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Hurricane and Tropical Storm Watch/Warning Breakpoints

Coastal areas placed under tropical storm and hurricane watches and warnings are identified through the use of "breakpoints." A tropical cyclone breakpoint is defined as an agreed upon coastal location that can be chosen as one of two specific end points or designated places between which a tropical storm/hurricane watch/warning is in effect. The U.S. National Weather Service designates the locations along the U.S. East, Gulf, and California coasts, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. These points are listed in NWS Directive 10-605 (PDF).

Individual countries across the Caribbean, Central America, and South America provide coastal locations for their areas of responsibility to the U.S. National Weather Service for the National Hurricane Center's use in tropical cyclone advisories when watches/warnings are issued by international partners. The National Hurricane Center maintains a list of pre-arranged breakpoints for the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts, Mexico, Cuba and the Bahamas. Other sites are unofficial and sites not on the list can be selected if conditions warrant.

Beginning in 2015, the NWS will be conveying the approximate lateral extent of areas at risk for life-threatening storm surge in its text products using fixed 'communication points', similar to the breakpoints used to convey the tropical cyclone watches and warnings. The tropical cyclone warning breakpoints will also serve as surge communication points, with additional surge communication points defined as shown below.

Interactive Map

Last Updated July 2015

National Hurricane Center Watch/Warning Breakpoints

Breakpoints Map Legend


Download Data


International Hurricane/Tropical Storm
Watch/Warning Breakpoints
KMZ Shapefile (.zip)
Additional US Storm Surge
Watch/Warning Communication Points
KMZ Shapefile (.zip)


Last Updated April 2015

U.S. Gulf Coast
[Gulf of Mexico hurricane watch/warning breakpoints]
U.S. Southeast
[Southeast US hurricane watch/warning breakpoints]
U.S. Mid-Atlantic
[Mid-Atlantic hurricane watch/warning breakpoints]
U.S. Chesapeake Bay
[Chesapeake Bay watch/warning breakpoints]
U.S. Northeast
[Northeast US hurricane watch/warning breakpoints]
U.S. Puerto Rico
[Puerto Rico hurricane watch/warning breakpoints]
[Caribbean hurricane watch/warning breakpoints]
[Cuba hurricane watch/warning breakpoints]
[Hispaniola hurricane watch/warning breakpoints]
[Mexico hurricane watch/warning breakpoints]
Middle Americas
[Middle Americas hurricane watch/warning breakpoints]
South America
[South America hurricane watch/warning breakpoints]
[Hawaii/Central Pacific Hurricane Center hurricane watch/warning breakpoints]
[Canada/Canadian Hurricane Centre hurricane watch/warning breakpoints]

* These breakpoints are maintained and managed by the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, located in Honolulu, Hawaii.

These breakpoints are maintained and managed by the Canadian Hurricane Centre, part of Environment Canada.

Note:  The same information on this page exists in the official National Weather Service Directive 10-605 (PDF) and includes pronunciation guides.