Tropical cyclone warnings and watches

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Tropical cyclone warnings and watches are alerts issued by national weather forecasting bodies to coastal areas threatened by the imminent approach of a tropical cyclone of tropical storm or hurricane intensity. They are notices to the local population and civil authorities to make appropriate preparation for the cyclone, including evacuation of vulnerable areas where necessary. It is important that interests throughout the area of an alert make preparations to protect life and property, and do not disregard it on the strength of the detailed forecast track. Tropical cyclones are not points, and forecasting their track remains an uncertain science,

Contents

Western hemisphere

Hurricane Warning
Hurricane conditions
expected within 36 hours.
Hurricane Watch
Hurricane conditions
possible within 48 hours.
Tropical Storm Warning
Tropical storm conditions expected within 36 hours.
Tropical Storm Watch
Tropical storm conditions possible within 48 hours.
alert issued for the Big Island about the message of hurricane warning during Hurricane Lane. Hurricane Lane warning (29254459177).jpg
alert issued for the Big Island about the message of hurricane warning during Hurricane Lane.

New tropical cyclone position and forecast information is available at least every twelve hours in the Southern Hemisphere and at least every six hours in the Northern Hemisphere from Regional Specialized Meteorological Centers and Tropical Cyclone Warning Centers. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] In conjunction with the National Hurricane Center, the national meteorological and hydrological services of Central America, the northern Atlantic Ocean, and the northeastern Pacific Ocean east of the 140th meridian west, excluding mainland Africa and Europe, all issue tropical storm/hurricane watches and warnings. [6] Tropical storm watches are issued when gale and storm force winds of between 34–63 knots (39–73 mph; 63–118 km/h) are possible, within 48 hours in a specified area in association with a tropical, subtropical or post-tropical cyclone. [7] These watches are upgraded to tropical storm warnings, when gale and storm force winds become expected to occur somewhere in the warning area within 36 hours. [7] Hurricane watches are issued when sustained winds of 64 knots (74 mph; 119 km/h) are possible, within 48 hours in a specified area in association with a tropical, subtropical or post-tropical cyclone. [7] These warnings are upgraded to hurricane warnings, when hurricane-force winds become expected to occur somewhere in the warning area within 36 hours. [7]

Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane watch and warnings are issued in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds, rather than in advance of the anticipated onset of hurricane-force winds. [7] At times a tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch can both be in effect due to uncertainties in the forecast. These watches and warnings are also issued by the Central Pacific Hurricane Center for the Hawaiian Islands and the Weather Forecast Office in Guam for parts of Micronesia but not for American Samoa due to an international agreement. [8]

Within the United States an extreme wind warning is issued by the National Weather Service for any land areas that are expected to be impacted by a major (Category 3 or higher) hurricane and by sustained surface winds greater than or equal to 100 knots (115 mph; 185 km/h). [8] The warning is issued just prior to when the strongest winds of the eyewall are expected to impact an area. [9] The warning is to be issued for the smallest area possible, and be valid for times of two hours or less. [9] It was developed in response to confusion resulting from the landfall of Hurricane Katrina. NWS offices in Jackson and New Orleans/Baton Rouge issued 11 tornado warnings for areas that would not experience an actual tornado, but would experience extreme wind speeds commonly associated with tornadoes. [10] The extreme wind warning is now expected to be used in these situations.

In 2017, the National Hurricane Center introduced a new system of warnings and watches for storm surge, which would cover the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States. A storm surge watch would be issued when a life-threatening storm surge, associated with a potential or ongoing tropical, subtropical or post-tropical cyclone, is possible within the next 48 hours. These watches would be upgraded to storm surge warnings when there is a danger of life-threatening storm surge occurring within 36 hours. However, both watches and warnings may be issued earlier than specified if environmental conditions are expected to hamper preparations. [11]

In Mexico, a color coded alert system is used to keep the public informed when a tropical cyclone or possible tropical cyclones poses a threat to the nation. The scale starts with blue at the bottom being minimal danger, then proceeds to a green alert, which means low level danger. A yellow alert signifies moderate danger, followed by an orange alert that means high danger level. The scale tops off with a red alert, the maximum level of danger. [12]

Canada

In Canada, terminology is fairly similar to that of the United States, but there are a few differences: [13]

West Pacific systems

People's Republic of China

A two-stage warning system was long-established in China for tropical cyclones of tropical storm intensity of above. [14] Nowadays, the use of this system is restricted to coastal waters only. Thus, warnings may be discontinued even if a cyclone is maintaining tropical storm intensity inland. Color-coded alerts (below) may be in effect independently of any two-stage warnings.

