There are no other storms like hurricanes on Earth. Views of hurricanes from satellites located thousands of miles above the Earth show how these powerful, tightly coiled weather systems are unique. Hurricane season begins on June 1 and ends November 30. Each year, on average, 10 tropical storms (of which 6 become hurricanes) develop over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, or Gulf of Mexico. Many of these storms remain over the ocean. However, an average of 5 hurricanes strike the United States coastline every 3 years. Of these 5, 2 will be major hurricanes, which are storms of category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale, which corresponds to hurricanes with winds at or above 111 miles per hour.

Timely warnings have greatly diminished hurricane fatalities in the United States. In spite of this, property damage continues to mount. There is little we can do about the hurricanes themselves. However, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) Tropical Prediction Center and National Weather Service (NWS) field offices team up with other federal, state, and local agencies; rescue and relief organizations; the private sector; and the news media in a huge warning and preparedness effort.