NOAA's Small Step and Big Miss

By: Bryan Norcross , 4:28 AM GMT on December 06, 2012

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NOAA confirmed and then unconfirmed on Wednesday that they decided to redefine a Hurricane Warning… slightly. A report issued after last week’s annual NOAA Hurricane Meeting – where they review the past hurricane season and vote on improved policies – includes the new language. It defines a Hurricane Warning as:

An announcement that sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are expected somewhere within the (hurricane warning) 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.

Why they did the confirmation double-dance is a mystery. Accuweather.com jumped the gun and released this small part of the document before an official NOAA press release was sent out. They got confirmation that it was accurate from folks at the National Hurricane Center, as did we at The Weather Channel. Then later in the day, NOAA in Washington chimed in and said, in effect, “stop the presses, it’s just a proposal”. Whatever.

Obviously, it’s an effort to do something in reaction to the communications boondoggle they created by not putting up Hurricane Watches and Warnings north of North Carolina when Hurricane Sandy was heading toward New Jersey. In any case, this is a good policy. It’s clear and it’s explicit. The problem is, it doesn't solve the problem.

The definition of a Hurricane Warning has been:

An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected somewhere within the (hurricane warning) area. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

So the difference is that the new definition refers explicitly to “tropical, sub-tropical, and post-tropical cyclones”. And that the warning can stay up if a giant storm surge is going to smash the coast, even if the winds drop below the 74 mph threshold.

That’s all well and good, but it doesn't REQUIRE that a Hurricane Warning be issued during a Sandy-like situation. And the explanation section of the report goes to great lengths to justify the bonehead decision not to issue Hurricane Watches and Warnings in Sandy. It’s like they didn't live through the same storm we did.

Not only is it demonstrably bad communications policy – really smart people didn't get the message that a monster storm surge was going to cream the coastline – but it turned out to be bad meteorology.

“Hurricane conditions” were still occurring at 9:00 PM when Sandy’s center was 15 miles offshore of Atlantic City. The advisory from the NHC showed Sandy as a Post-Tropical Cyclone with sustained winds of 80 mph with gusts at JFK at 79 mph. Earlier in the evening, Islip, NY had 90 mph gusts. Those are “hurricane conditions” any day of the week.

It’s frustrating and disappointing that the NOAA report goes on and on defending the Sandy decisions. It was the worst communication debacle that I can remember from the National Weather Service. This report should have admitted that, and provided clear remedies so it never happens again.

The premise of their reasoning is that the Hurricane Warning would have to have been taken down if the Sandy made a meteorological transition from a hurricane to a post-tropical storm (a nor’easter). It predicts that a calamity of confusion would have overtaken people in the hurricane zone if that happened.

First of all, nobody would have been confused if they didn't confuse people. The messaging was in their control. They should have left up the Hurricane Warning until the threat was over. If the system wouldn't allow that, the report should have laid out a way to protect against the system ever again getting in the way of using the best tools to warn people of a disaster in the making.

Second, there really was no Plan B. After they decided to keep the National Hurricane Center out of the communications equation, they were left with the hodgepodge of alerts from the local National Weather Service offices, which nobody understands or knows where to find. The hodgepodge is NOT equivalent to a Hurricane Warning. Never was and never will be. Everybody but NOAA seems to know that.

I offer this quantitative proof. Hits on the NHC website: billions. Hits on the local NWS sites’ warning bulletins: not billions. My qualitative proof is that the people that run New York City didn’t get the message, and they had a local National Weather Service meteorologist embedded at emergency management. How much more proof do you need?

The fact is, local National Weather Service offices are not designed for monster hurricanes like Sandy. That’s what national centers like the NHC are for, and where the people with the most experience with hurricanes are working. That’s not to say that the meteorologists at the local NWS offices don’t work hard and aren’t extremely skilled. My experience is just the opposite. But, they don’t deal with hurricanes year in and year out, and they don’t have the tools to communicate. They don’t even have a Hurricane Warning.

It is NOT the case that a Hurricane Warning would have guaranteed the right response by local and state governments and by the people in harms way. A LOT went wrong throughout the warning and response system. But how do we begin to fix it if the smart people can’t look at what happened and admit it was a colossal screwup?