Later, China Meteorological Administration standardized the system for national use. [15] This set is part of a larger warning system that covers other forms of severe weather conditions, such as extreme temperature, torrential rainfall, drought, etc.

LevelNameSignMeaning
Blue typhoon alert
台风蓝色预警信号
Blue typhoon alert - China.svg Within 24 hours, it may or may have been affected by tropical cyclones. The average wind power on the coast or land is above 6, or the gust above 8 and may continue.
Yellow typhoon alert
台风黄色预警信号
Yellow typhoon alert - China.svg Within 24 hours, it may or may have been affected by tropical cyclones. The average wind power on the coast or land is above 8, or the gust above 10 and may continue.
Orange typhoon alert
台风橙色预警信号
Orange typhoon alert - China.svg Within 12 hours, it may or may have been affected by tropical cyclones. The average wind power on the coast or land is above 10, or the gust above 12 and may continue.
Red typhoon alert
台风红色预警信号
Red typhoon alert - China.svg Within 6 hours, it may or may have been affected by tropical cyclones. The average wind power on the coast or land is above 12, or the gust above 14 and may continue.

Guangdong

Guangdong continued to set up the White typhoon alert for typhoon, indicating that tropical cyclones may affect the area within 48 hours. In some inland areas that are less affected by tropical cyclones (such as Qinghai, etc.), there is no typhoon warning signal, but when it is hit by tropical cyclones, a strong wind warning signal will be issued. The winds represented by each color are consistent with the typhoon warning signal.

Typhoon warning signals used in Guangzhou from June 1, 1995 to November 1, 2000: [16]

NameMeaning
Windproof Info (Tropical Storm or Typhoon Info)indicates that a tropical storm or typhoon has entered the South China Sea (or has formed in the South China Sea) and is likely to move to the coastal areas of the province.
Windproof Warning (Tropical Storm and Typhoon Warning)Indicating that a tropical storm or typhoon warning enters the South China Sea, its route is moving in the direction of the Pearl River Estuary. If there is no change, it may land within 48 hours.
Windproof Special Alert (Tropical Storm or Typhoon Emergency Alert)Indicating that a tropical storm or typhoon hits the Pearl River Estuary within 24 hours, or landed in a coastal area within 150 kilometers of the Pearl River Estuary, which will have a serious impact on Guangzhou.
Disarming (Tropical Storm or Typhoon Disarming Alert)indicates that a tropical storm or typhoon has landed (or weakened to a low pressure).

Typhoon warning signals used from November 1, 2000 to May 2006 [17]

NameSignalMeaning
White typhoon alert Taf1.gif Tropical cyclones may affect the area within 48 hours.
Green typhoon alert Taf2.gif Tropical cyclones will be within 24 hours or are affecting the area, with an average wind level of strong winds (6-7) (41-62 km/h).
Yellow typhoon alert Kj3.gif Tropical cyclones will be within 12 hours or are affecting the area, with an average winds level of strong gale (8-9) (63-87 km/h).
Red typhoon alert Ty4.gif Tropical cyclones will be within 12 hours or are affecting the area, with an average winds level of strong storm (10-11) (88-117 km/h).
Black typhoon alert Jk5.gif Tropical cyclones will be within 12 hours or are affecting the area, with an average winds level of typhoon (>12).

Typhoon warning signals used from June 1, 2006 to December 31, 2014: [18]

NameSignalMeaning
White typhoon alert Typhoon 1 white.jpg Tropical cyclones may affect the area within 48 hours.
Blue typhoon alert Typhoon 2 blue.jpg It may be affected by tropical cyclones within 24 hours, the average wind power can reach above level 6, or gusts above 7; or it has been affected by tropical cyclones with an average wind power of 6–7, or gusts of 7–8, and may continue.
Yellow typhoon alert Typhoon 3 yellow.jpg It may be affected by tropical cyclones within 24 hours, the average wind power can reach above level 8, or gusts above 9; or it has been affected by tropical cyclones with an average wind power of 8–9, or gusts of 9-10, and may continue.
Orange typhoon alert Typhoon 4 orange.jpg It may be affected by tropical cyclones within 12 hours, the average wind power can reach above level 10, or gusts above 11; or it has been affected by tropical cyclones with an average wind power of 10–11, or gusts of 11–12, and may continue.
Red typhoon alert Typhoon 5 red.jpg It may be affected by tropical cyclones within 6 hours, the average wind power can reach above level 12; or it has been affected by tropical cyclones with an average wind power of 12, and may continue.

