NHC increases hurricane forecast lead times

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:27 PM GMT on January 05, 2010

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The National Hurricane Center (NHC) announced today that beginning with the 2010 hurricane season, their hurricane and tropical storm watches and warnings for the U.S. coast will be extended in time by an additional 12 hours. Warnings will now be issued 36 hours in advance instead of 24 hours, and watches will be issued 48 hours in advance, instead of 36 hours. The increase in lead time for watches and warnings has been made possible by the tremendous improvement in hurricane track forecasts, which have improved by over 50% in the past twenty years (Figure 1). "With increases in population and infrastructure along vulnerable U.S. coastlines, emergency managers need more lead time in order to make life-saving decisions regarding evacuations", said Bill Read, director of NOAA's National Hurricane Center, in today's press release.


Figure 1. Average track errors for NHC Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane forecasts issued between 1990 - 2008. Track errors have improved by over 50% in the past 20 years. Image credit: National Hurricane Center.

Commentary
NHC has been debating for a number of years how best to "invest" the gains accrued from the steady improvement in hurricane track forecasts. One obvious savings from these better hurricane forecasts has come from the reduced evacuation costs. When a hurricane warning is issued 24 hours before the expected arrival of hurricane-force winds at the coast, it costs approximately $1 million to evacuate each mile of U.S. coast warned (Aberson et al., 2006). This number will be higher for more densely populated areas of the coast, such as Miami, and may be a factor of six lower for the North Carolina coast (Whitehead, 2003). According to a 2007 presentation at the 61st Interdepartmental Hurricane Conference, the length of coast warned decreased significantly in the past decade. During the decade of the 1990s, the average length of a hurricane warning was 455 miles, but that fell to just 335 miles between 2000 - 2006. Thus, an average of 120 fewer miles of coast were warned, at an average savings of $120 million per hurricane warning issuance. During this period, 17 storms requiring 25 hurricane warnings occurred. If the costs of coastal evacuations are indeed $1 million per mile, the improved hurricane forecasts between 2000 - 2006 resulted in savings of $3 billion compared to what the forecasts of the 1990s would have cost.

However, the new increased lead times for hurricane watches and warnings will lead to an increase in the length of coast warned, due to the higher uncertainties in hurricane tracks at longer forecast lead times. Between 2004 - 2008, approximately 25% of the coast that was placed under a hurricane warning actually received hurricane force winds; this percentage was 20% for areas placed under a hurricane watch. These percentages will decline with the new increased watch and warning lead times, costing money in unnecessary evacuations, and leading to increased complacency in the warned population due to too much "crying wolf".

Balanced against these increased costs is the potential disastrous loss of life should a hurricane hit an unprepared, heavily populated shoreline. With the U.S. population continuing to increase rapidly in coastal regions, the time needed to evacuate vulnerable populated regions is increasing. For example, evacuation times for the major urban areas of Texas are 28 - 34 hours for a major hurricane. Though the costs of overwarning the coast is significant, the savings in both human lives and dollars from increased warning times should outweigh these costs. In the 2002 book, Hurricane: Coping With Disaster, Dr. Hugh Willoughby, former director of the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Marine Laboratory, analyzed hurricane death statistics. In 1950, about 70 U.S. residents died per year in hurricanes. In the 50 years since, the coastal population expanded by a factor of 3.2, so if we were managing the hurricane problem the way we did in 1950, we would be losing about 220 people a year. The long-term average is still about twenty per year, not including the deaths due to the levee failures during Katrina. That means we're preventing about 200 deaths per year compared with 1950. How much are these saved lives worth? A life, is, of course, priceless, but in the cold world of economics, the value of life-saving scientific research and government regulations is estimated using statistics of what people are willing to pay to avoid certain risks, and what extra money employers pay their workers to take on additional risks. This data comes primarily from payroll statistics, but opinion surveys also play a role. In 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) valued an American life at $8 million. EPA cut the value of a life by 8% that year, and a further 3% in May 2008, making the economic value of a life $6.9 million in today's dollars. The Department of Transportation gives a lower figure of a life as being worth $5.8 million. Using this number implies a savings of about $1.2 billion per year for the 200 lives saved per year by better hurricane warnings and evacuations. Today's decision by NHC to increase warning times should continue this trend of saving lives, which will also provide considerable monetary benefit. Despite the increased costs and dangers of "crying wolf" too often due to overwarning the coast, I believe that the double value of saving lives--for both the intrinsic and monetary value of a human life--makes NHC's move of increasing warning and watch times the right call.

