Menu

Natural Disasters

National Hurricane Center to expand storm warnings

hurricane-sandy-oct-25.jpg

Oct. 25, 2012: The Suomi NPP satellite caught this image of Hurricane Sandy just as the cyclone passed over Cuba.NOAA/NASA/GSFC/SuomiNPP

Even after hurricane force winds subside, the dangerously high water and waves following a hurricane can present a threat: Hurricane warnings were not issued north of North Carolina for Sandy because the tropical storm’s wind strength had died down below the 74 mph limit.

Yet Sandy brought billions of dollars to the Eastern Seaboard.

Citing criticism of the handling of Hurricane Sandy and the absence of alerts, the National Hurricane Center will now advise consumers about dangerous conditions even after winds have dropped.

"We want people to get ready for hurricane conditions, and that's why we are changing the definition of hurricane warning to be a little more inclusive of other things than just a hurricane," Chris Landsea, Science and Operations Officer at the National Hurricane Center, told AccuWeather.com.

The new definition of a Hurricane Warning includes an extra sentence explaining the change:

An announcement that sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are expected somewhere within the specified 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.

"Sandy was not ideal, and the way we handled it was not right. But we're fixing it," Landsea told AccuWeather.com.