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Date of Issue: November 11, 2009

Hurricane center seek votes on advisories

America votes for idols and dancers, chefs and models.

Now the National Hurricane Center wants America to vote for the top tropical storm advisory format.

Officials at the NHC said they want the storm reports to be easier to read.

Advisories provide positions of tropical depressions, named storms and hurricanes, as well as include details about the strength and possible directions of a storm.

The hurricane center recently posted examples of new advisories — for old storms — at www.nhc.noaa.gov/feedback_tcp.shtml in order for people to comment.

In the new advisories, the NHC groups watches and warnings separately from forecast summaries.

“Users have expressed difficulty in finding pertinent warning, storm and impact information in the public advisory, especially when there is a significant amount of information to convey,” the NHC stated. “The need for a format that separates certain sections of the advisory is most evident when a tropical storm or hurricane is close to making landfall.

“NHC proposes changes to the basic format of the public advisory, including changes to the storm information summary, adding section headers, and providing more structure to the watches and warnings section.”

As the hurricane center collected votes on the formats last week, storm trackers were following Ida, which hit Nicaragua as a Category 1 hurricane Nov. 5, destroying dozens of homes and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people.

By Nov. 9, the storm had weakened but still had the potential to strengthen to a hurricane as it crossed the Gulf of Mexico and threatened the U.S. coast.

A track from the hurricane center showed the storm making landfall Nov. 10, prompting hurricane warnings from Pascagoula, Miss., east to Indian Pass, Fla.

Ida is the ninth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which ends Nov. 30.