National Hurricane Center to start issuing advisories for post-tropical cyclones

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The National Hurricane Center announced April 4 that starting with this hurricane season, it will continue to issue warnings about high-wind-speed storms regardless of whether the storm's meteorological structure changes into a post-tropical cyclone.

In cases of storms that continue to pose a significant threat to life and property, the center says it will keep on issuing warnings using the same watch/warning definitions as a hurricane. The Atlantic hurricane season officially starts June 1 and goes through Nov. 30.

The impetus behind the changes stems from Hurricane Sandy, which technically was not a hurricane when it made landfall in the United States but nonetheless had Category 1 hurricane wind speeds. As Sandy traveled northward, its heat source changed from the ocean to the atmosphere, meaning that meteorologically it was no longer a tropical cyclone (a "hurricane") but a wintertime cyclone. Under policy in effect the time, that meant the National Hurricane Center stopped (.pdf) issuing advisories.

The lack of hurricane warnings lead some to downplay Sandy's likely East Coast impact; it ended up causing 72 direct fatalities in the United States and is among the costliest of hurricanes of the past century.

For more:
- read the April 4 NHC service change notice
- download the NHC Hurricane Sandy report (.pdf)

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