After a thoughtful and deliberate review... NOAA has released a report on the National Weather Service's performance during hurricane/post tropical cyclone Sandy.
The report... Hurricane/Post Tropical Cyclone Sandy Service Assessment... reaffirms that the National Weather Service provided accurate forecasts for Sandy... giving people early awareness of the significant storm churning toward the mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
The report includes recommendations to improve products and services to fully meet customer and partner needs in the future.
The report includes 23 recommendations for service improvements... identifying better storm surge forecasts as the highest priority. Although surge forecasts for Sandy were available two days before the storm... the team found that officials in New York and New Jersey needed information sooner and in more user-friendly... unified formats... including GIS maps and warnings that provide specific local impacts.
Among others... the report recommends that NOAA unify public communications of forecast information and expand the use of social science to develop products... services and communication tools to drive public preparedness and response to severe weather.
The National Weather Service has already implemented one of the team's recommendations and is developing an action plan to ensure that the team's remaining recommendations become reality. Earlier this year... the National Hurricane Center moved to change its policy to issue forecasts and warnings for dangerous storms like Sandy... even when they are expected to become post-tropical cyclones by landfall. This policy will be in place for the June 1 start of hurricane season.
This spring Congress passed the Sandy Supplemental Appropriations Act... providing NOAA with unprecedented opportunity to strengthen the National Weather Service. The Act provides $48 million in supplemental funding to the agency's FY13 budget for Sandy recovery efforts and to improve response and recovery capability for future weather events. The funding will allow the National Weather Service to make critical improvements in high-speed computing... higher resolution weather prediction models and key observation systems... among other projects that will improve the agency's support to local communities for extreme weather events.
Sandy was a complex storm... resulting in 72 direct deaths across eight states and at least 75 indirect deaths... damages in excess of $50 billion... storm surge in excess of eight feet and up to three feet of snow in some places.
At close to 1,000 miles in diameter... it was among the largest storms ever to strike the U.S. The storm caused impacts in 24 states.
You can read the full report here.... http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/assessments/index.shtml
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