Landfall is the event of a storm moving over land after being over water.
Landfall is distinct from a direct hit. A direct hit is where the core of high winds (or eyewall) comes onshore but the center of the storm may stay offshore. The effects of this are quite similar to a landfall, as this term is used when the radius of maximum wind within a tropical cyclone moves ashore. These effects are high surf, heavy rains that may cause flooding, water buildup along the coast with minor storm surge, coastal beach erosion, high winds, and possibly severe thunderstorms with tornadoes around the periphery.
Storms, e.g., hurricanes, can be quite wide. Potentially dangerous winds, rain and flooding may impact an area near the center of the storm even though technically landfall may not have occurred. Accordingly it may be helpful, to gauge the anticipated impact of such storms, to be aware of their general location, and land masses adjacent to the major thrust of the storm.