‘Cone of uncertainty’ to shrink in ’18
will also begin issuing advisories to better warn the public about ongoing hazards, such as heavy rain. Last year, the center compiled the information as Hurricane Harvey meandered off the Texas coast and concluded it helped better communicate the potential danger of the storm as it continued to do damage, Brown explained.
The changes come following a record-breaking year for Atlantic hurricanes — 10 formed in a row including Irma, the most powerful ever recorded outside the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Last year put the warnings tools to the test, Brown said, but does not necessarily drive this year’s changes, which were already being planned.
“Improving products is always on our minds,” he said.
However, the storms did confirm some efforts, particularly a big push to improve warnings about storm surge.
“Despite the fact three Cat 4 hurricane landfalls occurred in the U.S., there were no known storm surge-related deaths. There may have been other factors, but [storm surge warnings] certainly played into it,” he said. “The mapping is helping with better awareness.”
Two kayakers try to beat the current pushing them down an overflowing Brays Bayou on Aug. 27, 2017, in Houston, Texas, during Hurricane Harvey.