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27. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
4:36 AM GMT on December 17, 2012
bnorcross has created a new entry.
26. terstorm
4:03 PM GMT on December 14, 2012
Also a lot of the points Dr. Norcross is bringing up will be addressed in the Service Assessment. I've been reading them from past storms and events--they're really quite illuminating.

And there most certainly will be a Service Assessment, because of these issues being bought up.

(Oh, and the Mayor of Atlantic City and Governor Christie have a beef that goes back to the beginning of Christie's term. What we saw during the storm was an offshoot of that. His decision to shelter people in the city also seems to be related to incidents that occured during the Irene evacuation where people sat on evacuation buses for half a day. It was not a wise choice on his part, but I don't know if you can blame the weather service's lack of warnings for that---Atlantic City is in the Mt. Holly service area, and their forecasts were not only dire, they were written in very, very clear English.)
Member Since: October 11, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 27
25. V26R
12:20 AM GMT on December 13, 2012
Thanks Chillin
Ya'd think that after all these years on this site I would know how to post a link!
Member Since: July 20, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1762
24. ChillinInTheKeys
10:06 PM GMT on December 12, 2012
Quoting V26R:
Guess the link I posted didn't work?
Sorry
Thanks for correcting that Rookie!

Chillin I don't think it was them going rouge
I think it was them just showing their incompetitance
at doing their job
If you want something really scarey, look at Uptons
(The NYC WFO (Actually OKX))forecast for Sunday through Wednesday
"Periods of Rain, maybe Heavy at times and Breezy"!
Nice huh?
Mount Holly, the next WFO to my south, actually "Philadelphia" had it more together with their dire warnings!


Can't argue with that!

Regarding your link, when you manually paste one, it always comes up with a space somewhere that needs to be deleted for the link to work. Your space is in "sandyTra nsition".
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 687
23. V26R
10:01 PM GMT on December 12, 2012
Guess the link I posted didn't work?
Sorry
Thanks for correcting that Rookie!

Chillin I don't think it was them going rouge
I think it was them just showing their incompetitance
at doing their job
If you want something really scarey, look at Uptons
(The NYC WFO (Actually OKX))forecast for Sunday through Wednesday
"Periods of Rain, maybe Heavy at times and Breezy"!
Nice huh?
Mount Holly, the next WFO to my south, actually "Philadelphia" had it more together with their dire warnings!
Member Since: July 20, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1762
22. Some1Has2BtheRookie
9:07 PM GMT on December 12, 2012
Quoting V26R:
Boy talking about covering their Arses

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/news/20121027_pa_sandyTra nsition.pdf


Here is the link - Hurricane Sandy's Transition to a Post-Tropical Cyclone
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4745
21. ChillinInTheKeys
8:52 PM GMT on December 12, 2012
I picked this from Bryans November 12th Blog...

"A piece of the puzzle might be the local New York-area forecast from the National Weather Service Saturday morning:

2 TO 3 FT ABOVE ASTRONOMICAL TIDES MONDAY MORNING INTO TUESDAY MORNING...WITH POSSIBLE HIGHER DEPARTURES DEPENDENT UPON THE TRACK OF SANDY.

Holy crap! That was a TERRIBLE forecast. The water rose about 9 feet at the Battery Monday night, and higher in other places. By Saturday afternoon, 8 hours later, they made a slight adjustment:

POTENTIAL FOR 4 TO 8 FT DEPARTURES MONDAY NIGHT INTO TUESDAY MORNING.

How is that kind of radical change possible when the forecast for the storm didn't change at all? It's possible because the people that know the most about storm surge are at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, and the local National Weather Service offices sometimes go rogue before coordinating their message with the NHC."
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 687
20. V26R
8:41 PM GMT on December 12, 2012
Boy talking about covering their Arses

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/news/20121027_pa_sandyTra nsition.pdf
Member Since: July 20, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1762
19. V26R
1:33 AM GMT on December 11, 2012
Quoting terstorm:

Now the story I've heard through the weatherweenie grapevine is the FOs didn't want hurricane warnings and the NHC did--so this change, if and when it happens, will be very welcome.

