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National Hurricane Center

National Hurricane Center

Front view of the National Hurricane Center
Agency overview
Formed 1965
Jurisdiction United States government
Headquarters University Park, Florida, U.S.
Agency executives

The National Hurricane Center (NHC), located at Florida International University in University Park, unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida,[1][2] is the division of the United States' National Weather Service responsible for tracking and predicting weather systems within the tropics between the Prime Meridian and the 140th meridian west poleward to the 30th parallel north in the northeast Pacific ocean and the 31st parallel north in the northern Atlantic ocean. Its Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB) routinely issues marine forecasts, in the form of graphics and high seas forecasts, for this area year round, with the Ocean Prediction Center having backup responsibility for this unit. The Technology and Science Branch (TSB) provides technical support for the center, which includes new infusions of technology from abroad. The Chief, Aerial Reconnaissance Coordination, All Hurricanes (CARCAH) unit tasks planes, for research and operational purposes, to tropical cyclones during the Atlantic hurricane season and significant weather events, including snow storms, during winter and spring. Research conducted to improve operational forecasts is done through the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project (HFIP) and Joint Hurricane Test Bed (JHT) initiatives.

During the Regional Specialized Meteorological Center for the North Atlantic and eastern Pacific, making it the central clearinghouse for all tropical cyclone forecasts and observations occurring in these areas. If the center loses power or becomes incapacitated in some manner, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center backs tropical cyclone advisories and tropical weather outlooks for the northeast Pacific ocean while the Weather Prediction Center backs up tropical cyclone advisories and tropical weather outlooks for the north Atlantic ocean.


  • History 1
    • List of directors 1.1
  • Organization 2
    • Hurricane Specialists Unit 2.1
    • Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch 2.2
    • Technology and Science Branch 2.3
    • CARCAH 2.4
    • HLT 2.5
  • Research 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The first hurricane warning service was set up in the 1870s from Cuba with the work of Father Benito Viñes. After his passing, hurricane warning services were assumed by the United States Signal Corp and United States Weather Bureau over the next decade, first based in Jamaica in 1898 and Cuba in 1899 before shifting to Washington, D.C. in 1902.[3][4] The central office in Washington, which evolved into the National Meteorological Center and Weather Prediction Center (formally known as the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center), assumed hurricane warning/advisory responsibility at that time. This responsibility passed to regional hurricane offices in 1935, and the concept of the Atlantic hurricane season was established in order to keep a vigilant lookout for tropical cyclones during certain times of the year. Hurricane advisories issued every six hours by the regional hurricane offices began at this time.[5] The Jacksonville hurricane warning office moved to Miami, Florida in 1943. Tropical cyclone naming began for Atlantic tropical cyclones using the Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet by 1947.[6] Starting in 1950, the Miami Hurricane Warning Office began to prepare the annual hurricane season summary articles.[7] In the 1953 Atlantic season, the United States Weather Bureau began naming storms which reach tropical storm intensity with human names.[8]

Location of Miami Hurricane Warning Office, depicted by the arrow, 1958-1964

The National Hurricane Research Project, begun in the 1950s, used aircraft to study tropical cyclones and carry out experiments on mature hurricanes through its Project Stormfury.[9] On July 1, 1956, a National Hurricane Information Center was established in Miami, Florida which became a warehouse for all hurricane-related information from one United States Weather Bureau office.[10] The Miami Hurricane Warning Office (HWO) was moved from Lindsey Hopkins Hotel to the Aviation Building 4 miles (6.4 km) to the northwest on July 1, 1958.[11] Forecasts within the hurricane advisories were issued one day into the future in 1954 before being extended to two days into the future in 1961, three days into the future in 1964, and five days into the future in 2001.[12] The Miami HWO moved to the campus of the University of Miami in 1964,[13] and was referred to as the NHC in 1965.[14] The Miami HWO tropical cyclone reports were done regularly and took on their modern format in 1964.[15]

Building which housed NHC from 1964-1978 at the University of Miami (Ungar Building)

