Skip Navigation Links weather.gov   
NOAA logo - Click to go to the NOAA homepage National Weather Service   NWS logo - Click to go to the NWS homepage
National Hurricane Center
Local forecast by
"City, St" or "ZIP"

 
Alternate Formats
   Text     |   Mobile
   Email   |   RSS XML/RSS logo
   About Alternates
Cyclone Forecasts
   Latest Advisory
   Past Advisories
   Audio/Podcasts
   About Advisories
Marine Forecasts
   Atlantic & E Pacific
   Gridded Marine
   About Marine
Tools & Data
   Satellite | Radar
   Analysis Tools
   Aircraft Recon
   GIS Datasets
   Data Archive
Development
   Experimental
   Research
   Forecast Accuracy
Outreach & Education
   Prepare
   Storm Surge
   About Cyclones
   Cyclone Names
   Wind Scale
   Most Extreme
   Forecast Models
   Breakpoints
   Resources
   Glossary | Acronyms
   Frequent Questions
Our Organization
   About NHC
   Mission & Vision
   Staff | Q&A
   Visitors | Virtual Tour
   Library Branch
   NCEP | Newsletter
Contact Us
   Comments
Follow the National Hurricane Center on Facebook Follow the National Hurricane Center on Twitter
Subscribe the National Hurricane Center on YouTube Read the National Hurricane Center Inside the Eye blog on WordPress
FirstGov.gov is the U.S. Government's official Web portal to all Federal, state and local government Web resources and services.
 
 

Storm Surge Product Decision Support Wedge


Which storm surge product should I use when?

The National Hurricane Center's (NHC) Storm Surge Product Decision Support Wedge offers a three-tiered approach to utilizing available storm surge data for decision support. While hurricane track forecasting continues to improve, the average track error 48 hours prior to landfall for the Atlantic basin is still considerable, now near 100 nautical miles. Moreover, average intensity forecast error 48 hours prior to landfall is 15 kt. These average errors could mean the difference between a Category One hurricane making landfall in Pensacola, Florida, or a Category Three hurricane striking New Orleans, Louisiana.

The 24-hour to 48-hour window is often critical for decision-making. It is important not to focus solely on one storm surge product within this window. Storm specific uncertainties are accounted for in the probabilistic storm surge (p-surge) product, while the *MOMs and *MEOWs provide a worst case storm surge estimate at a regional level. The Hurricane Local Statement (HLS), available from the National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs) upon the issuance of tropical cyclone watches and warnings, summarizes local impacts (i.e., county or parish level impacts) from storm surge. Consequently, understanding the four available storm surge products and carefully reviewing where each falls within the three-tiered decision support wedge allows decision-makers to make the most informed decisions within current forecast limitations.

As a general rule for using this decision support wedge:

  • Consider all products in each tier
  • Always use the *MOMs or *MEOWs
  • As tier number decreases, number of recommended products increases (remember: 3-1, 2-2, 1-3)

Tier Timeline Recommended Decision Support
Storm Surge Products
Number of Recommended Products
Tier 1 < 48 h of forecast landfall NHC Advisory / NWS Local Statements
Probabilistic Storm Surge (P-Surge)
*MEOWs
3
Tier 2 48 h - 120 h of forecast landfall *MEOWs
*MOMs
2
Tier 3 > 120 h of forecast landfall *MOMs
1


* Provided average errors inherent in NHC intensity forecasts (discussed above) and the sensitivity of storm surge forecasts to storm intensity, it is recommended that emergency managers employ MOMs or MEOWs for a hurricane one category higher than what is forecast by NHC at landfall.

This tool is designed as an aid for emergency managers and trained officials only. It is not intended to be used by the general public for making life or death decisions. Closely follow all instructions from local and state emergency management during a hurricane threat. If you are asked to evacuate, you should do so without delay.



Quick Navigation Links:
Tropical Cyclone Forecasts  -  Tropical Marine Forecasts  -  Data Archive
Outreach  -  Prepare  -  About Cyclones  -  About NHC  -  Contact Us

NOAA/ National Weather Service
National Centers for Environmental Prediction
National Hurricane Center
11691 SW 17th Street
Miami, Florida 33165-2149 USA
nhcwebmaster@noaa.gov
Disclaimer
Credits
Information Quality
Glossary
Privacy Policy
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
About Us
Career Opportunities
Page last modified: Sunday, 02-Jun-2013 23:58:14 UTC