Throw another rumor into the mill thats floating around up here that the NHC got an order not to post anything from FEMA because of insurance issues.
The conspiracy mill is running rampant, but from what Im seeing up here is that many of the insurance companies are not paying out the full payments because they are classifing it a "Tidal Surge" and not anything to do with any magnitude storm, so that clears them. This I can name names of people who are getting screwed by this! Really Sad, whats the use in having home insurance then?
Member Since: July 20, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1762
18. V26R
1:22 AM GMT on December 11, 2012
After thinking some, I have to agree with you both
A Hurricane Warning might have not made that much of a difference but if one additional life is saved by it
It would be worth it
As a side note, if you notice the official "Body" Count out of Staten Island never was released
I know that as the streets were being swept of sand residue by backhoes and bulldozers that many victims were recovered that never made it into the news because there was nobody to ID them.
And WISTA I really have to give Christie some real credit that he took the bull by the horns about the evacuation orders. Also if you're gonna rip apart Bloombag for his lack of attention regarding this, How do you explain the Mayor of AC by publically going against Christies orders and telling his people to stay put??? As for evacuating for a Tornado vs a Hurricane event Wista, there is no comparison. Just look at the amount of territory that a Tornado can cover in its damage path, Maybe on the low range 5-10 miles long by maybe 1 or 2 wide? Im no math technician, but how does that compair with a storm that had coverage basically up and down the east coast with weather effects all the way out to Bermuda on the East to Chicago on the west with sustained winds of (I'll go minimum) of 75 mph with gusts to 90(?) vs a Wind storm of F1-F2 Class of Maybe 130 over a few minutes? Sorry no comparison so again where could they have ran to in such a short period of time?
Member Since: July 20, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1762
17. terstorm
4:31 PM GMT on December 10, 2012
I live in PA but I watched NYC and Philadelphia media online from the Friday onward. If anyone deserves major credit for getting out warnings that a seriously major storm was coming, the media establishments in both markets do. Not to mention the Weather Channel too. It helps that both media markets have very competent meteorologists and weather experts. Philadelphia has a well known hurricane-specialist on its NBC station and has since I was a teenager (I'm in my 30s now). It's part of his dern name!

The words "hurricane warning" might have made a difference, but I think they probably wouldn't have, because of the experience with Irene along the coast--when it comes to people, not emergency management. That's just my opinion.

Now the story I've heard through the weatherweenie grapevine is the FOs didn't want hurricane warnings and the NHC did--so this change, if and when it happens, will be very welcome.
Member Since: October 11, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 27
16. Wista
11:35 AM GMT on December 10, 2012
I really love what you people are saying about how everyone knew about all these warnings about the massive surge and winds.
Where are you all?
Obviously not in the General NYC area


I live in the NYC area (in NJ, but close to NYC). I admit that since I do not live in NYC, I did not pay any attention to what Bloomberg might have said. But I did not pay that much attention to whether my local town was issuing a warning and did not give much attention to whether Christie issued a warning or not. It was clear from the weather reports (on the NYC channels, and NYC stations) that a major serious storm was on the way. Ditto from anyone who goes online to check weather (not just weather mavens). The warnings about an 'extremely dangerous storm' are very explicit, far more than the magic word 'hurricane' (which may not even mean that much to someone in the tri state area who has little experience with hurricanes).

[My comment is solely about the NWS's performance, not that of Bloomberg or other local emergency managers. ]

I think the real problem may have been that Irene lulled NYC into a false sense of complacency. Warnings were issued then, and the storm turned out to be not that bad in NYC and the barrier islands, although it was still bad in parts of NJ, upstate NY and Vermont. That underscores the problem with 'false' alarms

And exactly how and where are people going to go to evacuate with less than 24 hours notice of a Major Weather Event

Obviously, more notice would be ideal, but there are certain major weather events (such as tornadoes) for which there is barely an hour's notice. And even in terms of hurricane forecasting, I gather that there used to be far less notice just 20-30 years (1-3 days )back.

I doubt the loss of life would have been different if a hurricane warning had been issued. There were people on NJ's barrier islands, after Christie yelled at them to get off (just as there were folks who ignored the extremely explicit Katrina warnings).

