(Computer model image of Hurricane Sandy)
Following the events leading up to Hurricane Sandy in October of 2012, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) has officially established new watch/warning/advisory and product changes associated with tropical and post-tropical cyclones (including hurricanes).
Last year, there was a lot of debate about the NHC’s decision to not issue Hurricane Watches or Warnings for the mid-Atlantic and New England shorelines as Hurricane Sandy approached the coast. The NHC argued that based off of technicalities, Hurricane Watches and Warnings were not necessary. Due to Sandy being such an unusual storm, it brought hurricane-force conditions to a very large portion of the East Coast. Millions were affected, but most were never included in any Hurricane Watches or Warnings. Some believe that more effective preparations may have been put into place if there had been a clearer communication that hurricane-like conditions would impact areas like New York City.
Essentially, the NHC will partner with the NWS and if a storm is expected to bring strong winds and coastal flooding comparable to those of a hurricane, a Hurricane Watch or Warning can be issued, even if the storm may not “technically” be considered a hurricane.
*The new changes will take affect beginning on June 1st, 2013.