Beginning in 1973, the National Meteorological Center duties (renamed the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center; renamed for a second time in 2013)[16] gained advisory responsibility for tracking and publicizing inland tropical depressions. The

  • Official website

External links

  1. ^ "NHC Visitor Information." National Hurricane Center. Retrieved on July 10, 2015. "The National Hurricane Center is co-located with the Miami National Weather Service Forecast Office on the main campus of Florida International University at 11691 S.W. 17th Street, Miami, Florida. This location is about 12 miles west of downtown Miami and 8 miles southwest of Miami International Airport."
  2. ^ "2010 CENSUS - CENSUS BLOCK MAP: University Park CDP, FL" (Archive). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on July 10, 2015.
  3. ^ R. H. Simpson (September 1998). "Stepping Stones in the Evolution of a National Hurricane Policy". Weather and Forecasting (American Meteorological Society) 13 (3): 617–620.  
  4. ^ Staff (June 1959). "WB Hurricane Forecasting Service" (PDF). Weather Bureau Topics ( 
  5. ^ Staff (1939-09-22). "Hurricane Warnings of the U. S. Weather Bureau". Science 90 (2334): 266.  
  6. ^ David M. Roth (2010-01-13). Louisiana Hurricane History (PDF).  
  7. ^ Grady Norton (January 1951). "Hurricanes of the 1950 Season" (PDF). Monthly Weather Review ( 
  8. ^ Gary Padgett (1999). "Monthly Global Tropical Cyclone Summary July 2007". Australian Severe Weather. Archived from the original on 2010-10-07. Retrieved 2010-10-07. 
  9. ^  
  10. ^ Staff (December 1956). Hurricane Warning Service Activities. Weather Bureau Topics. Retrieved on 2012-04-21.
  11. ^ Staff (August 1958). "Miami Hurricane Warning Center Moved" (PDF). Weather Bureau Topics ( 
  12. ^ James Franklin (2012-03-01). "National Hurricane Center Forecast Verification". National Hurricane Center. p. 2. Retrieved 2012-04-19. 
  13. ^  
  14. ^ Staff (January–February 1965). "Miami Center Opens" (PDF). Weather Bureau Topics: 14–15. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  15. ^ National Hurricane Center (2002-12-17). "Storm Wallet Archive".  
  16. ^ "A Brief History of the Weather Prediction Center International Desks". Weather Prediction Center. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved November 17, 2013. 
  17. ^ Gary Padgett (2008). "Monthly Tropical Cyclone Summary: October 2007 First Installment". Australian Severe Weather. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  18. ^  
  19. ^ Colin J. McAdie, Christopher W. Landsea, Charles J. Neumann, Joan E. David, Eric S. Blake, Gregory R. Hammer (2009-08-20). Tropical Cyclones of the North Atlantic Ocean, 1851 – 2006 (PDF) (Sixth ed.). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. p. 18. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  20. ^ William J. Kotsch (1983). Weather For the Mariner. Naval Institute Press. pp. 18–19.  
  21. ^ Rusty Pfost (2010-05-30). "History of National Weather Service Forecast Office Miami, Florida".  
  22. ^ Harold P. Gerrish and Max Mayfield (October 1989). "Eastern North Pacific Tropical Cyclones of 1988". Monthly Weather Review ( 
  23. ^ Edward Rappaport (1993-12-10). "Hurricane Andrew Preliminary Report". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2011-04-06. 
  24. ^ Rusty Pfost (2010-05-30). "History of National Weather Service Forecast Office Miami, Florida".  
  25. ^ American Meteorological Society (November 2002). Chapter News November 2002. American Meteorological Society. Retrieved on 2012-04-23
  26. ^ a b Colin J. McAdie and Miles B. Lawrence (May 2000). "Improvements in Tropical Cyclone Track Forecasting in the Atlantic Basin, 1970–98" (PDF). Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (American Meteorological Society) 81 (5): 989.  
  27. ^ John Kuhn (2010-10-01). "Service Change Notice 10-41". National Weather Service Headquarters. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  28. ^ a b National Hurricane Center (2012-06-05). "National Hurricane Center Staff".  
  29. ^  
