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US to alter tropical storm warnings

MIAMI — Responding to criticism after Hurricane Sandy, the National Hurricane Center said Thursday that it would change the way it warns people about tropical storms that morph into something else.

At the height of Sandy, as the hurricane knocked on the Northeast coast, forecasters at the center stopped issuing advisories and warnings because the storm merged with two cold-weather systems, lost its tropical characteristics, and mutated into a hybrid.

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Sandy lost the hurricane part of its name and the prestige that comes with the hurricane center’s constant attention and reliable forecasts, and some people said that caused Northeast residents to underestimate its danger.

Under the new policy, the hurricane center in Miami will continue to put out warnings and advisories if a storm threatens people and land, even if a hurricane or tropical storm becomes something different.

From Maryland to New Hampshire, the hurricane center attributed 72 deaths in the United States directly to Sandy, though some estimates were higher.

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