What's New for the 2014 Season

The 2014 Season Version of HURREVAC is 1.4.1 (as noted in the title bar of the main program window).  This release of HURREVAC is a continuation of the modernization efforts begun in 2013 to accommodate display and analysis of large grid-based layers of data from the National Hurricane Center: wind probability graphics and reports were added in 2013, and probabilistic storm surge graphics and reports are new for 2014. Other notable additions to the program for this year include a new Wind Timing Chart and an enhanced alerting system for evacuation scenarios and timeline-associated actions. User-defined Points of Interest functionality is also being introduced in this version.

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Specific new features and improvements to the program are as follows:

  1. Storm Surge Probabilities is a new forecast information layer included in HURREVAC for coastal areas from Texas to Maine that could experience storm surge-associated flooding from an approaching tropical system within the next 78 hours. The source of this data is the NHC P-Surge 2.0 product--an ensemble model based on the SLOSH model, a storm surge model in use by the National Weather Service to help forecast surge from hurricanes. P-Surge takes the hurricane forecast from the National Hurricane Center and uses error statistics from past hurricane forecasts to create many statistically possible track, size, forward speed, and intensity scenarios that could occur. The resulting information is reported as water depths above ground level with a 1 in 10 chance of being exceeded, which provides a conservative view of the surge impact from the approaching storm that could be possible for a given location.  Both 78-hour (cumulative) and 6-hour (incremental) details are available. P-Surge data can be viewed in both graphical and report format.
  2. The Wind Timing Chart is a new report format based upon wind timing and intensity information from the official forecast track. The deterministic wind timing details in this report are not new to HURREVAC, but the new chart-based layout makes it easier to visualize possible wind conditions over time for multiple locations. Because this chart does not account for forecast uncertainty, it is not recommended for use to support decision making until the storm is close to landfall.
  3. Enhanced Timing Alerts are a new way of monitoring both evacuation start time alerts and timeline-associated actions while tracking the progress of a storm from one advisory to the next. A flashing yellow alerts area of  the program header expands when clicked to show an itemized list of individual alert notifications. The system keeps track of evacuation start time alerts for up to10 evacuation scenarios and provides timeline reminder alerts for user-entered  timeline actions for a selected single county or parish.
  4. Points of Interest are user-defined point locations that function as simple map annotations and as locations available for analysis within certain reports such as surge probabilities.

Other changes of note in HURREVAC Version 1.4.1:

  1. The 120-hour error swath for Atlantic and East Pacific is further narrowed as a result of NHC's improving accuracy in forecasting storm center positions.
  2. Many modifications were made to HURREVAC's basemaps in preparation for the addition of storm surge data and to address specific user requests: Water and land colors changed so as not to conflict with NHC's P-Surge scale. Coastlines for the continental US are much more detailed. Coastlines for islands were refined as well. The latitude/longitude lines and hacks have been reconfigured for better context while zooming and panning around the map.  West Pacific island and country labels have also been refined for better context.
  3. The Evacuation Clearance Time browser has been reconfigured to utilize a picklist of states and counties with HES data and display information in one or more view tabs rather than the single floating window that required selection of a county from the map.
  4. The term 'Evacuation Start Time' is now used throughout the program in place of 'Evacuation Decision Time'. This change in terminology better reflects what is being reported by the program: namely, the latest time by which an evacuation (if warranted) should be initiated. Decisions and preparations are likely made a number of hours before this reported time.
  5. Toolbox items have been rearranged and/or renamed for clarity: Decision Arcs are now referred to as 'Evacuation Clearance Arcs' for reasons stated above. The arcs have also been moved from UTILITIES to MAP ANNOTATIONS. Advisory labels have been moved to STORM FEATURES. Advisory Overlays are now referred to as 'Previous Forecast Tracks'.
  6. HURREVAC's Setup no longer requires separate installation of state plugins: River gage maps are accessed directly from individual gage charts. Surge Maps are downloaded directly from the Surge Map Browser.
  7. Import and Export of user settings within HURREVAC's Setup has been changed to handle the entire contents of  the UserSettings.xml and PointsOfInterest.xml files, rather than just a limited number of settings. Contents of the xml files can be edited  outside of HURREVAC if select import or export is desired.
  8. A number of problems with HURREVAC's Exercise Wizard and Manual Data Entry panels have been corrected and the interface as been streamlined for easier editing of exercise storms.
  9. Map recentering and flashing of map objects has been reduced greatly. Automatic polling and downloads of new forecast data are temporarily suspended when working from within HURREVAC's Archive tab.
  10. The latest Storm Surge Inundation Risk Maps from Hurricane Evacuation Studies have been added for Texas, North Carolina, and Virginia.