Alabama Hurricane Awareness Week

...Issuing Watches, Warnings, and Statements...



The goal of hurricane preparedness week is to provide education about the hazards associated with a hurricane which will prepare you to take action as a hurricane approaches. This information may save

your work, home, on the road, or on the water. Each day of Hurricane Preparedness Week features a unique topic relevant to education and awareness. Hurricane season officially runs from June 1st until November 30th for the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.



Today we will focus on the forecast process of issuing watches, warnings, and statements. The first step in the forecast process is to acquire quality observational data. The National Weather

Service (NWS) and NHC (National Hurricane Center) have many tools to monitor tropical systems over the vast oceans. Satellites are the main tool, although buoys and ship reports provide valuable surface

data. Buoys are observational platforms that float on the oceans surface, and measure wave height, water and air temperatures, and wind speed and direction. As the storms move closer to land,

observations from reconnaissance aircraft, radiosondes, and automated surface observing systems (ASOS) positioned along the coast are also used.


All the observational data is ingested into supercomputers that perform millions of calculations to generate predictions of hurricane movement and intensity. The model output is used as

guidance during the forecast coordination process. The local weather forecast office (WFO) will have internal coordination calls with the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Once the WFOs and the NHC agree on a course of action, then the NHC will issue the appropriate watches and warnings for the affected coastal areas.


WFO Birmingham will also issue several different products when tropical storm or hurricane force winds are expected across central Alabama. These products include...


Inland tropical storm/hurricane watches (issued 36 hours in advance of tropical storm/hurricane force winds)....and inland tropical storm/hurricane warnings (issued 24 to 36 hours in advance of tropical

storm/hurricane force winds).


A hurricane local statement (HLS). This product is designed to inform media, local decision makers, and the public of the storms anticipated effects on the local well as current watches

and warnings in place.


What can you do?


Monitor NOAA weather radio and media for the latest storm information.

For additional historical or preparedness information, you can visit these sites on the World Wide Web:


National Weather Service Birmingham, Alabama


National Weather Service Mobile, Alabama


National Hurricane Center

Additional info from NHC




NOAA Coastal Services Center - historical hurricane tracks is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.