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National Hurricane Center Revises Hurricane Warning Definition

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By Steven Strouss

In an effort to save additional lives and property, an announcement was made today that gives more flexibility to the National Hurricane Center to issue advisories for tropical, sub-tropical and post-tropical systems. These changes will take effect with the 2013 season.

Hurricane Sandy may have been the strongest contributor to this change. After it slammed into New Jersey in late October, there was an outcry for the NHC to change the way it issues the alerts. Sandy officially made landfall as a post-tropical cyclone but the closest and most recent Tropical Storm or Hurricane Warning at the time was in North Carolina.

Understanding the criticism, the NHC revised their Hurricane Warning definition which is now more inclusive of storms like Sandy. Here is the new definition:

An announcement that sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are expected somewhere within the specified area in association with a tropical, sub-tropical, or post-tropical cyclone. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds. The warning can remain in effect when dangerously high water or a combination of dangerously high water and waves continue, even though winds may be less than hurricane force.

The 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially ended Nov 30th and had 19 named storms, 10 Hurricanes and 1 Major Hurricane.

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