Given that the past several blogs have discussed the National Hurricane Center’s “Cone of Uncertainty”, let’s summarize what it is and what it is not and how to use it.
- The cone depicts the probable track of the center of the tropical cyclone. It is only one of many useful products that deals with the uncertainty of the tropical cyclone forecast.
- The cone is created such that two-thirds of historical forecast errors over the most-recent 5-year sample fall within the cone.
- The cone is not an impact graphic. That is, it does not say anything about the distribution of winds, storm surge, rainfall or tornadoes.
- Impacts, such as strong winds, storm surge, heavy rains, and tornadoes, can extend well beyond the cone.
- Watches and warnings can be in effect in areas outside the cone.
- When the cone first comes over your location at the 5-day time period, start thinking about what you would do if the threat continues to increase.
- Your response to a tropical cyclone will depend not only on its future track, but also on other things including its associated size, intensity, wind distribution, storm surge, wave action, rainfall and tornadoes.