National Hurricane Center makes changes to Issuing of Watches and Warnings

Disaster Coordinator Fire Commander Winston Salomon says that the National Hurricane Center (NHC) has made some adjustments to the issuing of watches and warnings for tropical storms and hurricanes along threatened coastal areas. 

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In the past these have been issued 12 hour earlier than in previous years. Tropical storm watches will be issued when tropical storm conditions are possible along the coast within 48 hours.

Tropical storm warnings will be issued when those conditions are expected within 36 hours. Similar increases in lead-time will apply to hurricane watches and warnings.

Another adjustment being made by the National Weather Service and the NHC is to use the term, "post tropical," referring to a system that no longer possesses sufficient tropical characteristics to be considered a tropical cyclone.

Post tropical cyclones can continue to carry heavy rains and strong winds. Another post tropical cyclone is the "remnant low," a weak system with limited thunderstorm activity and winds less than tropical storm strength.

The forecast for this hurricane season is up to 23 named Tropical Storms of which eight to 14 could develop into a hurricane. Of those, three to seven could become major hurricanes of category three or higher with sustained wind speeds of 111 miles per hour and above.

The season has already experienced its first storm system, Hurricane Alex which formed in the Western Caribbean Sea and travelled into the Gulf of Mexico last week.

The system which later developed into a category two hurricane, dumped heavy rains on parts of North Eastern Mexico leaving seven persons dead.

The Mexican Interior Ministry on Friday declared a state of emergency in 21 towns, allowing the use of federal government funds to help cover the initial costs of the disaster.

More than 10,000 people were left without electricity and water due to collapsed electrical cables. Another 11 persons were killed when the storm passed through Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador.

The 2010 Hurricane Season list of names are: Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Igor, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Matthew, Nicole, Otto, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tomas, Virginie and Walter.

The 2010 hurricane season officially runs from June 1 through November 30.