NOAA’s National Hurricane Center to Provide Greater Lead Time in Watches and Warnings

January 5, 2010

NHC Director Bill Read provides to the TV audience the latest information on Hurricane Ida, Nov., 2009.

NHC Director Bill Read provides the TV audience with the latest information on Hurricane Ida, Nov. 2009.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

NOAA’s National Hurricane Center in Miami will issue watches and warnings for tropical storms and hurricanes along threatened coastal areas 12 hours earlier than in previous years. According to NHC experts, advancements in track forecasts are making it possible for forecasters to provide greater lead time.

Tropical storm watches will be issued when tropical storm conditions are possible along the coast within 48 hours. Tropical storm warnings will be issued when those conditions are expected within 36 hours. This is an increase of 12 hours from those issued in previous years.

Similar increases in lead-time will apply to hurricane watches and warnings. The hurricane watches and warnings will generally be timed to provide 48 and 36 hours notice, respectively, before the onset of tropical storm force winds. That additional time will also allow people preparing for the storm – securing oil rig platforms, getting food and water stockpiled, boarding windows, etc., – enough time to finish preparations and get to safe shelter.

NHC hurricane specialist Dan Brown discusses the watches and warnings in place along the U.S. Gulf coast for Hurricane Ida, Nov. 2009.

NHC hurricane specialist Dan Brown discusses the watches and warnings in place along the U.S. Gulf coast for Hurricane Ida, Nov. 2009.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

“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.

These changes will go into effect for the 2010 hurricane season, which begins on May 15 in the Eastern Pacific and on June 1 for the Atlantic Basin.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.