Officials to launch new hurricane warning system

(WPRI) – Officials are implementing a new program to warn people of the detrimental effects of hurricanes.

When news of a hurricane comes around, many look up the storm’s category and wind speed. However, the biggest threat to life and property during a hurricane is a storm surge, which is flooding that occurs when winds push ocean water onto land.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has a new and detailed way to track and forecast storm surges before they happen, thus allowing more time to warn people in potentially at-risk areas.

As part of their new program, the NHC will release maps online when a hurricane or tropical storm watch is first issued, and will update them throughout the day to predict the intensity in worst case scenarios. This should help the affected area’s officials in making a decision to evacuate.

Isaac Ginis, Professor of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, sees great potential in this new program from the NHC.

“These maps will certainly help to visualize and get a better idea of what you might expect in your particular location,” Ginis explained.

While URI is not directly involved in the creation of these new graphics, they are keeping themselves busy with accuracy improvements to some hurricane forecast models. Ideally, some of these improvements can be expected to arrive during this upcoming season.

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