This was quite a circus to watch today. I didn’t bite.
Early this afternoon, AccuWeather reported the National Hurricane Center had announced they were modifying the definition of hurricane warnings becuase of Hurricane Sandy. They made a big deal out of it. Turns out that wasn’t quite right, read on.
Following the criticism of the National Hurricane Center’s handling of Hurricane Sandy and the non-issuance of hurricane warnings north of North Carolina, it has been decided that the NHC will now have more flexibility in their policy regarding the issuance of advisories. Beginning in 2013, the NHC will have the flexibility to issue multiple advisories on post-tropical cyclones for landfalling systems or close bypassers.
According to the NHC, this required a revision of the Hurricane Warning definition.
“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.
Playing follow the leader, The Weather Channel added a story that built upon the AccuWeather story. TWC wrote:
The National Hurricane Center confirmed Wednesday that changes to their system of issuing hurricane warnings will be altered prior to the start of the 2013 season. NOAA spokesperson Maureen O’Leary said changes to the warning system will be made, but said she was not able to comment further at the time.
A report issued at an annual NOAA hurricane meeting in Miami stated the NHC will now be able to issue a hurricane warning on a post-tropical cyclone.
But wait, not so fast! They haven’t actually made a rule change yet.
Seeing all the excitement, the In an emailed statement to many media outlets today, NOAA’s Chris Vaccaro indicated this change is not final but rather part of an ongoing process:
A proposal was raised during the NOAA Hurricane Conference last week for NWS to have the option to issue hurricane and tropical storm watches and warnings for post-tropical cyclones that threaten life and property.
This is one step in the process required before any proposed change to operational products becomes final. As part of our review of the 2012 hurricane season, including the Sandy service assessment, we will review all policies and changes through the existing and established process.
This sort of reporting is just about what we’d expect.
I think some new categorization is a good idea, because some storms are big on winds, some are big on rain, some are big on storm surge, and some are big on all three. Getting a handle on these to truly rate storm effects would be better. In this case, Sandy happened to just hit a place that isn’t used to hurricanes on a regular basis, and it wasn’t strong enough to rate hurricane strength, so hurricane warnings were not issued. The fact that it was NYC put a microscope on it. If hit Florida, it would have been just another storm.
CCM Mike Smith talks about the warning issue on WUWT.TV here:
You can see some of the MSM playing follow the leader below….
- Breaking: NHC Modifies Hurricane Warning Definition in Wake of Sandy (livescience.com)
- NHC Modifies Hurricane Warning Definition In Wake Of Sandy (huffingtonpost.com)
- National Hurricane Center re-defines the term hurricane warning (earthsky.org)
- Breaking News: NHC Modifies Hurricane Warning Definition in Wake of Sandy (paramuspost.com)
- Hurricane Warnings : A New Policy (wjla.com)
- Sandy forces change to hurricane warning definition (usatoday.com)
- National Hurricane Center to change alert system to include transitioning storms (sacbee.com)