Monday, June 3, 2013

NHC Frequently Asked Questions

NHC Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Can I have a tropical cyclone named for me?

We do not control the naming of tropical storms. Instead, a list of names has been established by an international committee of the United Nations World Meteorological Organization. For Atlantic hurricanes, there is actually one list for each of six years. In other words, one list is repeated every seventh year. The only time that there is a change is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for obvious reasons of sensitivity. If that occurs, then at an annual meeting by the committee (called primarily to discuss many other issues) the offending name is stricken from the list and another name is selected to replace it. See here for more information:

I'm vacationing in the Caribbean / Bahamas / Central America / Miami or elsewhere in the tropics during hurricane season. What's my chance of getting hit by a hurricane?

The Tropical Cyclone Frequently Asked Questions (which by the way is an excellent reference and starting place for learning about tropical cyclones) has the answer to this: Additionally, the NHC climatology page could provide more insight.

I am looking for more information on storm surge. I am interested in copy of the SLOSH Display Program. How may I obtain a copy of the software?

NHC now has a dedicated section on Storm Surge. More information on SLOSH and obtaining the software can be found in the SLOSH section of those pages.

I can't seem to get the latest information from the website. Can you help?

There are a few common problems that can keep you from getting the latest information. See this page for some suggestions on troubleshooting before you contact us. If you're unsure on when the next advisory is scheduled to be released, note that the time is given at the bottom of the latest Public Advisory and the Forecast/Advisory, both linked from the NHC homepage. Also see our Hurricane Preparedness section on the tropical cyclone forecasting process.

How do I understand the advisories? Where can I get definitions of the terminology used in them?

Start with these help pages: We also offer two Glossaries and a list of commonly used acronyms and abbreviations: The latter is an extensive list of weather-related terms.

What is UTC or GMT Time?

See here for more details:
I heard that there is a tropical cyclone somewhere in the Atlantic / Caribbean / Gulf of Mexico / Eastern Pacific. How can I find out if I am at risk?

What you need to do is to go back to the NHC homepage (click on the National Hurricane Center title logo at the top of the page for a shortcut back) and look at the graphics for each storm that's currently active to see if it looks like it may be headed your way. Read the latest advisories for more information.

Also note that if you live in the United States and a tropical cyclone is threatening your part of the coastline then the local NWS Weather Forecast Offices will issue Hurricane Local Statements if their areas are threatened. These Hurricane Local Statements will also be linked directly from the NHC homepage as appropriate for each storm. From them you can find detailed local information tailored specifically for your area. We also offer a list of the official Emergency Management websites on a per-state basis from the NHC homepage (look for the "Visit your state EM Office" under the Hurricane Preparedness logo on the homepage).

I have a homework/research question. Can you help me?

Possibly, but note that during the hurricane season we are extremely busy. This means that we probably will not be able to get to your question for some time (and that can be days to weeks depending on what's going on in the tropics). With that in mind, here are some excellent sources of information on tropical cyclones that may help you find your answers:

Also note the links in the two sections on the left side of this page, in the blue bar, under Learn About Hurricanes and Hurricane History for even more information.

How are the watch/warning breakpoints decided?

See our breakpoints description for more information.

Where are your model graphics?

The National Hurricane Center does not generate a graphic of the guidance models it uses to produce its forecasts. See the model information page for more information.

More Questions about Hurricanes?

Visit AOML's Hurricane Research Division FAQ for more detailed cyclone-related questions. 

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