NOAA changes definition of hurricane watches and warnings - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

NOAA changes definition of hurricane watches and warnings

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Technically Superstorm Sandy was not a hurricane when it hit the coast last fall. It was called a post-tropical storm. Superstorm Sandy was a rare hybrid storm that was part Nor' Easter and part hurricane. Hurricane Sandy slammed into two other weather systems to form the perfect storm over the east coast. The storm was forecasted accurately days in advance, but the National Hurricane Center never issued a tropical storm and hurricane watches and warnings for the area hardest hit. The reason is because the current criteria in place doesn't allow watches and warnings to be issued for any storm that isn't purely tropical in nature.

Sandy was a tropical system before slamming into the other two storm systems a few hours before making landfall in New Jersey. The new hybrid system was considered post-tropical, a storm having both tropical and extra-tropical characteristics. Regardless, of the characteristics the impact was just as devastating with 100 mph winds and a record storm surge. After the storm, NOAA and the NHC (National Hurricane Center) took a lot of heat from the public and government officials for not issuing hurricane watches and warnings before the storm arrived.

The new criteria was released in a press release earlier today by NOAA. The new tropical storm and hurricane watch and warning criteria will kick in on June 1st, the official start to the new hurricane season. The goal is to give forecasters more flexibility on how to warn the public if another hybrid Superstorm were to hit again.

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