Typhoon warning signals used since January 1, 2015: [19]

NameSignalMeaning
White typhoon alert 2015Ban Yan Dong Sheng Tai Feng Bai Se Yu Jing Xin Hao .gif Tropical cyclones may affect the area within 48 hours.
Blue typhoon alert 2015Ban Yan Dong Sheng Tai Feng Lan Se Yu Jing Xin Hao .gif It may be affected by tropical cyclones within 24 hours, the average wind power can reach above level 6, or gusts above 7; or it has been affected by tropical cyclones with an average wind power of 6–7, or gusts of 7–8, and may continue.
Yellow typhoon alert 2015Ban Yan Dong Sheng Tai Feng Huang Se Yu Jing Xin Hao .gif It may be affected by tropical cyclones within 24 hours, the average wind power can reach above level 8, or gusts above 9; or it has been affected by tropical cyclones with an average wind power of 8–9, or gusts of 9-10, and may continue.
Orange typhoon alert 2015Ban Yan Dong Sheng Tai Feng Cheng Se Yu Jing Xin Hao .gif It may be affected by tropical cyclones within 12 hours, the average wind power can reach above level 10, or gusts above 11; or it has been affected by tropical cyclones with an average wind power of 10–11, or gusts of 11–12, and may continue.
Red typhoon alert 2015Ban Yan Dong Sheng Tai Feng Hong Se Yu Jing Xin Hao .gif It may be affected by tropical cyclones within 6 hours, the average wind power can reach above level 12; or it has been affected by tropical cyclones with an average wind power of 12, and may continue.
Shenzhen

Shenzhen currently uses a different signal from Guangdong Province: [18] [20]

Zhuhai

Zhuhai adopts the signal style of Guangdong Province, but the meaning of the signal is different: [21]

Ball signal

Shenzhen and Zhuhai

Shenzhen and Zhuhai used digitally arranged typhoon signals from June 4, 1994 to November 1, 2000, [22] but they have now been replaced by typhoon warning signals.

Ports

The coastal ports of various cities in mainland China will still hang the squash signal when the typhoon hits. [23] The sign is roughly the same as the typhoon signal used in Shenzhen and Zhuhai. [24]

Hong Kong and Macau

The Pearl River Delta uses a variety of warning systems to inform the public regarding the risks of tropical cyclones to the area.

The Hong Kong Observatory issues typhoon signals to indicate the existence and effects of a tropical cyclone on Hong Kong. The first numeric warning system was used in 1917.

The Macao Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau in Macau uses a similar system. [25]

In Hong Kong the typhoon signal system consists of 8 signals in 5 levels numbered non-consecutively for historical reasons. [26] [27] Each signal has a day signal and a night signal for hoisting, which are still hoisted in Macau but no longer hoisted in Hong Kong. Day signals are also used as signal symbols in both places.

SignalSymbolNoteWind speedGust
No.1 No. 01 Standby Signal.png (Standby) A tropical cyclone is centred within 800 km of the territory.NANA
No.3 No. 03 Strong Wind Signal.png A definite warning that a tropical cyclone is expected to come near enough to Hong Kong to cause strong winds in Hong Kong. It normally gives 12 hours warning of strong winds generally over Hong Kong at sea level, but in exposed areas, winds may become strong sooner.

Implication for citizens: Do not need to go to kindergartens, some places and events.

Strong wind with a sustained speed of 41–62 km/h≥ 110 km/h
No.8. NW / SW / NE / SE No. 8 Northwest Gale or Storm Signal.png No. 8 Southwest Gale or Storm Signal.png No. 8 Northeast Gale or Storm Signal.png No. 8 Southeast Gale or Storm Signal.png Gale or storm force wind.

4 different symbols for different directions.

