What earlier hurricane watches and warnings mean for the public
As National Hurricane Preparedness Week continues on, it is important to highlight some of the changes the National Hurricane Center has made to increase the preparedness and safety of the public. Effective May 15, 2010, watches and warnings for hurricanes and tropical storms along threatened coastal areas will be issued 12 hours earlier than in previous years. Hurricane watches will be issued when conditions are possible along the coast within 48 hours. Hurricane warnings will be issued when those conditions are expected within 36 hours. Similar increases will also apply to tropical storm watches and warnings. Previously, the public only had 36 and 24 hour notice of a watch or warning. This new system will ensure that the public has the most possible time to take the necessary precautions and prepare for severe weather.
While the National Hurricane Center has improved the lead-time for watches and warnings, hurricanes and storms can strike with little notice. It is still very important to develop a family disaster plan, maintain an emergency supply kit, and learn evacuation routes ahead of time to ensure your family is ready for any event.