Advanced Hurricane Preparation

Hurricanes. One of the largest causes for concern for any cruiser.

Unavoidable devastation for some, a wild ride for others. The smart thing is to plan your course accordingly. Yet, despite best efforts and communication, hurricanes are still Mother Nature’s doing, and we all know she’s as unpredictable as the day is long. Over the years, resources have improved to better predict, plan, defend, and, hopefully, reduce the impact and effects of hurricanes on the sailing lifestyle. 

We recently caught up with Christopher Landsea, PhD, who serves as Chief of the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB) at NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami. The largest part of the National Hurricane Center, the branch not only monitors and issues hurricane forecasts from June through November, they do marine forecasts year-round, monitoring wind and waves and issuing warnings over the open ocean, covering 10 million square nanom for the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, tropical North Atlantic Ocean, and tropical northeastern Pacific Ocean. It’s important to note, within 60 miles of the coastline go to and access local forecasts from regional offices. 

Chris and his department work closely with the US Coast Guard, mostly at the district level, to assist in their planning and preparation for massive weather events, primarily hurricanes, and any related lifesaving measures. Chris and his team have led an evolution in the analysis and reporting of weather events to adapt to changing technology and the needs of mariners from large cargo ships to local fishermen. As it relates to cruisers, while for years many used single side-band radio to communicate and receive info, with the evolution of satellite-based Wi-Fi such as Starlink more cruisers are able to access up-to-date weather information from many sources, even predictions direct from computer models.

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