Implication for citizens: usually no need to go to school or work for most people if hosted before a certain hours before official work hours; depends on official announcement & employment contracts.

sustained speed of 63–117 km/h from the northwest, southwest, northeast, southeast quadrants respectively≥ 180 km/h.
No. 9 No. 09 Increasing Gale or Storm Signal.png (Hong Kong) Gale or storm force wind is increasing or expected to increase significantly in strength. / (Macau) The centre of a tropical cyclone is approaching and Macau is expected to be severely affected.It usually implies that wind speeds are expected to reach the range 88 to 117 kilometres per hour.
No. 10 No. 10 Hurricane Signal.png Hurricane-force wind.

Implication for citizens: no need to go to work or school. Most public transportation stop.

winds range upwards from 118 kilometres per hour.≥ 220 km/h

Japan

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) is the government agency responsible for gathering and providing results for the public in Japan, that are obtained from data based on daily scientific observation and research into natural phenomena in the fields of meteorology, hydrology, seismology and volcanology, among other related scientific fields. Its headquarters is located in Tokyo.

is also designated one of the Regional Specialized Meteorological Centers (RSMC) of the World Meteorological Organization. It has the responsibility for weather forecasting, tropical cyclone naming and distribution of warnings for tropical cyclones in the Northwestern Pacific region.

Philippines

PAGASA's
Tropical Cyclone Warning Signals (TCWS)
[28] [29]
Warning SignalMeaning
TCWS #1winds of 30–60 km/h (20-37 mph)
are expected to occur within 36 hours
TCWS #2winds of 61–120 km/h (38–73 mph)
are expected to occur within 24 hours
TCWS #3winds of 121–170 km/h (74–105 mph)
are expected to occur within 18 hours
TCWS #4winds of 171–220 km/h (106–137 mph)
are expected to occur within 12 hours
TCWS #5winds greater than 220 km/h (137 mph)
are expected to occur within 12 hours

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) releases tropical cyclone warnings in the form of Tropical Cyclone Warning Signals (or just storm signals). [30] An area having a storm signal may be under:

These storm signals are usually hoisted when an area (in the Philippines only) is about to be hit by a tropical cyclone. Thus, as a tropical cyclone gains strength and/or gets closer to an area having a storm signal, it may be raised to another higher signal in that particular area. Whereas, as a tropical cyclone weakens and/or gets farther away from an area, it may be downgraded to a lower signal or may be lifted (that is, an area will have no storm signal).

South Pacific basin

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology will issue a cyclone watch for a specified part of Australia, when a tropical cyclone is expected to cause gale-force winds in excess of 62 km/h (40 mph) within 24–48 hours and subsequently make landfall. [31] A cyclone warning is subsequently issued for a specified part of Australia when a tropical cyclone, is expected to cause or is causing gale-force winds in excess of 62 km/h (40 mph) within 24 hours and is subsequently expected to make landfall. [31]

The Fiji Meteorological Service (FMS) issues a tropical cyclone alert for the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Tokelau and Tuvalu, when a tropical cyclone has a significant probability of causing gale-force winds or stronger winds within 24–48 hours. [32] Gale, storm and hurricane-force wind warnings are subsequently issued for the above areas by FMS, when a tropical cyclone is either causing or expected to cause either gale storm or hurricane-force winds within 24 hours. [32]

Météo-France is responsible for the issuance of tropical cyclone watches and warnings for New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, French Polynesia and the Pitcairn Islands. [32] The National Meteorological and Hydrological Services of the Solomon Islands, Samoa, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, New Zealand, Vanuatu, Timor Leste and American Samoa are responsible for their own watches and warnings. [32]

Indian Ocean systems

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD/RSMC New Delhi) is responsible for tracking tropical cyclones within the North Indian Ocean. Météo-France in Réunion (MFR/RSMC La Reunion) is responsible for the issuing advisories and tracking of tropical cyclones in the southwest part of the basin, however, the naming of systems is deferred to the Mauritius and Madagascar weather services.

India

Cyclone Watch
Cyclonic storm conditions possible within 72 hours.
Cyclone Alert
Cyclonic storm conditions possible within 48 hours.
Cyclone Warning
Cyclonic storm conditions expected within 24 hours.
Landfall Outlook
Cyclonic storm conditions expected within 12 hours.

The IMD issues warnings in four stages for the Indian coast.