  30. ^ a b c Edward N. Rappaport, James L. Franklin, Lixion A. Avila, Stephen R. Baig, John L. Beven II, Eric S. Blake, Christopher A. Burr, Jiann-Gwo Jiing, Christopher A. Juckins, Richard D. Knabb, Christopher W. Landsea, Michelle Mainelli, Max Mayfield, Colin J. McAdie, Richard J. Pasch, Christopher Sisko, Stacy R. Steward, Ahsha N. Tribble (April 2009). "Advances and Challenges at the National Hurricane Center".  
  31. ^ National Hurricane Center (2012-04-16). "Tropical Cyclone Names". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2012-11-10. 
  32. ^ a b Robert C. Sheets (June 1990). "The National Hurricane Center - Past, Present, and Future". Weather and Forecasting 5 (2): 196.  
  33. ^ Robert Simpson (1963). "The Disaster Potential Scale". Weatherwise 27: 169–180. 
  34. ^  
  35. ^ Jessie-Lynne Kerr (2002-05-22). "Storms expert exhorts hurricane preparation". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  36. ^ Associated Press (1997-08-30). "Hurricane Center Boss Steps Down From Job". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. p. 5B. 
  37. ^ University of North Carolina-Wilmington (2000-02-16). "Jerry Jarrell to Deliver Keynote Address at UNCW Hurricane Preparedness Conference". Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  38. ^ a b c Ken Kaye (2012-01-12). "National Hurricane Center hunting for a new director". Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  39. ^ "Commerce Secretary and NOAA Administrator announce new National Hurricane Center Director Bill Proenza to Succeed Max Mayfield.". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 6 December 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-06. 
  40. ^ "Weather Channel Expert to Lead National Hurricane Center.". The Weather Channel. 18 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-18. 
  41. ^ National Centers for Environmental Prediction (2012-08-28). "National Centers for Environmental Prediction main webpage".  
  42. ^ National Hurricane Center (2011-09-27). "NHC Text Product Descriptions".  
  43. ^ a b c d National Hurricane Center (2011-10-06). "About the National Hurricane Center".  
  44. ^ National Hurricane Center (2011). "Atlantic Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook".  
  45. ^  
  46. ^ Scott Kiser (2002-06-07). "National Weather Service Instruction 10-602 June 7, 2002 Operations and Services Tropical Cyclone Weather Services Program, NWSPD 10-6 Coordination, Backup, and Emergency Operations" (PDF).  
  47. ^ United States Department of Commerce (2006). Service Assessment: Hurricane Katrina, August 23-31, 2005. Retrieved on 2008-09-03.
  48. ^ Tropical Prediction Center (2007-07-03). The National Hurricane Center: Max Mayfield, Director Ed Rappaport, Deputy Director. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved on 2012-04-23.
  49. ^ Staff (July 1967). "Tropical Analysis Center" (PDF). ESSA World (Environmental Science Services Administration): 15. 
  50. ^ "North American Surface Analysis". National Center for Environmental Prediction. 2011-10-12. Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  51. ^ Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch
  52. ^  
  53. ^ National Hurricane Center (2012-04-03). "Technology & Science Branch".  
  54. ^ National Hurricane Operations Plan 2012, Appendix F.
  55. ^ George W. Bush White House Archives (February 2006). "The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned" (PDF).  
  56. ^ NOAA Coastal Services Center. "Historical Hurricane Tracks". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  57. ^ National Hurricane Center (2008). "2008 Atlantic hurricane season". NOAA. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 
  58. ^ National Hurricane Center staff (2011-05-10). "NHC Archive of Hurricane Seasons". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2011-07-03. 
  59. ^ Rappaport, Edward N., Jiann-Gwo Jiing, Christopher W. Landsea, Shirley T. Murillo, and James L. Franklin (March 2012). "The Joint Hurricane Test Bed: Its First Decade of Tropical Cyclone Research-To-Operations Activities Reviewed" (PDF). Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society: 371–373.  
  60. ^ Toepfer, Frederick, Robert Gall, Frank Marks, and Edward Rappaport (2010-12-13). "National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Hurricane Forecast Improvement Program Five-Year Strategic Plan" (PDF). Hurricane Forecast Improvement Program. Retrieved 2012-10-08. 


