NHC Changes the Play Book for 2013
Seems the NHC has changed their policy after a review of their handling of Sandy, with regard to their lack of hurricane warnings for areas that were pummeled by Sandy ... but may not have been directly in the cone AND.... the issue of the storm being post tropical (by minutes) which led to high wind warnings vs Hurricane Warnings or Tropical Storm Warnings.
This is a complicated issue and a very political one. The NHC is not a private company like Accuweather or TWC and they have to report to higher authorities on matters like this and there has been an ongoing investigation and review of their forecasting with regard to Sandy.
With regard to Sandy (let's say it again) ... she was an unusual storm and yet the same situation often arises with other similar storms and the NHC usually maintains a hard stance, but one which seems to wobble a bit from year to year.
Joe Bastardi has waxed poetic on this to such a degree that there should be a Wax Museum of Weather Forecasters and busted NHC forecasts by now.
An example of their new policy ...that is being rewritten... would have possibly affected a storm like Irene in 1999. Their "weather center" was going to a beach on the West Coast and yet the strong hurricane conditions and flooding conditions was headed towards Miami which did NOT have a warning and as such employers insisted their "workers" come in to work and kids were sent to school despite the fact that anyone who could read a satellite image knew that Miami was going to get slammed with Hurricane conditions. Or maybe not, but the door is open I believe to handle situations like this differently the next time.
The new NHC line is this:
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.
How that will translate next year I don't know.. It seems an over abundance of discussion on storm surge vs wind damage or extremely high, tropical rain fall rates would be occurring and transitioning storms going post-tropical. I imagine we will have to see in real time next year how this translates into action once a storm is within a storm scenario like this sets up ..
Only time will tell as we say...and that is the real truth.
According to media sources Accuweather quotes an interview with Chris Landsea as such:
"The main issue is: we want people to get ready for hurricane conditions, and that's why we are changing the definition of hurricane warning to be a little more inclusive of other things than just a hurricane," Chris Landsea, Science and Operations Officer at the National Hurricane Center, told AccuWeather.com.
Additionally, the NHC eventually plans to begin differentiating between wind hazards and storm surge hazards.
"Sandy was not ideal, and the way we handled it was not right. But we're fixing it," Landsea told AccuWeather.com.
From my perspective the new rules in effect give the NHC a wider turning radius to take action so to speak...
Ps... we are a good week away from any real winter weather in the Upper 48 States and the mild temps will cool off a bit and then get warm again before we deal with any real sense of weather. I'm wearing short sleeve tee shirts and painting my toenails Essie's Playdate purple seeing as I'll be wearing sandals this weekend.
Over and out.. smile... BobbiStorm