The National Hurricane Center/Tropical Prediction Center is co-located with the National Weather Service Miami Forecast Office on the main campus of Florida International University at 11691 S.W. 17th Street, Miami, Florida. This location is about 12 miles west of downtown Miami and 8 miles southwest of Miami International Airport.
Visitor parking is available near the main entrance on the south side of the Center, which faces S.W. 17th Street. Visitors attending events in the Media/Seminar Room will find it near the main entrance in Room 148. The Director's Office, the Administrative Office, Public Affairs and Tour Information may all be reached by calling (305) 229-4470.
The National Hurricane Center/Tropical Prediction Center is composed of three organizational branches; the National Hurricane Center (NHC), the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB), and the Technical Support Branch (TSB).
The NHC maintains a continuous watch on tropical cyclone activity over the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Oceans, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. The Center prepares and distributes hurricane forecasts, watches, and warnings for the United States and many international interests. The NHC engages in public awareness programs and trains both U.S. emergency managers and representatives from other countries affected by tropical cyclones. The NHC also conducts applied research to evaluate and improve hurricane forecasting techniques.
The TAFB provides meteorological products which include aviation forecasts and warnings (SIGMETs), marine forecasts, and surface analyses. The TAFB also provides satellite interpretation and satellite rainfall estimates for the international meteorological community. The TAFB contributes operational support to the NHC (including WSR-88D radar analyses and tropical cyclone position and intensity estimates derived from weather satellite data).
The TSB provides support for TPC computer and communications systems and contains the TPC Storm Surge Unit. The TSB also produces operational upper and lower-level tropical wind analyses. The TSB maintains inhouse statistical and simplified dynamical cyclone track and intensity models and evaluates numerical cyclone models maintained by The NCEP. Research conducted within the TSB includes the development and refinement of techniques for hurricane and tropical weather analysis and prediction, and the development of tropical applications of WSR-88D radar data.
There are several places to eat within a mile of the Center which are open during the day and evening. While the FIU cafeteria and other food concessions are available to the staff, they are difficult to reach in a timely manner. Fast food and small restaurants can be found in shopping centers around FIU, but are best reached by car. Most shift workers and many day workers bring their lunch and use the microwave at the office. Vending machines are also available.
Transient and Permanent Living Accomodations
The closest hotel to the TPC is the new Comfort Suites located less than two miles from the Center. There are several other hotels which are adjacent to expressways which lead to an exit nearby the Center: Amerisuites, Wellesley Inn (Miami Airport), Wellesley Inn (Kendall), Fairfield Inn by Marriott, and Marriott Residence Inn.
The National Hurricane Center/Tropical Prediction Center is in the middle of a large expanse of middle-class suburbs. Apartments, condominiums, townhouses and homes are all available, although the quality of the neighborhoods may vary. Local expressways also provide routes from communities to the north, east, and south. Commutes from these areas can range from 20 minutes to an hour.
Miami-Dade County has both an extensive county-wide bus system and a Metrorail system. The Metrorail, unfortunately, does not service the FIU area, so the only public transportation to the National Hurricane Center/Tropical Prediction Center is by bus. Because of limited hours of bus service, extensive time involved in travel to or from most sections, and a lack of bus service to some areas, a personally owned vehicle is a necessity.
Fortunately, the Center is conveniently located near the intersection of the Florida Turnpike (821) with the Dolphin Expressway (836), which allow easy access by car (see map). Transient visitors will find offices of many major auto rental agencies at the Miami International Airport.
Florida state sales tax is 6.5%. There is no state income tax. Property tax rates are assessed on 80% of the market value.
The Greater Miami area, which includes Miami-Dade and Broward (Fort Lauderdale) counties, has over 3.5 million people of diverse cultures. The area has all of the benefits and detractions of a large metropolitan area. Shopping is plentiful, access to a full range of watersports is available, and there are a number of local tourist attractions. Visitors will find that professional football, baseball, hockey, and basketball teams are all located in the Miami area.
The secondary school system in Florida is not very highly rated, although there are numerous high-quality private schools at all levels. Major colleges and universities include: Florida International University (2 campuses), University of Miami, Barry University, St. Thomas University, and Miami-Dade Community College (4 campuses). Available employment in the area is mostly service oriented, although there are exceptions.
Miami has a monsoon-type weather regime with the winters being dry and cool and the summers wet and warm. In most years, the occurrence of precipitation from mid-November to mid-May is infrequent and brief. The exception is during El Nino years when winter an spring months tend to have much above normal rainfall and slightly cooler than normal temperatures. Cold winter days in Miami are those with minimums in the 30s and 40s and maximums in the 50s and lower 60s. Frosts and freezes are rare, but do occur. However, because of the winds blowing over the warm Gulfstream just offshore, within two or three days after cold frontal passages, warmups are usually rapid with minimums in the 60s and maximums in the 70s common in the wintertime.
During the rest of the year, frequent shower and thunderstorm activity occurs with rather heavy rainfall. Summertime minimums seldom fall below 70 degrees with afternoon highs near 90. However, a seabreeze in mid to late afternoon on most days usually lowers the temperature to the mid-80's. Miami has the highest frequency of hurricane force winds in the U.S. Detailed climatological data can be found at the National Weather Service Miami Forecast Office.