Member Since: December 6, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6
15. V26R
4:55 PM GMT on December 09, 2012
Bap
When was this video taken of people lining up at a Manhattan store to get supplies?
Newsflash
People line up and go crazy here in NYC whenever the
local news people say chance of snow flurries
Up to Sunday there were NO notifications of any type from official offices telling people that this was going to be a major event, (I'll even give you Saturday night, because I was working)
I really agree that just a Hurricane Warning would not have changed peoples minds about evacuating etc...
But maybe it would have caught the attention of alot more people earlier and if the NHC/NWS's wordings in their advisories for Sunday thru Tuesday would have been more strongly worded (Like Mount Holly did instead of just breezy with rain heavy at times) the situation may have been a little different with the loss of life, But No there were no watches or warnings of any type issued except a High Wind Warning, which get get alot of times during the winter and spring months!
Member Since: July 20, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1762
14. bappit
8:36 PM GMT on December 08, 2012
First, a trivial correction. Definition of BOONDOGGLE from Mary and Webster:
1
: a braided cord worn by Boy Scouts as a neckerchief slide, hatband, or ornament
2
: a wasteful or impractical project or activity often involving graft

Maybe you wanted to say SNAFU.

Now an important observation.
I saw video of people lining up on the street waiting to enter grocery stores in Manhattan. Someone told them what was going on. They got the message, so whether the NHC issued a hurricane warning does not seem that important.

An important correction.
Norcross is going after a simple solution to a more difficult problem. How do you get the message to everyone and get them to act? We didn't solve this problem for other hurricanes where hurricane warnings were issued.

#9 Bloomberg is just one of those people who didn't act. He heard the message and ignored it. I bet if he lived on Staten Island (fat chance) he would have been swimming and, maybe, drowning.

Yep: "Just issue a hurricane warning. Everything would have been dandy!" That idea makes absolutely no sense.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6061
13. V26R
8:05 PM GMT on December 08, 2012
Katrina didn't even measure up to the Saffir Simpson system either, So you just can't compair Sandy to it
So if the Weather systems are changing their characteristics
And are they really changing? Or are the way we are measuring their characteristics getting more accurate and they aren't changing at all?
Why shouldn't we change the way we measure them and the way people are warned that they are coming?
Member Since: July 20, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1762
12. wxgeek723
5:27 PM GMT on December 08, 2012
The Saffir-Simpson scale definitely has its limits, but Sandy is honestly not the best example of them. I don't think there's any way a scale can account for the impacts of a freak hybrid superstorm, lol.
Member Since: August 28, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3590
11. V26R
3:21 PM GMT on December 08, 2012
Hey Trap
Hope all is well down there!
Thats an excellent idea considering the way its laid out
The Extensive, Extreme and Catastrophic catagories
are way out of alignment and should be adjusted!

Hopefully alot of good will come out of this situation! and many lives will be saved in the future!
Member Since: July 20, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1762
10. Patrap
2:59 AM GMT on December 08, 2012
Maybe we can dismantle the Saffir-Simpson Scale next, it is a terrible way to explain the severity and impact of a Hurricane.

Very misleading too.

We can and should do better.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128764
9. V26R
12:04 AM GMT on December 08, 2012
I really love what you people are saying about how everyone knew about all these warnings about the massive surge and winds.
Where are you all?
Obviously not in the General NYC area
Our knucklehead Mayor Bloombag was claiming the week before that evacuations weren't necessay because this wasn't going to be a Hurricane type of storm and that people will be worse off if the leave the area because in Irene the Upstate area got pounded, not us!
Even Upton screwed the pooch on this one
Their Forecast for Monday and Tuesday didn't even mention anything about Very High Winds until Sunday!
If I remember their correct wording, Breezy with Rain
Temps in the 50's to 60's (sorry don't remember the exact temp range!)
Even the NHC never posted any Trop8ical System Watches or Warnings for North of the DelMarVa!
Only Sunday did Bloombag stay saying that this was going to be a Dangerous Major Weather System
Bryan said it correctly in an early message, that if people are going to be needed to evacuated they need to hear the proper wording from the people in the know
THIS WASN"T BLOOMBAG! He sure as you know what didn't even come close to stating anything like that, Upton?
Nope not them either, The only ones I give props to is Mount Holly who had the balls to go to the wall in their statements. And exactly how and where are people going to go to evacuate with less than 24 hours notice of a Major Weather Event? Geeez this isn't the 1940's! We got Satellites, computers, and even this new fangled thing called radar! Why couldn't the powers that be just do the right thing
The damage would have happened, people would have lost their houses, but the loss of life would have been alot less
Mike in Tottenville, Staten Island
Member Since: July 20, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1762
8. terstorm
6:19 PM GMT on December 07, 2012
I agree with Wista.

