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Confused about some US abbreviations?

New Zealanders who are unfamiliar with some American abbreviations may find this page useful to help work out what they mean.

Here are some of the most common ones you’ll see over the next 24 to 48 hours.

TS – Tropical Storm winds (here in NZ these would be called “gale force” and run from 62km/h sustained to about 119km/h sustained.  From 120km/h+ winds are hurricane force.  These winds are sustained winds and not gusts).
TD – Tropical Depression.  This is what Irene will become once she has lost her tropical characteristics.

ET – Eastern Time.  To quickly work out what ET means here in NZ, simply add 16 hours.  So 5am ET Saturday is 9pm NZT Saturday.

NC – North Carolina
SC – South Carolina
VA – Virginia
PA – Pennsylvania
MD – Maryland 
DC – District of Columbia (often used when referring to the city of Washington)
NY – New York
NYC – New York City
MA – Massachusetts
VT – Vermont
CT – Connecticut 
ME – Maine
NH – New Hampshire
RI – Rhode Island

I-95 – The main highway that runs the entire east coast of the United States. The worst of the weather will be around and to the east of this highway.

CAT – Short for Category.  Cat 1 to Cat 5 with 1 being weakest.  A Cat 1 hurricane is still powerful though, equal to a Cat2 cyclone in our part of the world.

NWS – National Weather Service
NHC – National Hurricane Center

mb – This stands for millibars – used to measure air pressure.  We use hPa (hectopascals) in NZ.  A different word but they have the same readings.  So 950mb is the same as 950hPa.


Have we missed any?  Let us know by posting a comment below


Clare on 27/08/2011 6:28am

Not an abbreviation but if anyone is interested #irene seems to be the hashtag that is being used on twitter

Guest on 27/08/2011 8:04am

There is about 2 – 3 hashtag for irene been used on twitter.

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