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If a hurricane is closing in on your neighborhood, the National Weather Service wants you to know what you will likely face.

So it is creating an interactive map on its homepage to tell you how your home in any particular storm could be affected by strong winds, torrential rains, storm surge or flooding.

"It communicates the local threat of each hurricane hazard," Pablo Santos, meteorologist in charge of the weather service's Miami office, said Tuesday. "It's meant to be realistic in terms of what to prepare for."

While the goal is to have it up and running by the June 1 start of hurricane season, Santos said it is still "under construction" and may not be available until the heart of the season in mid-August, or possibly even next year.

Linked with the National Hurricane Center's latest advisories, it would be updated every six hours, Santos said.

You would click on your area of the interactive map and a box will pop up with relevant information. It will depict the level of threat by way of colors, with yellow meaning an elevated level of threat; orange, a moderate level; red, high; and purple, for an extreme level of threat.

And it will take into account the uncertainty in tropical forecasts, meaning that if a storm is predicted to hit Miami within 48 hours, it could easily jog toward Fort Lauderdale, Santos said.

The new map will be displayed only when a tropical storm or hurricane watch or warning has been issued. It will be available at

Formally called the "Hurricane Threats and Impacts Graphic," it was introduced to meteorologists, emergency managers and the media during a weather service workshop Tuesday.

"The public says, what should we prepare for? This will tell them," Santos said.

From our media partner Sun Sentinel