Tropical Prediction Center/
National Hurricane Center
Miami, Florida

Perhaps one of the most exciting trips of my professional career was my visit to the Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurricane Center located in Miami, Florida.  The tour was one of many our group (American Meteorological Society Education Program) took during our week-long stay in Miami.

The Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurricane Center is now located in a new building on the campus of Florida International University in Miami.  The former location was across the street from the University of Miami in Coral Gables.  The Tropical Prediction Center (TPC) is composed of three branches:  The National Hurricane Center (NHC), the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB), and the Technical Support Branch (TSB).

The NHC maintains a continuous watch on tropical cyclones from 15 May in the eastern Pacific and 1 June in the Atlantic through November 30.  The center prepares and issues forecasts, watches, and warnings within text advisories and geographical products.  During the "off-season", the NHC conducts an extensive outreach and education program, training U.S. emergency managers, and representatives from many other contries affected by tropical cyclones.

The TAFB provides year-round marine weather analysis and forecast products over the tropical and subtropical waters of the eastern North and South Pacific and the North Atlantic basin.  The branch also produces satellite-based weather interpretation and rainfall estimates for the international community.  The TAFB provides support to the NHC through manpower and tropical cyclone position and intensity estimates based on the Dvorak technique.

The TSB provides support for TPC computer and communications systems.  The TSB also maintains a small applied research and techniques development unit which develops tools for hurricane and tropical weather analysis and prediction.  TSB also has a storm surge group which provides information for developing evacuation procedures for coastal areas.

Finally, just around the corner is the Miami office of the National Weather Service - all in one building.  (Source: )

Current TPC/NHC Director Max Mayfield gave our group a very intriguing presentation on the upcoming hurricane season predictions.  He agreed with other tropical forecasters that this season will be above average for tropical systems.  Whether or not these systems will directly affect the United States is in question since that variable cannot be accurately forecast.

Below are photographs of the facilities and a few other sights in the south Florida area!  The phrase "Like kids in a candy store", does absolutely no justice when us "weather weenies" were turned loose in the Hurricane Center!

Director Max Mayfield giving a presentation on this year's

Hurricane specialist Dr. Lixion Avila provided a wonderful tour
of the Hurricane Center

Dr. Avila showing the phone hotlines to various agencies

The large wall map is used for plotting each season's storms

Computers are used for information gathering and forecasting

Mike Ridgeway at the podium in the media room

The TAFB office

TAFB forecaster analyzing a storm in the eastern Pacific

Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch

"The Map"

Front desk used for media presentations by forecasters

Dr. Avila analyzing visible satellite imagery of Africa

The Miami National Weather Service Forecast Office

KD5MWL at the controls of WX4MIA

KD5MWL at the WX4NHC amateur radio station

Satellite loop of Hurricane Isisore

Mike Ridgeway (left) and Don Wheeler (right)  with National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield (center)
(We're Not Worthy!!!!)

The "Rat Pack" at Jimmy Buffet's "Margaritaville" having
a "Cheeseburger in Paradise"

Working off lunch under the palm trees on the Miami Campus

OK, we had to have a little leisure time!