Nat'l Hurricane Center Changes Definition of Hurricane Warning after Hurricane Sandy

MIAMI, FL/HAGERSTOWN, MD - With the Atlantic Hurricane Season set to start in the next few months, the National Hurricane Center is making some changes after the active end of the season last year.

The images of damage and flooding rains that Hurricane Sandy brought to not only the Four State Region, but the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast as well, right around Halloween last year are still ingrained in most of our minds, but now the National Hurricane Center is making some changes to keep certain watch and warning products in effect when storms like Sandy come ashore.

Normally, when tropical systems make landfall, they're associated with some sort of watch or warning, whether it be Tropical Storm or Hurricane, but those warning were dropped before Sandy came through the area.  After long discussions with meteorologists all across the country, officials decided that those warnings should have been kept in place, and the definition of a Tropical Storm Watch or Warning and a Hurricane Watch or Warning have now been expanded due to the impacts of Sandy last year.

The National Hurricane Center issues the following products is a tropical system is forecast to hit the mainland United States:

* A Tropical Storm or Hurricane WATCH is issued 48 hours in advance of an anticipated tropical system making landfall.

* A Tropical Storm or Hurricane WARNING is issued 36 hours in advance of an anticipated tropical system making landfall.

The changes made are now that Hurricane Warnings can be left in place for high water or dangerous waves, or a combination of both, even if the storm technically drops below the criteria of having 74 mile per hour winds.  In the case of Hurricane Sandy, this would have helped keep the warning out about the dangers that Sandy posed while making landfall.

The National Hurricane Center says that these changes to the Watch and Warning criteria would make for seamless continued service to the public during a crisis situation, in which transferring responsibility for storms like Sandy, would result in an unacceptable discontinuity in service.

Either way, the lessons being learned from Hurricane Sandy are now being put into action, should another storm like her develop again.

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