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Hurricane Center Shrinks Forecast Cone For Fifth Year

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National Hurricane Center (Source: NASA.gov)

National Hurricane Center (Source: NASA.gov)

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CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – Good news: the National Hurricane Center’s (NHC) cone of error has shrunk again. Why is that good news? It means the center’s tropical forecasts are getting more accurate.

Each year, NHC’s team of meteorologists analyzes the center’s forecast track errors from the past five tropical seasons, then averages them out. In the past five years storm path predictions have become steadily more accurate.

NHC Spokesman Dennis Feltgen knows there’s still plenty of improvements to be made.

A third of storms travel outside the forecast cone, Feltgen told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

That’s one reason Feltgen cautions residents not to rely solely on the forecast cone.

“It is very important to remember that the storm can be anywhere in that cone 67 percent of the time, and is in no way representative of the areas that would feel the impacts of the storm,” he said.

In the upcoming season, the cone will be about 9 percent smaller than last year:

The part of the cone that shows when a storm is five days out will be 526 miles across, 24 miles less than last year; four days out, 406 miles across, or 30 miles less and three days out, 294 miles across, or 36 miles less.

The part of the cone that shows when a storm is two days out will be 212 miles across, or 14 miles less than last year; 36 hours out, 166 miles across, or 16 miles less; 24 hours out, 120 miles across, or 8 miles less; and for 12 hours out, 76 miles across, or 3 miles less.

For more details, see the National Hurricane Center explanation.

Bookmark CBS4′s Tropics Page so you’re prepared ahead of the 2013 hurricane season, which begins June 1.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel contributed to this report.)

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