New tools help better predict storms and alert the public for hurricane season

Updated models and more frequent alerts will help people better prepare for strong damaging winds and storm surge.
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says every year they work to advance tools used to forecast storms, and say this year there are new models that will be implemented to try and better and more accurately predict hurricanes. Those will include models tracking intensity this hurricane season.

A new graphic the agency is experimenting with is a forecast count that will use many elements of the traditional version, but this time it features models, or views, for inland areas under tropical storm and hurricane warnings, layered with color. On the models, the path of the storm is shown in a cone shape. The updated version will emphasize where wind hazards are — not just at the coastal areas, but more inland where tropical storm and hurricane winds can also do major damage when residents are under watches and warnings.

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Michael Brennan, the director of the National Hurricane Center, said he hopes it will help people change how they perceive the hazards.

The NHC is also working to issue warnings about dangers — such as storm surge — more often, at times when people in the path of danger are more likely to see the warnings.

"It was sort of a policy thing where we were only able to issue them every six hours when we issued a full updated forecast for the storm," Brennan said. "Now were going to have the flexibility to make changes — more smaller type changes — every three hours. But, it might adjust the watches and warnings, sort of on the periphery of a storm, or issue watches and warnings at a less intrusive time."

The NHC are forecasting at least 25 named storms for 2024, and say 13 of them are likely to develop into hurricanes — with 7 of those becoming major hurricanes of category 3 or higher intensity.

Brennan says not to necessarily worry about the big numbers that are forecast, but to know that the risk is there every year, and focus on preparing with that knowledge in mind.