Public Information Statement
Thursday, May 28, 2009


TODAYS TOPIC:  THE FORECAST PROCESS

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 LIFE, AT 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 WFO`S 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 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 AREA...AS WELL AS CURRENT WATCHES
AND WARNINGS IN PLACE.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

MONITOR NOAA WEATHER RADIO AND MEDIA FOR THE LATEST STORM
INFORMATION.

HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS WEEK CONTINUES ON FRIDAY WITH INFORMATION ON
DEVELOPING A DISASTER PREVENTION PLAN.

TO GET SPECIFIC STORM INFORMATION WITH MAPS, VISIT THESE WEB SITES.

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA
WWW.SRH.NOAA.GOV/BMX

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MOBILE, ALABAMA
WWW.SRH.NOAA.GOV/MOB

NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER
WWW.NHC.NOAA.GOV
WWW.NHC.NOAA.GOV/HAW2/ENGLISH/INTRO.SHTML

FEMA
WWW.FEMA.GOV/AREYOUREADY/HURRICANES.SHTM

AMERICAN RED CROSS
WWW.REDCROSS.ORG/SERVICES/DISASTERS

NOAA COASTAL SERVICES CENTER - HISTORICAL HURRICANE TRACKS
HTTP://MAPS.CSC.NOAA.GOV/HURRICANES


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