Feds' warnings about Sandy were confusing

May 15, 2013, 2:09 PM EDT
REUTERS/Tom Mihalek

WASHINGTON (AP) — An internal review says federal weather forecasts for Superstorm Sandy were exceptionally accurate last fall. But the warnings themselves were confusing.

The gigantic October storm lost tropical characteristics hours before landfall in New Jersey, so the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration dropped the hurricane warnings. Instead it shifted to flooding and high wind warnings. NOAA's self-assessment said that led to confusion by the public and the media, a complaint made by independent meteorologists.

The 66-page report uses the word "confusion" 88 times. It says future hurricane warnings should continue even when a storm changes from hurricane to a post-tropical cyclone.

The report says the biggest problem was warning of the massive storm surge. Nearly 4 out of 5 coastal residents surveyed said Sandy's storm surge was higher than they expected.