Cyclonic storm conditions mean what winds in excess of 63 km/h (39 mph) are possible. [33]

Military advisories

HURCON/TCCOR

The United States Department of Defense uses a multi-stage system called the Hurricane Condition (HURCON) in the North Atlantic and the Northeast Pacific and the Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness (TCCOR) in the western Pacific to prepare bases and evacuate assets and personnel in advance of adverse weather associated with tropical cyclones. [34]

The alerts are recommended by weather facilities either on base or by central sites like the National Hurricane Center or the Joint Typhoon Warning Center and are generally related to the timing and potential for destructive sustained windspeeds of above 50 kn (58 mph; 93 km/h). [34] Recommendations are then considered by base or area commanders along with other subjective factors for setting the alert status like assets, holidays or the bases experience in emergency preparedness. [34] The bases prefer to set these alerts sequentially, from HURCON or TCCOR 5 with destructive winds expected within 96 hours, through levels 4, 3, 2 and if needed to a series of four different level 1 conditions, however depending on the cyclone's movement or location some of these signals can be skipped. [34] [35] After a system passes and stops affecting the base, the authorities can decide to revert to the lowest level or stay in a heightened approach if another tropical cyclone is approaching. [34]

See also

Related Research Articles

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2005 Pacific typhoon season typhoon season in the Pacific Ocean

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2007 Pacific typhoon season typhoon season in the Pacific Ocean

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Typhoons in the Philippines

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2005–06 Australian region cyclone season cyclone season in the Australian region

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2008–09 Australian region cyclone season cyclone season in the Australian region

The 2008–09 Australian region cyclone season was a near average tropical cyclone season. It officially started on 1 November 2008, and officially ended on 30 April 2009. This season was also the first time that the BoM implemented a "tropical cyclone year." The regional tropical cyclone operational plan defines a "tropical cyclone year" separately from a "tropical cyclone season"; the "tropical cyclone year" began on 1 July 2008 and ended on 30 June 2009.

2009 North Indian Ocean cyclone season cyclone season in the North Indian ocean

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Cyclone Tam Category 1 South Pacific cyclone in 2006

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Cyclone Magda Category 3 Australian region cyclone in 2010

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Glossary of tropical cyclone terms Wikipedia glossary

The following is a glossary of tropical cyclone terms.

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Typhoon Vicente Pacific typhoon in 2012

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2020 Pacific typhoon season Storm season

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Typhoon Usagi (2013) Pacific typhoon in 2013

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Tropical Storm Nida (2016)

Severe Tropical Storm Nida, known in the Philippines as Severe Tropical Storm Carina, was a tropical cyclone that struck Luzon, Philippines and Guangdong, China in late July and early August respectively. The fourth named storm of the annual typhoon season, Nida formed on July 28, 2016 as a tropical depression in the Philippine Sea. Tracking generally north-northwestward, it intensified into a severe tropical storm and skirted northern Luzon before turning to the west-northwest, entering the South China Sea and intensifying further. Nida made landfall over Dapeng Peninsula in Shenzhen late on August 1 and dissipated on August 3.

Cyclone Ann Category 2 South Pacific and Australian region cyclone in 2019

Tropical Cyclone Ann was a small and relatively weak off-season tropical cyclone that brought minor impacts to the Solomon Islands, Far North Queensland and coastal regions of the Northern Territory's Top End during May 2019. Ann was the twenty-fifth tropical low, eleventh tropical cyclone, ninth Category 2 tropical cyclone and second off-season tropical cyclone of the 2018–19 Australian region cyclone season. The system developed from a tropical low that formed on 7 May in the South Pacific cyclone region. The low gradually intensified while moving southwards, and strengthened into a tropical cyclone on 11 May. The storm then turned to the west-northwest and continued to strengthen over the Coral Sea. Ann reached peak intensity on 12 May as a Category 2 tropical cyclone on the Australian scale, with ten-minute sustained winds of 95 km/h (60 mph) and a central barometric pressure of 993 hPa (29.32 inHg). One-minute sustained winds of 100 km/h (65 mph) made Ann equivalent to a strong tropical storm on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale. The storm began to decay soon afterwards, and weakened to a gale-force tropical low on 14 May. Ann made landfall near Lockhart River on Cape York Peninsula on 15 May, before re-emerging over water a few hours later. Ann maintained a steady west-northwestwards track for several days before dissipating as a tropical low near East Timor on 18 May.

References

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