Weather service hosts hurricane conference

Published: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 05:22 PM.

BEAUFORT – Hurricanes come in all shapes, sizes and threats and don’t always fit into the traditional categories for hurricane strength warnings.

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale well-known to the public gives hurricanes numerical rankings between 1 and 5 based on the strength of wind speeds.

But the warning system, first developed between 1969 and 1973, is wind-based and doesn’t necessarily fit with the forecasts for dangerous storm surge, said Jamie Rhome, lead of the National Hurricane Center’s Storm Surge Team.

Storm surge forecasts are used in evacuation decisions during a storm, and flooding from storm surge is a leading cause of fatalities during tropical storms.

“There is a need for a high-level warning system to communicate the hazard,” said Rhome, who was a featured speaker during Tuesday’s annual Hurricane Awareness Conference, held by the National Weather Service in Newport and Carteret County Emergency Services.

The event was held at the NOAA Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research in Beaufort.

Rhome spoke to the group via teleconference.

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