Superstorm Sandy as it strikes the East Coast in late October 2012.
Superstorm Sandy as it strikes the East Coast in late October 2012. (Space Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison)

The National Hurricane Center may loosen the criteria it uses in issuing hurricane warnings so that future storms like Superstorm Sandy would prompt the same alerts as if they were still officially classified as hurricanes, according to AccuWeather.com.

The hurricane center has proposed revising its hurricane warning policy to include any storm expected to bring hurricane-force winds, whether the storm is a tropical, sub-tropical, or post-tropical cyclone. Center officials told AccuWeather of the proposal in a meeting Wednesday, according to the Pennsylvania-based meteorology company.

Hurricane center officials released the following statement:


A proposal was raised during the NOAA Hurricane Conference last week for NWS to have the option to issue hurricane and tropical storm watches and warnings for post-tropical cyclones that threaten life and property. This is one step in the process required before any proposed change to operational products becomes final. As part of our review of the 2012 hurricane season, including the Sandy service assessment, we will review all policies and changes through the existing and established process.

Some criticized the center after Sandy devastated parts of the New Jersey shore, New York and Long Island because a hurricane warning was not issued ahead of the storm. As Hurricane Sandy approached the East Coast, it began to lose some "tropical" cyclone characteristics, meaning while it still packed dangerous winds and heavy precipitation, it was behaving more like a winter storm than a hurricane.

Hurricane center officials said at the time they would not be issuing hurricane warnings in an effort to avoid confusion amid other severe weather warnings in effect.

"The main issue is: we want people to get ready for hurricane conditions, and that's why we are changing the definition of hurricane warning to be a little more inclusive of other things than just a hurricane," Chris Landsea, hurricane center science and operations officer, told AccuWeather.

An earlier of this version stated that the hurricane center had already accepted the change in warning policy, as AccuWeather had reported, but has been changed to reflect the statement made by center officials.

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