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National Weather Service changes warning policies in response to Hurricane Sandy

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Hurricane Sandy
Hurricane Sandy

The National Weather Service issued a policy change today that will allow it to broadcast hurricane warnings during storms such as Sandy, which was ineligible for the broader warning when it caused massive damage to New York last October. The NWS's changes come after the previous policy resulted in a downplayed expectation of the storm's severity, reports USA Today. Previously, storms like Sandy were only eligible for smaller, individual warnings. As Sandy approached, local sources sent out warnings for "high winds" and "costal floods," rather than a widely broadcasted hurricane warning.

Beginning this hurricane season, hurricane warnings can remain in effect or be newly issued for storms like Sandy that have evolved to become "post-tropical." The NWS notes that such storms can still be "a significant threat to life and property," and that this policy change should allow the organization to more appropriately address that. The change does not mandate warnings for post-tropical storms, but it does give the NWS additional options should the group assess that a situation would benefit from it, something that was not within its boundaries before.