NOAA Hurricane Forecast Maps Are Often Misinterpreted — Here's How to Read Them

Photo Courtesy: NOAA/Getty Images

Being prepared to weather a hurricane — whether that involves fortifying your home or creating an emergency evacuation plan — is an important part of making it through the storm. But knowing when these cyclones are forming and where they’re heading is essential for making those plans and understanding when to implement them, too. That’s where hurricane forecast models serve an important purpose.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) releases consistently updated hurricane forecast maps as new storms arise, which improves the process of forecasting the weather and predicting events like hurricane landfalls. However, the cone model that's often featured in these maps can be confusing to read, as can the various other forecast models in use today. To stay safe all year long, it's helpful to become more familiar with these maps by learning how to read them correctly and dissolving misconceptions surrounding hurricane forecasts.