Sarasota News Leader

08/02/2013

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MOVING FORWARD IN FORECASTING The National Hurricane Center issued this image on June 5, indicating the probable path of Tropical Storm Andrea. Image courtesy of the National Hurricane Center THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER EXPANDS ITS WINDOW FROM THREE TO FIVE DAYS FOR PREDICTING WHEN AN AREA OF DISTURBED WEATHER MIGHT BECOME A TROPICAL STORM By Stan Zimmerman City Editor The National Hurricane Center on Aug. 1 extended from three days to five its prediction window for when an area of disturbed weather might form into a tropical system. develop into a tropical depression or tropical storm, using both text and graphic formats. Regular visitors of the National Hurricane Center site at www.nhc.noaa.gov are familiar That extension from 48 to 120 hours is a huge with the map showing Atlantic tropical cyclone activity, with three color-coded circles step for the center, the first change in its "cydesignating — respectively — low, medium or clone activity" forecasting in more than 30 high potential for tropical system formation. years. A yellow circle shows the area of interest, deThis modification capitalizes on the various noting a less-than-30 percent chance, while tools and products the center uses for hurri- orange signals a 30- to 50-percent (medium) cane forecasting. It expands greatly the fore- level of probability, and a red circle indicates casting models for weaker systems that could a 50/50 or greater chance of cyclonic activity.

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