References
Whitehead, J.C., 2003: "One million dollars per mile? The opportunity costs of Hurricane evacuation", Ocean and Coastal Management 46, 1069.

I'll have a new post on Thursday or Friday.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting atmoaggie:

11th

Planning on building a ice-fishing shack about a 1/2 mile out on Lake P. Anyone have a gas-powered auger I can use on the ice?


Just go get an old or new porto poty cut a hole in the floor and there you go. I'd say use the new one it comes with chum. lol
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Quoting atmoaggie:

11th

Planning on building a ice-fishing shack about a 1/2 mile out on Lake P. Anyone have a gas-powered auger I can use on the ice?


Great and thanks for the answer, Atmo!

Oh, and it was meant to be two questions...
One for you,

And one for USA777...in Annapolis...therefore, ice crabbing!
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Quoting louisianaboy444:


I'm not a winter weather expert...is it possible that the cold front can get here sooner than predicted and cause a sooner transition to snow?I'm in North Louisiana by the way


The Mean Siberian Airmass from "Russia, with Love, via the North Pole" (hey Santa) will arrive on time:

Siberian Air, Flight -35, with stops in Dallas-Ft Worth, TX at Midnight 1-7-10, Shreveport/Bossier City, LA a 2AM, Austin/San Antonio at 4AM, Houston/Galveston, TX at 7AM is in schedule, with no delays.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting atmoaggie:

Until you have to reproject Lambert conic mapped data into cylindrical isotropic...
(isn't really that bad...)


I let ESRI ArcMAP GIS do that for me with the click of a button. lol
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
Atmo (fill in the ?)
When is your's again? Going ice crabbing?

11th

Planning on building a ice-fishing shack about a 1/2 mile out on Lake P. Anyone have a gas-powered auger I can use on the ice?
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Quoting tornadodude:


hmm will definitely look into that, thanks!


Otherwise go into Medical field that's were the money is and will stay. It bothers me everyday knowing I should have gone into Med school. I could have been driving a corvette and pulling into my million dollar house, ah well I went into something I loved. That's my story and Im sticking to it.
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Quoting usa777:
Brrrrrr... so much for global warming here in Maryland.

Not to mention those words?!

Okay, the Capricorn birthdays start tomorrow with Mrs. Floodman (LongStrangeTrip)...and continue throughout the month.
T-Dude's the 9th, Patrap the 15th, Atmo (fill in the ?)
When is your's again? Going ice crabbing?

The test will be Open Blog.
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Quoting StormChaser81:


I would look into Geography considering it is very close to Meteorology and there still is weather involved. Plus barely any Math at all.

Until you have to reproject Lambert conic mapped data into cylindrical isotropic...
(isn't really that bad...)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Bordonaro:


That cold front is "hauling a*?' isn't it.

My anenometer is warming up for the Midnight Premier of, "It's Siberian Baby", a premier Arctic air-mass that's "vintage 1996 Arctic premium frozen".

Current conditions in SE Arlington, TX @ 1:54PM:

Sky: Cloudy
Temp: 47F
Dew Point: 39F
Rel Hum: 73%
Winds SE at 6 MPH, G to 11 MPH
Wind Chill: 39F
Bar Press: 30.07" and falling (pressure has fallen 0.43" in 12 hrs)


I'm not a winter weather expert...is it possible that the cold front can get here sooner than predicted and cause a sooner transition to snow?I'm in North Louisiana by the way
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Quoting Grothar:


Not a good place to have been, I am sure! I was living in Cutler Ridge (Cutler Bay now)at the time.


For months I thought they were talking on the local news of a place i've never heard about before. Then about 2 years ago one of my friends pointed out to be that ridge and bay are one in the same.
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3784
Quoting ElConando:


That is FAST.


That cold front is "hauling a*?' isn't it.

My anenometer is warming up for the Midnight Premier of, "It's Siberian Baby", a premier Arctic air-mass that's "vintage 1996 Arctic premium frozen".

