No Hurricane Warning for What Could Be the Most Expensive Storm in History
By By Henry Margusity, senior meteorologist
November 02, 2012, 8:09:03 AM EDT
Hurricane Sandy may turn out to be the most expensive storm to hit the U.S. -- causing damage to 15 states and power outages to over 8 million people -- yet the National Hurricane Center did not issue hurricane warnings north of North Carolina.
Typically, hurricane watches are announced 48 hours in advance of the expected onset of tropical storm-force winds. Hurricane warnings are usually issued 36 hours in advance. The National Hurricane Center issued a statement on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, that there would be no advisories issued for Sandy to the north of North Carolina.
The following is an excerpt from the NHC statement:
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) issues advisories, forecasts, and warnings on tropical cyclones - the generic term for hurricanes, tropical storms, and tropical depressions. Sometime prior to making landfall, Hurricane Sandy is expected to lose its characteristics as a tropical cyclone and take on the structure of a wintertime low-pressure area. Because the National Hurricane Center only issues advisories on tropical cyclones, there will be changes in the flow of information coming out of the NWS when this transition occurs.
Hours before landfall, AccuWeather CEO Barry Myers urged the National Hurricane Center (NHC) to reverse its decision to not issue hurricane or tropical storm warnings for Sandy north of North Carolina.
"To indicate that there is a landfalling hurricane, and to issue warnings about it, is the most effective thing that can be done to warn the public," Myers said.
There were no hurricane watches or warnings issued by the National Hurricane Center for New Jersey ahead of Hurricane Sandy's landfall near Atlantic City last Monday evening.
"What we have is a hurricane becoming embedded in a winter storm. It's clearly unprecedented," Myers said. "But to refuse to issue hurricane warnings clearly can cause confusion."
According to Myers, not issuing such warnings led to mixed signals for both public safety officials and the public.
"Mayor Bloomberg was confused at one point over the weekend whether Sandy was a hurricane," Myers said. "If the mayor of the biggest city in the United States was confused, emergency management and others certainly can be confused" as well.
Without hurricane warnings from the National Hurricane Center, the National Weather Service (NWS) organization changed what products they issued. According to the normal procedures for issuance of Tropical Cyclone Products, once the National Weather Service puts out a tropical storm/hurricane watch/warning, the local NWS offices can issue Hurricane Local Statements. Instead, the Philadelphia and New York City NWS offices put out a multitude of watches and warnings, which included:
-Coastal Flood Warnings
-High Wind Warnings
-Flash Flood Watches
-Coastal Flood Watches
-Hurricane-Force Wind Warnings
-Public Information Statements
-Special Weather Statements
-Marine Storm Warnings
"It changed a little bit because of the type of product we issue," Al Cope, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Philadelphia, said. "For a hurricane warning or a watch, we issue a product called the 'Hurricane Local Statement.' That covers a lot of things. It covers the winds, the effects of the winds, the wave, the tidal surge and other threats in a tropical system. In this case, we handled it with a different set of products."
According to Cope, when meteorologists brief government officials, emergency management and the media, the type of product doesn't matter so much as the seriousness of the storm impacts that they convey. The name of the product doesn't matter so much as when the winds from the storm are going to start or when the highest storm surge is going to be.
"As far as I could tell, the severity of the situation was pretty well conveyed, even though there wasn't a hurricane watch in effect. ... [Sandy] was bigger than just a hurricane. It was a hurricane combined with a nor'easter. We felt that if we had hurricane warnings out and suddenly they disappeared [when Sandy lost hurricane status], that would create a lot of confusion. We thought the public would better served with a consistent set of products" through the storm.
Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.
More Weather News
Weather News - June 20, 2019, 12:01:15 AM EDT
Damaging storms are erupting across the south-central United States as a new round of severe weather threatens the region.
Weather News - June 19, 2019, 5:48:52 PM EDT
This photo shows farmer Kyle Cline posing in one of his cornfields. An image shot in the very same spot exactly one year ago shows just how different --and dire -- things are this year.
Weather News - June 19, 2019, 2:17:27 PM EDT
A weather alert woke up the new homeowners at 4:00 a.m, but they "didn't really think much of it" -- until the sun rose and they were astounded by what they saw in front of them.
India: Monsoon makes slowest arrival in more than a decade, heat to build back into Delhi this weekend
Weather News - June 19, 2019, 12:18:52 PM EDT
Cyclone Vayu brought needed rainfall and a break from intense heat to parts of northwest India in recent days; however, a return to hot and dry weather is expected beginning on Friday.
Weather News - June 19, 2019, 12:01:52 PM EDT
After days of torrential downpours, the fields of Worthy Farm will almost certainly be muddy for Glastonbury Festival 2019.
Weather News - June 19, 2019, 11:28:32 PM EDT
The last leg of a storm parade that has pestered areas from the Plains to the East is the strongest of the bunch and will produce the most significant and widespread batch of severe weather yet.
The summer solstice is just about here, and it may offer clues to some of the ancient wonders around the world.
Weather News - June 19, 2019, 10:00:24 AM EDT
Spectators endured wet weather both Tuesday and Wednesday, but improvement is expected for the final days of the festival.