The US Coast Guard uses specific terms on understanding the port conditions based on the weather characteristics. The terms used help ship operators know how to respond to a tropical weather.
- Whiskey: Set when gale force winds are expected to arrive at the port within 72 hours. Port remains open to all commercial traffic, but oceangoing ships and barges must report their intention to remain in port or depart. If they are departing, they must do so within 12 hours of gale-force winds.
- X-Ray: Gale force winds are expected within 48 hours. The rules are similar to port condition Whiskey.
- Yankee: Gale force winds predicted within 24 hours. Vessels seeking to depart must arrange immediate departure. Cargo operations must cease with 18 kilometre per hour (kph) winds. Transfer hoses must be disconnected with 22 kph winds. Ships seeking to arrive in port should seek an alternate destination.
- Zulu: Gale force winds within 12 hours. The port is closed.
In case of a tropical weather, the USCG advises that waterfront facilities should:
- Review & update facility heavy weather plan
- Identify berths that are adequate for vessels to weather a hurricane
- Pre/Post-storm security
- Missile Hazards
- Berthing Requirements
- Container stacking
In the meantime, the vessels should:
- Review & update vessel heavy weather plan
- Ensure vessel crew safety
- Storm avoidance – plan ahead
- Keep Coast Guard informed
- Submit mooring plan
NOAA has explained how the names for the tropical storms were born.