Weather Alert

TRACKING THE TROPICS

On the map below, the circle over the Gulf of Mexico is for an area of low pressure heading toward Texas.  Development is not expected.  Also, we're tracking Cristobal and a tropical wave over the Atlantic Ocean that may become another depression though chances are low.

WEATHER ALERT


TROPICAL WEATHER

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National Hurricane changes for forecasting

Updated:
As technology improves, forecasting improves and changes are made to help you stay informed during hurricane season. The national hurricane center issues a product called the "tropical weather outlook." And that outlook is getting better.

We use the tropical weather outlook to tell you what the chances are for a depression or storm to form. In the past that forecast has covered two days. This year the tropical weather outlook will cover five days giving us a better idea of what a tropical wave or area of low pressure may do.

"That can especially be helpful for example when in the Northeastern Gulf some things trying to form on our doorstep, you're going to get a longer heads up for the potential of that system to form as a depression or storm," said Dr. Richard Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center. "It's the first year of the National Tropical Weather Conference and the weather seems to be appropriate because the winds are gusting about 30mph or so. We've been talking about the 2013 hurricane season and the main message we're getting from these guys is that everyone just needs to be prepared."

As a resident of Florida the hurricane center director says he's prepared.

"I lived the hurricane problem as a resident of South Florida and a former resident of the Panhandle region when I was going to Florida State University. I lived the hurricane problem just like everyone in Northwest Florida does," Knabb said.

To make sure people are more prepared for a landfalling hurricane the National Hurricane Center updates its policy.

Other changes for this year, a smaller forecast cone. So we can expect to see less of the coastline within a forecast cone as a storm approaches.

In 2012 Hurricane Sandy lost its hurricane status just before making landfall and warnings from the National Hurricane center were not issued. Warnings were left up to the local national weather service offices. Many believe this was a mistake. This year warnings will be issued if the same scenario occurs. Officially the wording for watches and warnings now includes "post-tropical" cyclones. At landfall, scientists at the hurricane center were not defining Sandy as a hurricane but the damage was the same either way. In the NOAA after Sandy report, the word "confusion" was mentioned 88 times.
National Hurricane changes for forecasting


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