U.S. Senate Subcommittee Reviews Improvements in Hurricane Forecasting and the Path Forward

May 26, 2016


Just before the June 1 start of the 2016 Hurricane Season, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, convened a hearing entitled “Improvements in Hurricane Forecasting and the Path Forward” yesterday, May 25, 2016.

Although hurricane forecasting has improved substantially in the past century, largely due to weather satellites and computer models, the Subcommittee, part of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, examined the National Hurricane Center’s (“NHC”) two new tools for the upcoming hurricane season:  storm surge watches and warnings, and maps of potential storm surges.  

To view information on the experimental versions of the tools, click here.

NHC Director Dr. Rick Knabb testified on these tools and efforts to improve hurricane path forecasts, as well as the ability to predict a hurricane’s intensity.  To access his testimony, click here.

To read Senator Rubio’s opening remarks, click here.

“We simply cannot afford to be penny-wise and pound-foolish when it comes to hurricanes,” said U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who made a separate statement as the Ranking Democratic Commerce Committee Member. 

Together, the two lawmakers introduced the “Hurricane Forecast Improvement Act” last year, which would require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”) to improve guidance for hurricane track, intensity and storm surge forecasts.  The bill is modeled after NOAA’s “Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project,” which has laid the groundwork for coordinating and improving research.

To access an archived Webcast of yesterday’s hearing, click here.


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