Changes do need to be made, but I think it's a stretch to say "there wasn't any warning." There rather was.

It seems pretty obvious to me, watching reports on the day the storm hit, that people felt it'd be another Irene, despite what local media was saying and had been for several days.
Member Since: October 11, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 27
7. FromChester
5:47 AM GMT on December 07, 2012
Well said-

When I tell friends, or acquaintances that studying meteorology is my hobby, several of them have said...

"Ooh, so what have you learned about studying meteors?"

That, right there just shows you that the average person doesn't have the knowledge, or just plain doesn't care about weather. My GF snickered at me when I told her I belonged to a weather forum. She said...they have forums for weather?? What for?"

I wonder...how many honest hard working people there are, who don't really care or pay attention to the weather, or have even heard of NHC? Or NWS? I think ignorant is prob the best word for them...ignorance isn't always bliss.

So, they rely on officials (say the NYC officials) to give them warnings. And its probably safe to say that at least some percentage of the officials aren't weather gurus either. Because of this, the mixed message NHC gave out trickled down, and in the end, aided in putting far too many millions in danger. Yes, NWS handed out strongly worded warnings..but again, how many actually go to that website?

On another side, I think that last years experience with Irene put people in a false sense of security since the effects in NYC, and NJ were relatively weak. It is also very easy to say..."oh it won't happen to me!" And since these people live in the NE, they are mostly right, because tropical systems are rare. The last really big one was probably Hurricane Bob in 1991...over 20 yrs ago.

I hate to sound pessimistic, it is just how I see it. In general, most don't heed warnings because of misunderstanding, or plain ignorance.
Member Since: May 22, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
6. Wista
3:31 PM GMT on December 06, 2012
I had never read this blog before or looked at this site prior to 3 weeks back (my interest in the science of weather forecasting has been piqued by Sandy. Indeed, if you had asked me what weather underground was 3 weeks back, I would have said it was an old underground group.

I used to just glance at weather online on the weather channel site and the NWS page, and the warnings prior to Sandy seemed quite clear to me. I doubt the word hurricane would have conveyed anything to me that extremely dangerous did not. And even if a normal person could miss the warning, I really don't see how an emergency manager could have failed to realize that a massive and dangerous storm was on the way.

Of course, there were people who refused to evacuate areas of NYC and NJ even after extremely clear and explicit warnings by Christie and others. Its not a failure of communication, its people failing to take appropriate action in response to clear communication, maybe because they have been desensitized.

I certainly accept that communications could have been improved (and that they should be improved for next time), but I doubt it would have that much difference to the overall response if the magical word 'hurricane' had been added. And I think weather forecasters did a remarkable job in forecasting Sandy several days prior to landfall. That seems to be getting lost here.
Member Since: December 6, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6
5. MahFL
3:18 PM GMT on December 06, 2012
The main problem was people did not realise Sandy was going to come ashore and slam them, including the storm surge. They still had the mentality it was just a bad North Easter, that may infact not be all that bad, like so many others. They had a rude awakening.
I definately heard Bloomburg say one day it proberbly wasn't going to be all that bad, when 14 feet of storm surge was forcast and the subway entrances are 8 feet above sea level.
Ordinary people can't be blamed too much, but as you say City Officals should have known better.

A prime example was that Parish president in SE Louisianna who knew the 8 feet sand bags weren't going to cut it for the 13 feet forecasted surge ( I forget which storm that was ).
Member Since: June 9, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 3550
4. Bryan Norcross , Hurricane Specialist
2:56 PM GMT on December 06, 2012
For most people that read this blog or use wunderground.com, in general, Hurricane Sandy was no surprise. As the reader says, we knew 5-6 days in advance that it was going to be a threat and could be very bad. But, the people in charge in New York don't read these blogs or go to websites to get their information. They get it directly from the National Weather Service through internal Situation Reports (SitReps) and briefings. They are in a bubble.

