National Hurricane Center

The U.S. National Hurricane Center, located at Florida International University in Miami, Florida, is the division of National Weather Service's Tropical Prediction Center responsible for tracking and predicting the likely behavior of tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes.

When tropical storm or hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours, the center issues the appropriate watches and warnings via the news media and NOAA Weather Radio. Although an agency of the United States, the World Meteorological Organization has designated the NHC as Regional Specialized Meteorological Center for the North Atlantic and eastern Pacific. As such, the NHC is the central clearinghouse for all tropical cyclone forecasts and observations occurring in these areas, regardless of their effect on the US.


The National Hurricane Center has its roots in a December 5, 1898 declaration by then-President William McKinley for the Weather Bureau (now the National Weather Service) to establish a hurricane warning network. As communications and forecasting evolved, responsibility for issuing hurricane warnings was eventually centralized in the Miami Weather Bureau office.

The Miami office was designated the National Hurricane Center in 1967, and given responsibility for Atlantic tropical cyclones in their vicinity. Other hurricane warning centers, such as in New Orleans and Boston, played a role even into the 1980s. In 1984, the NHC was separated from the Miami Weather Service Forecast Office. By 1988, the NHC gained responsibility for eastern Pacific tropical cyclones as the former Eastern Pacific Hurricane Center in San Francisco was decommissioned.

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew blew the WSR-57 weather radar and the anemometer off the roof of Gables One Tower, then the location of the NHC's offices. The radar was replaced with a WSR-88D NEXRAD system. 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. The current acting director of the National Hurricane Center is Bill Read.

Hurricane specialists

The NHC's hurricane specialists 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 depression appears, they issue advisories every six hours until the storm runs its course. Public advisories are issued more often when the storm threatens land. The specialists coordinate with officials in each country likely to be affected. They forecast and recommend watches and warnings.

Each specialist signs forecasts and advisories with their last name, sometimes issuing joint statements with other NHC staff members.

Outside of the hurricane season, the specialists concentrate on public education efforts.

Current specialists

Senior hurricane specialists

  • Dr. Lixion Avila, specialist since 1987
  • Dr. Jack Beven, specialist since 1999
  • James Franklin, specialist since 1999
  • Dr. Richard Knabb, specialist since 2005
  • Dr. Richard Pasch, specialist since 1989
  • Stacy Stewart, specialist since 1999 and the Warning Coordination Meteorologist

Hurricane specialists

  • Robbie Berg, specialist since 2008
  • Eric Blake, specialist since 2006
  • Dan Brown, specialist since 2006
  • '''Vacant

Former and current directors

Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch

The Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB, formerly the Tropical Satellite Analysis and Forecast unit) is a part of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida. It provides support to the NHC during hurricane season. The TAFB is responsible for high seas forecasts for parts of the Atlantic and Pacific. Unlike the NHC, 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.

Hurricane naming process

In the 1953 Atlantic season, the Center began naming storms which reach tropical storm intensity with human names. This replaced a 3-year plan (involving the 1950, 1951, and 1952 hurricane seasons) to name storms using the phonetic alphabet. Initially, storms only had female names, but after some protest, male and female names were alternated beginning in the 1979 season.

The World Meteorological Organization now creates and maintains the annual lists. Names are used on a six-year rotation, with the deadliest or most notable storms having their names retired from the rotation.

See also


External links

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