New Cone of Uncertainty for 2024 Hurricane Season

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29 May 2024 1:00 PM

This year the National Hurricane Center is testing a new "Cone of Uncertainty" to display to the public during tropical systems to better communicate the entire hazards of the storm away from the immediate coastline. The current "Cone of Uncertainty" product focuses on the center of the storm, and not the risks outside of the center or eye. The cone of uncertainty can lead to the "containment effect" where people believe areas outside the cone are safe and inside the cone are at risk, according to a study done by researchers at Colorado State University. This product will be experimental and will be tested to see how it is perceived by the public. Deputy Director Jamie Rhome and the team at the National Hurricane Center have been researching and testing this format for the past few years.

So what is the cone of uncertainty? It is a way to display the likely path of the CENTER of the storm and accounts for 2/3 of all possibilities. It is imperative to remember the cone of uncertainty does NOT account for impacts away from the center of the storm like strong winds, storm surge, and flash flooding from rainfall. As meteorologist Steve Glazier tells us, you have to look beyond the cone to get the full story of the storm.

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