Hurricane season, which began June 1, is in its peak time
1. In 1898, President William McKinley ordered the Weather Bureau, now called the National Weather Service, to establish a hurricane warning network.
2. It was officially designated the National Hurricane Center in 1966.
3. Today, it's the main forecast center for storms that originate over the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and part of the northeastern Pacific Ocean.
4. The center is located at Florida International University in Miami and is designed to withstand up to 130-mph winds without damage.
5. The center began naming tropical storms and hurricanes in 1950, but some forecasters in the 19th century were informally naming storms.
6. The World Meteorological Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations, selects the hurricane names and maintains an annual list. The organization alternates men's and women's names in English, Spanish, and French in alphabetical order. Names are used on a six-year rotation, and the most devastating storms have their names retired.
7. The National Hurricane Center issues a watch for areas where a hurricane could hit in about 36 hours or less.
8. When winds of 74 mph are expected in 24 hours or less, the center issues a hurricane warning.
9. Bill Read, a longtime meteorologist from Texas, is currently the director of the National Hurricane Center.
10. The center cites the Galveston hurricane in 1900 as the deadliest weather disaster in U.S. history. An estimated 8,000 people died in the storm.
- National Weather Service, Miami - South Florida Forecast Office
- National Hurricane Center
- Encarta Online Encyclopedia