Hurricane center chief says forecast accuracy is urgent

May 13, 2008

Tampa Bay Channel 10 News--May 13, 2008

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The director of the National Hurricane Center says the rapid pace of development along hurricane-prone coasts is adding a new level of urgency for forecasters.

Recent studies show most coastal growth in the U.S. is occurring along the shores from Texas to North Carolina, where hurricanes typically do the most damage.

Bill Read says rapid coastal growth has put pressure on communities to develop more shelter options, rather than turn solely to mass evacuations, which can be dangerous even without a storm.

Those who shelter locally could more easily return home if the storm were to change direction, leaving less work for emergency managers and freeing up the roads for first-responders.

Read was at the 22nd Annual Governor’s Hurricane Conference in Fort Lauderdale today.