Current conditions in SE Arlington, TX @ 1:54PM:

Sky: Cloudy
Temp: 47F
Dew Point: 39F
Rel Hum: 73%
Winds SE at 6 MPH, G to 11 MPH
Wind Chill: 39F
Bar Press: 30.07" and falling (pressure has fallen 0.43" in 12 hrs)
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting Grothar:


Not a good place to have been, I am sure! I was living in Cutler Ridge (Cutler Bay now)at the time.


That's wasn't a great area to be in either!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BobinTampa:
tornadodude,

My advice? don't do it!!!

I majored in PR and wished I had majored in something else. Minor in PR/Marketing but stick with a major in something more substantive.

EXACTLY...I've said similar about RTVF -- thanks for the support!
I'd just look at the Dep't. of Labor and other career projection reports...and pick one. PR/Marketing/Broadcasting/Journalism etc. is a fine minor or secondary.
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Quoting StormChaser81:


I would look into Geography considering it is very close to Meteorology and there still is weather involved. Plus barely any Math at all.


hmm will definitely look into that, thanks!
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting tornadodude:


well I havent completely switched majors, I'm just trying it out for the semester


I would look into Geography considering it is very close to Meteorology and there still is weather involved. Plus barely any Math at all.
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Is it possible that the cold front can overrun the moisture all together?
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Quoting CaneWarning:


Oh, I remember Andrew! I was in Homestead for it.


Not a good place to have been, I am sure! I was living in Cutler Ridge (Cutler Bay now)at the time.
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Quoting Bordonaro:


That Arctic/Siberian front was at 47N latitude at 12 Midnight CST. It is at the 37N latitude now at 12:45PM CST. That's 700 miles in 12hrs, 45 min. That cold front is moving South at about 55MPH.


That is FAST.
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3784
Quoting Grothar:


You're really making us feel good!!!! Keep it up and I will get Awake and Flood after you!! LOL. It snowed in Miami that year as well, and yes I was alive to see it! It really was a sight. Not much stayed on the ground, but it was coming down for sure.

My SON was born near Denver in May '77. I remember it being around 70 degrees F. a few days in February. It can snow more than a foot, and then the next day it's sunny, and you're out in a sweatshirt shoveling as it's melting. I thought it was heaven.

Apropos of nothing...I hate East Coast skiing.
In Colorado, you can stay dry and warm(er).
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:
AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION...UPDATED
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AMARILLO TX
1245 PM CST WED JAN 6 2010

.AVIATION...
ARCTIC COLD FRONT IS PRESSING THROUGH THE GUY TAF SITE NOW.
THE FOG
AT THE GUY TAF EARLIER HAS LIFTED. CIGS WILL PROBABLY STAY IN THE
LOWER END OF MVFR OR HIGHER END OF IFR FOR MUCH OF TONIGHT...BEFORE
LIFTING. LOW CLOUDS WILL CONTINUE TO SPREAD SOUTHWARD LATE THIS
AFTERNOON EVENING ACROSS THE DHT AND AMA TAF SITES. NORTH WINDS WILL
GET UP INTO THE 30 TO 40 KNOT RANGE WITH HIGHER GUSTS WITH AND FOR A
FEW HOURS BEHIND THE FRONT. THE AMA TAF SITE WILL BE CLOSE TO
AVIATION WEATHER WARNING CRITERIA...GUSTS TO 40 KNOTS OR
GREATER...BUT WILL KEEP THE FORECAST JUST BELOW FOR NOW. SOME SNOW
WILL BE POSSIBLE OVERNIGHT...BUT VSBYS ARE EXPECTED TO STAY ABOVE THE
MVFR RANGE. CONDITIONS SHOULD START TO IMPROVE AT ALL TAF SITES
THURSDAY MORNING.


That Arctic/Siberian front was at 47N latitude at 12 Midnight CST. It is at the 37N latitude now at 12:45PM CST.

That's 700 miles in 12hrs, 45 min. That cold front is moving South at about 55MPH.

