HURRICANE CENTRAL, Fla. - Every year we want to make sure you're aware of any changes that affect the way we predict or track storms. Here's what's new for this season.
Forecasting tropical storms continues to evolve year by year and decade by decade. New in 2012, you may notice the forecast cone will be a little smaller. Each year, the National Hurricane Center revisits the accuracy of the previous five years. If accuracy increases, the result is a smaller cone.
Minor changes have been made this year to the Saffir Simpson hurricane wind scale. Category three hurricanes have had their winds adjusted from 111 to 130-mph to 111 to 129-mph. Category four is now 130 to 156-mph and category five storms now start at 157-mph.
More significant changes were made two years ago when watches were extended from 36 to 48 hours in advance of possible impacts. Meanwhile, warnings went from being issued 24 hours in advance to 36 hours.
Work continues at the National Hurricane Center and soon more major changes could be implemented to provide the maximum amount of lead time in advance of the next storm.