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National Weather Service

National Hurricane Center


The National Ocean Service: Responding to Hurricanes



NOS Online Hurricane Tools

The National Ocean Service maintains a wide range of online tools to monitor hurricanes and deliver relevant data before, during, and after a storm. These tools are described below.

satellite image of Hurricane Irene

Water-level Monitoring

Storm QuickLook
The NOAA Storm QuickLook product provides a synopsis of near real-time ocean and weather observations at specific water-level gauge locations affected by a tropical storm. The tool is initiated when the National Hurricane Center issues a tropical storm warning for the U.S. or its island territories.

National Water Level Observation Network Real-time Data
Tide and weather observations are available in real-time at the more than 200 National Water Level Observation Network observation platforms located throughout the U.S., Pacific Islands, and Caribbean. Data from these platforms is used by the National Weather Service to improve/validate hurricane and storm surge forecasts and by emergency managers and the general public to inform evacuation and other safety and property decisions. 

Sea Levels Online
This website provides trends for sea level rise, calculated using data collected at National Water Level Observation Network tide stations for more than 150 years. By combining local rates of relative sea level change for a specific area based on observations with projections of global sea level rise, coastal managers and engineers can begin to analyze and plan for the impacts of sea level rise for long-range planning.

Tidal Datums
This website provides tidal datums, which are standard elevations defined by a certain phase of the tide, for stations around the United States. Tidal datums are used as references to measure local water levels and are also the basis for establishing a range of geographical boundaries.

NOAA Tide Predictions
The NOAA Tide Predictions application provides astronomical tide prediction tables for the calendar year at water-level stations around the U.S., searchable by name, station ID, or latitude/longitude.

Observing Systems

Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS®)
Located in 18 ports around the U.S., this system measures and disseminates real-time observations and predictions of water levels, currents, salinity, and meteorological parameters (e.g., winds, atmospheric pressure, and air and water temperatures) needed for safe navigation.

Operational Forecast Systems
NOS operates hydrodynamic coastal oceanographic models that provide near-term forecasts of water levels, currents, salinity, and water temperature for a limited number of ports and estuaries in the United States.  Originally developed to support marine navigation, these models have shown applicability to forecast water levels and currents during tropical events.  At the present time, these models cover only New York Harbor, Delaware Bay, Chesapeake Bay, Tampa, the western Gulf of Mexico, Columbia River, and the Great Lakes.

Integrated Ocean Observing System
The Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®) website provides links to regional IOOS websites where users can access ocean and coastal data and information before, during, and after hurricanes and other disasters.  On a case-by-case basis, the IOOS regions coordinate to bring together their online resources to serve decision making that aids our nation’s safety, economy, and environment.

Post-storm Imagery

Emergency Response Imagery
The Emergency Response Imagery website provides access to aerial imagery such as photographs collected by NOAA aircraft following natural or human-made disasters. Full-size images are available for download.

Emergency Response Imagery Mobile Web Application
This mobile application allows emergency responders and the public to quickly access images of disaster-impacted areas collected by NOAA aircraft using an iOS or Android mobile device or with the latest version of Google Chrome on a desktop computer. Note that the application is still in prototype phase.

Long-term Planning Tools

Historical Hurricane Tracks
The Historical Hurricane Tracks tool allows users to track local historical storm activity, review specific storm tracks, and obtain information about a particular storm's landfall. NOAA's Historical Hurricane Tracks website and mapping application generates customized, downloadable maps based on more than 150 years of Atlantic hurricane data.

CZMA Climate Change and Coastal Hazards E-News Update
The Coastal Zone Management Act Climate Change and Coastal Hazards E-News Update provides information about NOAA and other agency initiatives, funding opportunities, publications and websites, tools and projects, and more to help keep state and territory coastal program managers informed about climate change (as it pertains to coastal hazards) and coastal hazards activities.