Ike, giving that Arctic Front a speeding ticket!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Good Afternoon everyone...it doesnt look like the cold air is in a hurry to leave...They are predicting a frozen Mess here in Northern Louisiana....Freezing rain thats the stuff last time i got that i stayed without power for 3 days
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Anyone have any clue what this clipper's forecast to do in the mid-atl later this week?
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News up here keep showing different water fountains down there covered in ice,we northerns seem to get delight out of this weather,that is of course until all the produce prices go up,then we start complaining.
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Quoting ElConando:


I slept through Andrew like a baby, pun intended.

Now I feel old...thought I was fairly young, but I was a junior in HS when Andrew visited. Now we have a baby-during-Andrew in college...
Still remember being outside when the eye passed over Baton Rouge...
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Quoting BobinTampa:
tornadodude,

My advice? don't do it!!!

I majored in PR and wished I had majored in something else. Minor in PR/Marketing but stick with a major in something more substantive.


well I havent completely switched majors, I'm just trying it out for the semester
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Brrrrrr... so much for global warming here in Maryland.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
862. IKE
AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION...UPDATED
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AMARILLO TX
1245 PM CST WED JAN 6 2010

.AVIATION...
ARCTIC COLD FRONT IS PRESSING THROUGH THE GUY TAF SITE NOW.
THE FOG
AT THE GUY TAF EARLIER HAS LIFTED. CIGS WILL PROBABLY STAY IN THE
LOWER END OF MVFR OR HIGHER END OF IFR FOR MUCH OF TONIGHT...BEFORE
LIFTING. LOW CLOUDS WILL CONTINUE TO SPREAD SOUTHWARD LATE THIS
AFTERNOON EVENING ACROSS THE DHT AND AMA TAF SITES. NORTH WINDS WILL
GET UP INTO THE 30 TO 40 KNOT RANGE WITH HIGHER GUSTS WITH AND FOR A
FEW HOURS BEHIND THE FRONT. THE AMA TAF SITE WILL BE CLOSE TO
AVIATION WEATHER WARNING CRITERIA...GUSTS TO 40 KNOTS OR
GREATER...BUT WILL KEEP THE FORECAST JUST BELOW FOR NOW. SOME SNOW
WILL BE POSSIBLE OVERNIGHT...BUT VSBYS ARE EXPECTED TO STAY ABOVE THE
MVFR RANGE. CONDITIONS SHOULD START TO IMPROVE AT ALL TAF SITES
THURSDAY MORNING.
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Sat high has been lowered from 45 to 40 degrees, overnight low still 14. COLD!!!
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3784
tornadodude,

My advice? don't do it!!!

I majored in PR and wished I had majored in something else. Minor in PR/Marketing but stick with a major in something more substantive.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CaneWarning:


Oh, I remember Andrew! I was in Homestead for it.


I slept through Andrew like a baby, pun intended.
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3784
Bobin the only reason the temps are supposed to return to normal is this system thats going to be a severe weather outbreak.



Note: look at the snow storm for the south...

then its supposed to return to the cold :(

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Quoting Grothar:


The scary part is that Sesame Street had already been on more than 20 years when you were born. LOL Tell me, any recollections of Hurricane Andrew in 1992???


Oh, I remember Andrew! I was in Homestead for it.
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Quoting BobinTampa:
tornadodude,
I saw you mention changing your major to Public Relations/Marketing. What were you majoring in?


Meteorology :P

Quoting Grothar:


The scary part is that Sesame Street had already been on more than 20 years when you were born. LOL Tell me, any recollections of Hurricane Andrew in 1992???


none at all ha barely remember the Cowboy's superbowls
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting tornadodude:
I definitely wasnt alive yet!


The scary part is that Sesame Street had already been on more than 20 years when you were born. LOL Tell me, any recollections of Hurricane Andrew in 1992???
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
tornadodude,
I saw you mention changing your major to Public Relations/Marketing. What were you majoring in?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I definitely wasnt alive yet!
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Ok, snow in Tampa would be awesome. I hope it happens but kinda doubt it will. God never lets me have any fun.

