NHC and CPHC issue the Tropical Cyclone Forecast/Advisory (TCM) product for active tropical cyclones. This product is the vehicle for providing the tropical cyclone analysis and forecast to users. The TCM is issued every six hours at 0300, 0900, 1500, and 2100 UTC. The TCM contains a list of all current coastal watches and warnings for an ongoing or potential tropical or subtropical cyclone, as well as the current storm latitude and longitude coordinates, intensity, and directional motion. The advisory also contains forecasts of the cyclone positions, intensities, track and wind fields for 12, 24, 36, 48, 72, 96, and 120 hours from the forecast’s nominal initial time.
The TCM is used by a variety of NWS partners, including the media, weather software designers, mariners, and public safety officials such as emergency managers and the Department of Defense, to make the decisions necessary to prepare for a tropical cyclone. These partners receive the information provided in the TCM through the web, RSS feeds, FTP, the NWS Gateway, and satellite dissemination services.
The NWS Tropical Services Program worked with NHC and CPHC along with NWS social scientists and NOAA Public Affairs to develop a survey for NWS partners to evaluate the possible impacts of proposed changes to the TCM format. This survey was voluntary and distributed through multiple email partner list. The survey results will be broken down into three primary user groups: (1) users who communicate the information from the TCM product directly to the public, (2) end users who read the TCM text file directly, and (3) those who repackage the information from the TCM primarily through parsing. While the results alone will not be used to premise any changes to products and services, they will inform the NWS on the potential impacts that certain proposed changes may have on the utility of the TCM product for users.