyclone Public Advisories
... Serve as the primary tropical cyclone information products issued by Tropical Cyclone Centers for the general public. They are issued after a confirmed tropical cyclone has developed. Sub-group product names in this category are: Special Public Advisory, Intermediate Public Advisory, Tropical Depression Advisory, Subtropical Cyclone Public Advisory, and Special Public Subtropical Forecast/Advisory.
Tropical Cyclone Updates ... Brief statements issued in lieu of or preceding special advisories to inform of significant changes in a tropical cyclone, or to post or cancel watches and warnings.
Tropical Storm Watch
... An announcement that a tropical storm or tropical storm conditions pose a threat to coastal areas generally within 36 hours. A tropical storm watch is not usually issued if a tropical cyclone is forecast to attain hurricane strength.
Tropical Storm Warning ... A warning that sustained winds of 34 to 63 knots (39 to 73 mph) inclusive are expected in specified coastal areas within 24 hours.
Tropical Weather Discussion & Outlook & Summary
... The discussion describes significant synoptic (large-scale) weather features in the tropics. The outlook discusses significant areas of disturbed weather in the tropics and subtropics and their potential for tropical cyclone development out to 48 hours. The summary is prepared after each month to summarize the previous month's tropical cyclone activity and the reasons why.
Trough ... lowest point in a wave.
... Nautical twilight begins and ends when the centre of the refracted disk of the sun is greater than 12 degrees below the horizon. This is the time when sailors can take reliable star sights of well known stars, using a visible horizon for reference.
Universal Time
... Universal Time (UT) is a timescale based on the rotation of the Earth. It is a modern continuation of the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), i.e., the mean solar time on the meridian of Greenwich, England, which is the conventional 0-meridian for geographic longitude. GMT is sometimes used, incorrectly, as a synonym for UTC.
Waterspout ... a tornado over water - a rapidly rotating column of air extending from the a cumulonimbus cloud with a circulation that reaches the surface of water.
Wave Height ... height from crest to trough.
Wave Length ... distance from crest (trough) to the next crest (trough).
Wave Period ... time between consecutive crests (troughs) to pass a fixed point.
Wind Wave ... local waves of short period generated from the action of wind only on the water surface.