However, the cold spell is supposed to break next week for us isn't it? Back to normal temps by next Wednesday? I'd really like to play golf again someday.
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Quoting ElConando:


Student


Thats cool i spent almost 5 years there going to FSU.
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Quoting Jeff9641:


I wasn't here either I still had a couple of years to go before I popped out. LOL


You're really making us feel good!!!! Keep it up and I will get Awake and Flood after you!! LOL. It snowed in Miami that year as well, and yes I was alive to see it! It really was a sight. Not much stayed on the ground, but it was coming down for sure.
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What's up, folks! :)

It's pretty frigid up here in northern New Mexico, but the sun is out and melting snow. Of course, that melted snow will puddle and turn to ice overnight, but such is life! :)

I updated my blog at: http://1kwordaday.blogspot.com

Day 15 of 1,000 words a day and already at Chapter 6 of my hurricane action/adventure, "Chasers."

All this talk about cold weather makes me wish it were closer to June 1st than it is.

Peace, out.
Oz---
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Quoting Patrap:
12Z GENS zdp Image Loop

64 frames


Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
Extended Forecast Discussion


SERIOUS COLD OUTBREAK THREAT FOR FLORIDA AS THE NEXT COLD SURGE
DRIVES DEEP INTO THE GULF OF MEXICO AND FLORIDA WITH VERY LOW MID
LEVEL HTS ASSOCIATED WITH A MID LEVEL TROF THAT HAS A NEAR -4
STANDARDIZED ANOMALY IN ITS HTS AND A -4.5 TO 5 NEG STANDARDIZED
H850 TEMP ANOMALY BRINGING ANOTHER THREAT OF WELL BELOW FREEZING
TEMPS OVER THE WEEKEND DEEP INTO CENTRAL AND POSSIBLY SOUTHERN
FLORIDA WITH RECORD LOWS POSSIBLE AS FAR SOUTH AS MIAMI. THIS
BEGINS TO RIVAL THE DEC 1989 AND POSSIBLY THE JAN 1977 COLD
OUTBREAKS ACROSS FLORIDA. THIS WILL BE PRECEDED ON DAY 3 BY A COLD
FRONT WITH OVERRUNNING WINTRY TYPE OF PRECIPTAION ACROSS NRN AND
INTO CENTRAL FLORIDA. LATEST 12 GFS CLOSING OFF OF THE MID LEVEL
CENTER COLD POOL OFFERS A THREAT OF COASTAL SNOW ACROSS NERN FL
BEHIND THE COLD FRONT.


Interesting... appears the Wintry thread for CFL to NFL might actually come to fruition this Weekend. Is kind of nice to experience an unusual WX phenomena before I die (I still have a lot of time to live mind you... God willing hehe)... lol.
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Quoting StormChaser81:


Do you work at FSU or are you a student.


Student
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3784
Quoting CaneWarning:


If I remember correctly, it snowed in Tampa in 1977. Not that I was alive to see it.


Go ahead, rub it in to us old folks!!!! LOL
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Quoting ElConando:


Oh I am back at FSU right now, it got down to 17 in Tallahassee. It got down to 40 at my parents house in NMB.


Do you work at FSU or are you a student.
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Quoting atmoaggie:

??? Really, Gro, have you seen my blog? No reason to be deaf, dumb, and blind to what was published or produced before one's awareness came to be...

*enjoying the cold? /sarc_off*



/sarc_on. Who is H.G. Wells?? LOL You can pick yourself up at the airport!!! El Conando can take care of himself, he knows how to answer with good comebacks. Right El??

No, I am not enjoying the cold. My yard is surrounded by giant mahogany, black olive and Florida oak trees. If the cold spell lasts any longer my yard will be knee deep in leaves. This better end soon.
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Quoting Grothar:


Hey El! The leaves are dropping off my trees. How cold did it get by you? I am on the islands in Coral Ridge and it was COLD!!!! I did leave my outdoor lights on and the geckos did stay around them.


Oh I am back at FSU right now, it got down to 17 in Tallahassee. It got down to 40 at my parents house in NMB.
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3784
There was a just a mention on tv that there is a SLIGHT chance of snow flurries in Tampa on Saturday!
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Quoting CaneWarning:


If I remember correctly, it snowed in Tampa in 1977. Not that I was alive to see it.


Yup whole lot of Florida got snow from that system, are we looking at another similar set up. wait and see.
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Quoting ElConando:


excuse me I read the book! I may be young but I am cultured.


Hey El! The leaves are dropping off my trees. How cold did it get by you? I am on the islands in Coral Ridge and it was COLD!!!! I did leave my outdoor lights on and the geckos did stay around them.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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