See also

Programs are dedicated to improving the accuracy of tropical cyclone forecasts from the center. The Joint Hurricane Testbed (JHT) is a joint operation between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and United States Weather Research Program to speed up the transfer of tropical cyclone-related research into forecast operations. Since 2001, with its annual budget of between $1.0 and $1.5 million, the JHT has funded 62 initiatives, with most of them being implemented operationally. The projects have had varied success, ranging from minor to significant advances in the way the NHC operates.[59] The Hurricane Forecast Improvement Program's (HFIP) five-year goal is to lead to a 20 percent improvement within the numerical weather prediction models provided by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction to NHC by 2015 and a 50 percent improvement within tropical cyclone track forecasting and intensity guidance by 2020.[60]

As part of their annual tropical cyclone activity, the agency issues a report on every tropical cyclone in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Ocean basins, which are available since 1958 and 1988, respectively. The report summarizes the synoptic history, meteorological statistics, casualties and damages, and the post-analysis best track of a storm.[56] The reports were formally known as Preliminary Reports up until 1999.[57] The agency maintains archives and climatological statistics on Atlantic and Pacific hurricane history, including annual reports on every tropical cyclone, a complete set of tropical cyclone advisories, digitized copies of related materials on older storms, season summaries published as the Monthly Weather Review, and HURDAT, which is the official tropical cyclone database.[58]


The Hurricane Liaison Team (HLT) supports hurricane response through information exchange between the NHC, the National Weather Service (NOAA/NWS), and the emergency management community. The HLT is composed of federal, state, and local emergency managers, as well as NWS meteorologists and hydrologists, who maintain open lines of communication about the progress and threat level of the storm with appropriate Federal, state, and local officials. The team establishes and facilitates video and/or teleconferences with the NHC, FEMA and other Federal agencies, state Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs), Weather Prediction Center (HPC), Storm Prediction Center (SPC), and River Forecast Centers (RFCs).[43] During significant landfalling hurricanes, the President of the United States as well as affected city mayors and state governors join the daily briefing call, which occurs at noon Eastern Daylight Time.[55]


The Chief, Aerial Reconnaissance Coordination, All Hurricanes (CARCAH) is a subunit of the 53d Weather Reconnaissance Squadron (Hurricane Hunters). CARCAH's mission is to provide a point-of-contact and to coordinate all tropical cyclone operational reconnaissance requirements at NHC and the Central Pacific Hurricane Center for the North Atlantic, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and the North Pacific basin east of the International Date Line in accordance with the National Hurricane Operations Plan (NHOP). During the winter, CARCAH coordinates the Atlantic and Pacific winter storm requirements in support of the National Winter Storms Operations Plan (NWSOP). Missions are flown in advance of the high-impact weather events forecast to affect the U.S., such as heavy snowfall,[43] and at times when there is significant uncertainty within/between numerical weather prediction output.[54]


The Technology & Science Branch (TSB) develops and transitions new tools and techniques into operations for tropical weather prediction in conjunction with other government and academic entities. TSB created and continues development of the Automated Tropical Cyclone Forecasting (ATCF) system, used to incorporate various data and model outputs, create and update HURDAT, and to generate tropical cyclone forecasts. The TSB provides support for NHC computer and communications systems including its website. TSB maintains a number of statistical and dynamical models used in predicting both tropical cyclone behavior and associated weather conditions. The Storm Surge Unit, which develops and maintains software to forecast the storm surge of tropical cyclones, is part of this branch.[43] The Techniques Development and Applications Unit (TDAU) is part of TSB.[53]

