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NHC Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)



Where can I find information about...?

  • Hurricane Analyses and Forecasts   (Analyses & Forecasts ➙ Tropical Cyclone Products)
  • Marine Analyses and Forecasts   (Analyses & Forecasts ➙ Marine Products)
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  • Links to Satellite Imagery   (Supporting Data & Tools ➙ Satellite Imagery)
  • Aircraft Reconnaissance Data   (Supporting Data & Tools ➙ Aircraft Reconnaissance)
  • Tropical Atmospheric and Oceanic Analysis Tools   (Supporting Data & Tools ➙ Tropical Analysis Tools)
  • Experimental Products   (Supporting Data & Tools ➙ Experimental Products)
  • Latitude/Longitude Distance Calculator   (Supporting Data & Tools ➙ Lat/Lon Distance Calculator)
  • Blank Hurricane Tracking Maps   (Supporting Data & Tools ➙ Blank Tracking Maps)
  • Hurricane Preparedness Week   (Educational Resources ➙ Prepare!)
  • National Hurricane Center Outreach Programs   (Educational Resources ➙ Outreach Documents)
  • Storm Surge   (Educational Resources ➙ Storm Surge)
  • Tropical Storm and Hurricane Watch/Warning Breakpoints   (Educational Resources ➙ Watch/Warning Breakpoints)
  • Tropical Cyclone Climatology   (Educational Resources ➙ Climatology)
  • Tropical Cyclone Names   (Educational Resources ➙ Tropical Cyclone Names)
  • Tropical Cyclone Reports   (Archives ➙ Tropical Cyclone Reports)
  • Tropical Cyclone Forecast Verification   (Archives ➙ Tropical Cyclone Forecast Verification)
  • Data Archives, including HURDAT, Seasonal Track Maps, Text Products   (Archives ➙ NHC Data Archive)
  • Visiting the National Hurricane Center   (About NHC ➙ Visiting NHC)
  • The Joint Hurricane Testbed   (Quick Links and Additional Resources Footer: Research and Development – Joint Hurricane Testbed)
  • The NHC Library   (Quick Links and Additional Resources Footer: Other Resources – NHC/AOML Library Branch)
  • The National Hurricane Operations Plan   (Quick Links and Additional Resources Footer: Other Resources – National Hurricane Operations Plan)
  • NHC Amateur Radio (WX4NHC)   (Quick Links and Additional Resources Footer: Other Resources – WX4NHC Amateur Radio)

  • Where can I find forecasts for tropical cyclones in the Central Pacific / Western Pacific / Indian Ocean / Southern Hemisphere?

    The National Hurricane Center is responsible for issuing forecasts for all tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic and Northeast Pacific (East of 140W) basins. For information about tropical cyclones around the world, refer to our Worldwide Tropical Cyclone Centers webpage.

    Can I have a tropical cyclone named for me?

    We do not control the naming of tropical storms. Instead, a list of names has been established by an international committee of the United Nations World Meteorological Organization. For Atlantic hurricanes, there is actually one list for each of six years. In other words, one list is repeated every seventh year. The only time that there is a change is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for obvious reasons of sensitivity. If that occurs, then at an annual meeting by the committee (called primarily to discuss many other issues) the offending name is stricken from the list and another name is selected to replace it. See here for more information:

    I'm vacationing in the Caribbean / Bahamas / Central America / Miami or elsewhere in the tropics during hurricane season. What's my chance of getting hit by a hurricane?

    The Tropical Cyclone Frequently Asked Questions (which by the way is an excellent reference and starting place for learning about tropical cyclones) has the answer to this: Additionally, the NHC climatology page could provide more insight.

    Where can I find more information on Storm Surge and SLOSH?

    NHC now has a dedicated section on Storm Surge. More information on SLOSH and obtaining the software can be found in the SLOSH section of those pages.

    I can't seem to get the latest information from the website. Can you help?

    There are a few common problems that can keep you from getting the latest information. See this page for some suggestions on troubleshooting before you contact us. If you're unsure on when the next advisory is scheduled to be released, note that the time is given at the bottom of the latest Public Advisory and the Forecast/Advisory, both linked from the NHC homepage. Also see our Hurricane Preparedness section on the tropical cyclone forecasting process.

    How do I understand the advisories? Where can I get definitions of the terminology used in them?

    Start with these help pages: We also offer two Glossaries and a list of commonly used acronyms and abbreviations: The latter is an extensive list of weather-related terms.

    What is UTC or GMT Time?

    See here for more details:
    I heard that there is a tropical cyclone somewhere in the Atlantic / Caribbean / Gulf of Mexico / Eastern Pacific. How can I find out if I am at risk?

    What you need to do is to go back to the NHC homepage (click on the National Hurricane Center title logo at the top of the page for a shortcut back) and look at the graphics for each storm that's currently active to see if it looks like it may be headed your way. Read the latest advisories for more information.

    Also note that if you live in the United States and a tropical cyclone is threatening your part of the coastline then the local NWS Weather Forecast Offices will issue Hurricane Local Statements if their areas are threatened. These Hurricane Local Statements will also be linked directly from the NHC homepage as appropriate for each storm. From them you can find detailed local information tailored specifically for your area. We also offer a list of the official Emergency Management websites on a per-state basis from the NHC homepage (look for the "Visit your state EM Office" under the Hurricane Preparedness logo on the homepage).

    Can you help me with a homework or research question?

    Possibly, but note that during the hurricane season we are extremely busy. This means that we probably will not be able to get to your question for some time (and that can be days to weeks depending on what's going on in the tropics). With that in mind, here are some excellent sources of information on tropical cyclones that may help you find your answers:

    Also note the links in the two sections on the left side of this page, in the blue bar, under Learn About Hurricanes and Hurricane History for even more information.

    How are the watch/warning breakpoints decided?

    See our breakpoints description for more information.

    Does NHC provide model graphics?

    The National Hurricane Center does not generate a graphic of the guidance models it uses to produce its forecasts. See the model information page for more information.

    More Questions about Hurricanes?

    Visit AOML's Hurricane Research Division FAQ for more detailed cyclone-related questions.