Tropical Cyclone Storm Surge: Forecasting and Communication

Tropical Cyclone Storm Surge
    • Enrollment Information:

Description

Tropical cyclone storm surge presents the greatest threat to life and property for coastal communities. When a tropical cyclone threatens coastal communities, National Weather Service (NWS) and National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecasters share information with local decision-makers regarding plausible storm surge scenarios, uncertainties, potential threats and impacts.

This course will introduce decision-makers, forecasters, and others interested in tropical cyclone storm surge to:

  • the physical processes and factors affecting storm surge
  • the orthometric and tidal datums used to describe storm surge heights and forecasts
  • the probabilistic guidance products used by the NHC to forecast storm surge and their appropriate interpretation
  • the probabilistic guidance products used by the NWS to assess local surge threats and impacts and their appropriate interpretation
  • the crafting of clear and concise communications for decision support

The lessons in the course provide practice in:

  • determining the right probabilistic products to use for risk assessment and messaging
  • correctly interpreting probabilistic guidance
  • creating messages that appropriately describe the potential threat at different lead times

Goals and Objectives

The main goal of the course is to introduce decision-makers, forecasters, and others interested in tropical cyclone storm surge to the basic physical processes and factors affecting storm surge, as well as the probabilistic products used to forecast it and how to communicate the guidance in them.

Learners who complete the course will be able to:

  • Describe the physical processes and factors affecting storm surge
  • Explain the orthometric and tidal datums used to describe storm surge heights and forecasts, as well as how to reference datums
  • Interpret the probabilistic guidance products used by the NHC to forecast storm surge
  • Interpret the probabilistic guidance products used by the NWS to assess local surge threats and impacts
  • Craft clear and concise communications for decision-support based on probabilistic guidance

The knowledge and skills covered in the course will assist forecasters to provide better decision-support. Emergency managers and others will become familiar with the probabilistic products and forecast uncertainty associated with tropical cyclone guidance.

In addition, all lessons offer their own specific objectives which can be found on their respective description pages.

Overview

This course is organized in two units. The first unit, “Fundamentals of Tropical Cyclone Storm Surge” introduces the physical processes and factors affecting storm surge, and the orthometric and tidal datums used to describe storm surge heights and forecasts. The second unit, “Forecasting and Communicating Storm Surge Guidance” covers the probabilistic guidance products used by NHC and the NWS to forecast storm surge. It also offers practice in how to interpret and communicate the probabilistic guidance to emergency managers, other decision-makers, and the public.

Each lesson has an accompanying assessment that learners must pass in order to receive credit for the particular lesson. The course includes between 2.5 and 3 hrs of instructional time (not including the assessments).

Course Outline

Additional Resources

Course Outline