Technology and Science Branch

The Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB, formerly the Tropical Satellite Analysis and Forecast unit and the Tropical Analysis Center) is a part of the National Hurricane Center and was created in 1967.[49] The TAFB is responsible for high seas analyses and forecasts for tropical portions of the Atlantic and Pacific between the Prime Meridian and the 140th meridian west poleward to the 30th parallel north in the northeast Pacific ocean and the 31st parallel north in the northern Atlantic ocean.[50] Unlike the Hurricane Specialists Unit (HSU), TAFB is staffed full-time around the year. Other responsibilities of the TAFB include satellite-derived tropical cyclone position and intensity estimates, WSR-88D radar fixes for tropical cyclones, tropical cyclone forecast support, media support, and general operational support.[51] The Ocean Prediction Center backs up TAFB in the event of a communications outage, and vice versa.[52]

The National Weather Service areas of marine weather forecasting responsibility
A panoramic view of TAFB's operations at the NHC

Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch

During the hurricane season, the HSU routinely issues their Tropical Weather Outlook product, which identifies areas of concern within the tropics which could develop into tropical cyclones. If systems occur outside the defined hurricane season, special Tropical Weather Outlooks will be issued.[44] Backup responsibility for their northeast Pacific area resides at the Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC),[45] and vice versa if CPHC were to have communication issues.[46] North Atlantic responsibilities are backed up by the Weather Prediction Center (WPC).[30] Routine coordination occurs at 1700 UTC each day between the Weather Prediction Center and National Hurricane Center to identify systems for the pressure maps three to seven days into the future within the tropics, and points for existing tropical cyclones six to seven days into the future.[47] Outside of the hurricane season, the specialists concentrate on public education efforts.[48]

Known as the NHC from 1995 through 2010, the hurricane specialists within the hurricane specialists unit (HSU) are the chief meteorologists that predict the actions of tropical storms. The specialists work rotating eight-hour shifts from May through November, monitoring weather patterns in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific oceans. Whenever a tropical or subtropical cyclone forms, they begin to issue advisories every six hours until the storm runs its course. Public advisories are issued more often when the storm expected to be of tropical storm or hurricane intensity threatens land.[42] The specialists coordinate with officials in each country likely to be affected. They forecast and recommend watches and warnings.[43]

Hurricane Specialists Unit

For the fiscal year of 2008, the budget for the NHC was $6.8 million.[30] A total of 66 people work for the NHC, with 12 of the staff composing their management.[28] The NHC has been one of the nine national centers which compose the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP).[41]


List of directors

. Richard Knabb The current director of the National Hurricane Center is [31] Tropical cyclone forecasting is done nowadays using statistical methods based on tropical cyclone climatology, as well as methods of

In 1995, the NHC moved into a new hurricane-resistant facility on the campus of Florida International University, capable of withstanding 130 mph (210 km/h) winds.[25] Its name was changed to the Tropical Prediction Center in 1995.[26] After the name change to TPC, the Hurricane Specialists were grouped as a separate NHC unit under the Tropical Prediction Center,[26] separating themselves from the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch. On October 1, 2010, the Tropical Prediction Center was renamed the NHC,[27] and the group formerly known as the NHC became known as the Hurricane Specialists Unit (HSU).[28]

near where Hurricane Andrew made landfall. [24],Metro Zoo system in April 1993 installed near NEXRAD The radar was replaced with a WSR-88D [23] weather radar and the anemometer off the roof of NHC's/the Miami State Weather Forecast offices.WSR-57 blew the Hurricane Andrew In 1992, [22] in San Francisco was decommissioned.Eastern Pacific Hurricane Center By 1988, the NHC gained responsibility for eastern Pacific tropical cyclones as the former [21] In 1984, the NHC was separated from the Miami Weather Service Forecast Office, which meant the meteorologist in charge at Miami was no longer in a position above the hurricane center director.[20] The hurricane warning offices remained active past 1983.[19].1979 season Male names were added into the hurricane list beginning in the [18] to the IRE Financial Building.U.S. Highway 1 In 1978, the NHC's offices moved off the campus of the University of Miami across [17]

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