Weather service hosts hurricane conference

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

The National Hurricane Center is developing a package of new storm surge warnings to better inform the public about the hazard. The package includes new graphical maps coming out late this year or early 2014 and a new warning/watch system to be released by 2015.

The new warning/watch advisories will be separate from the current tropical storm watch and warning advisories.

Improving ways to inform the public about storm preparedness and potential threats to their community were highlighted throughout the morning program.

Speakers included Carteret County Emergency Services Director John Ford; Joy Branham, executive director of the Red Cross in five area counties; and Hal Austin and John Cole of the NWS forecast office in Newport.

Branham noted the growing use of technology and social media by the Red Cross, which has introduced a number of apps for use on smartphones and mobile devices. Included are apps for hurricane preparedness, response and first aid.

And the Red Cross is seeing use by the public.

“With the great tool of Internet technology we are able to track our digital reach. … In Onslow County, our digital reach through April was 82,000,” Branham said during a break. “That’s 82,000 times someone downloaded an app, tweeted with staff or commented on our Facebook site.” 

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