A hurricane in view from space.

The National Hurricane Center predicts the location of hurricanes. They consider many factors, including atmospheric conditions and ocean temperatures.

The National Hurricane Center uses a variety of sources to predict hurricane tracks. These sources include atmospheric conditions, ocean temperatures, currents, and wind speeds. These factors are all considered when the NHC creates its forecast models for these types of storms.

To make their predictions as accurate as possible, they rely on satellite data measuring water temperature in different ocean regions. They also use information about surface winds from weather balloons launched twice daily from 20 locations worldwide.

These predictions are now more accurate than ever because of new technology developed in recent years. Although these advancements have increased the accuracy in forecasting the paths and strength of tropical storms and hurricanes, it is still not a perfect system.

From 1980 to 1997, the average margin of error for a 24-hour forecast was about 125 miles. Estimates for two days ahead were usually off by 275 miles and projections for three days ahead were typically off by 400 miles.

That is a significant error margin because 400 miles is roughly the distance between Jacksonville and Miami! 

The five-day average errors from 2020-2021 are at about the same level as the 48-hour forecasts in the 1990s.

That’s a dramatic improvement, but even with considerable progress, hurricane landfall forecasts are frequently off by dozens, if not hundreds of miles.

Even with a massive improvement in forecasting technology from twenty years ago to today’s forecast models – where a model may take into account 15 different variables – hurricane landfall forecasts are frequently very off.

Weather is unpredictable, and hurricanes are hard to predict accurately. But this does not mean that these predictions are not valuable. They still provide some warning levels for Floridans in areas where a hurricane can still affect them. 

Still, South Floridians are frequently caught by surprise when hurricanes shift from their projected path into areas that have not adequately prepared for a dangerous storm.

South Floridians need to be prepared at all times during hurricane season. Just because your city isn’t in the center of the cone of possibility right now doesn’t mean it can’t be in another day or two. The probability cones change every few hours during the development of a hurricane.

You can feel a significant impact of a hurricane far out from its center. The most important thing to do is stay informed about the latest weather updates to prepare accordingly. Be sure to download a weather app that sends notifications about new forecasts on hurricanes approaching your city.

Even if you are outside of the larger wind-field of a hurricane or tropical storm, tornadoes can spawn from rotating thunderstorms throughout a hurricane. Around 1,000 tornadoes have been generated from tropical cyclones as of June 2022, and tornadoes from tropical cyclones are one of the most common ways that South Florida experiences tornadoes.

One of the best ways to protect your home from a storm is to get proper hurricane protection. Hurricane shutters and hurricane impact windows are one of the most popular options chosen by South Floridians for ease of use as well as cost effectiveness. If you want to learn more about protecting your home from hurricanes, get in touch with one of our hurricane protection consultants.

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