A vast numbers of other people - most people - never go to a weather website except to look at the forecast icons for the next 10 days. The forecast rhetoric never penetrates their world. That's why it's critical that the communications coming from trusted leaders accurately portrays the threat... and does it in a timely fashion.

The results of the process in Sandy was a misunderstanding of the threat by the people that run New York City, and late communications by the people in New Jersey, New York state, and elsewhere who should have been on TV on Thursday, 5 days before the storm, getting people ready to evacuate and take other protective action if necessary.

New York firefighters didn't understand the threat to their families because they get their information from their bosses who get information from city emergency management.

The bottom line is, the system did NOT work. Smart people working very hard and doing their best are running a tragically flawed machine. The lack of a Hurricane Warning is a tiny symptom of a massively dysfunctional communications system that includes the feds, the states, the cities, the media, and more.

The point of my blog was to say, as long as they can't see and accept that the system is flawed, they will never be able to fix it.
Member Since: August 24, 2012 Posts: 40 Comments: 8
3. Wista
12:48 PM GMT on December 06, 2012
Also, you said earlier how did a well predicted storm that did well predicted things cause so much hardship and death?

Obviously, any death is a tragedy. But with a storm of this magnitude, stretching across multiple densely populated states, casualties are bound to take place. The deaths included lots of tree falls, people electrocuted by wires, a few boats out to sea, cars trying to drive though flooded areas, carbon monoxide inhalation etc. Every day, nearly 100 people are killed on roads in the US (with far more being injured) The goal of zero deaths or injuries in massive weather events is as impractical as that for traffic events.

Hindsight is 20/20. Warnings were issued for Hurricane Irene in the Northeast, but there were still many deaths and much hardship. Also, there are always going to be people who don't heed warnings. In the case of Katrina, the warning was as clear as possible, but there were still a number of people who did not heed the warnings. [ and in that case, the death toll was really bad].

Finally, private weather services (yes, including the weather channel) should consider whether some of their ratings driven alarmist weather forecasts (naming winter storms ?) have desensitized people to warnings and led them to ignore threats.
Member Since: December 6, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6
2. Wista
12:33 PM GMT on December 06, 2012
really smart people didn't get the message that a monster storm surge was going to cream the coastline

I frankly don't see how a really smart person could NOT have gotten the message. The NWS was warning about an extremely dangerous storm, hurricane force winds, massive storm surge etc etc. It was abundantly clear that a massive storm was on the way. Whether it was technically a hurricane or not is almost beside the point -- it seems clear that the threat level should have been obvious.

I am not a meteorologist or an emergency manager (but I do live in the storm cone) and it was bloody obvious to me from looking at the NHC's web page. Every update would show the track, the expected wind speeds in an area. Very nice graphical maps showing how the storm would progress and what wind speeds could be expected (probably on storm surges as well, although I did not follow those closely as I don't live near the coast). The Mounty Holly office issued regular briefings, warning of a very dangerous storm and situation with widespread flooding, storm surge etc. The office advised people to evacuate and the chief of the office actually said that people could call him and yell at him later if they turned out to be wrong. How much clearer can you be ?

The NWS gave warning nearly 5-6 days in advance. I doubt whether the magical word 'hurricane' would have made any difference in terms of preparation.

Member Since: December 6, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6
1. RTSplayer
5:01 AM GMT on December 06, 2012
Multi-tiered warning system needed.


I'm not the one to make the decision about exactly what that should be, but I'd suggest alternative definitions of what is a hurricane (or hurricane warning) in situations where the technical definition doesn't make sense.

I'd also suggest a system which classifies and warns on the worst case among wind or surge, and not based on peak winds alone.


If it looks like a hurricane, and has the same destructive potential as a hurricane, it should be warned as if a hurricane, even if it's not already named, and even if it's core is a degree too cold or it's hybridized to otherwise meet the definition.

It is sad that a weather agency could get so caught up in technicalities that they fail to serve their primary function, which is to communicate threats to the public to save life and limb.


If they want to argue about whether it was or was not technically a hurricane, so they can make classification distinctions, well that can be done in the post-season.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520

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