Sandy Forces NHC to Rethink Hurricane Warnings


Satellite view of Sandy as She Transitions from a Hurricane to a Post-Tropical Storm

Hurricane Sandy – a massive, historic and devastating storm to our nation’s East Coast will not only go down in the history books, it will change the future – the future of how the National Hurricane Center handles these hurricane-turned-hybrid storms…

As Sandy was making landfall back in October,  the storm was undergoing changes.  This often happens late in the hurricane season when ocean waters begin to cool.  As Sandy moved over cooler waters and began interacting with a strong trough in the jet stream, she began transitioning from a hurricane to a post-tropical storm (although exactly when this happened can be debated).   While meteorologically Sandy was no longer considered a “warm-core” system at landfall, the effects people felt along the coast were basically the same – big winds, drenching rains and, most of all, a tremendous and catastrophic storm surge.  Some criticized the National Hurricane Center’s decision to no longer categorize the storm as a hurricane as approached the New Jersey shore.  In the process, they stopped issuing hurricane advisories and let local National Weather Service offices issue local storm watches and warnings.  No longer calling Sandy a hurricane might have led some residents of the Northeast let down their guard a bit and not take the storm as seriously as they would have otherwise.

In my opinion, any move to encourage people in a storm’s path to take action is a positive one.   Many weather deaths and injuries in this country happen when people either don’t know what’s coming or don’t take the threat seriously.  That has to change…

Read more about the debate and the National Hurricane Center’s proposal HERE.


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