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NHC Visitor Information

The National Hurricane Center is co-located with the Miami National Weather Service Forecast Office on the main campus of Florida International University at 11691 S.W. 17th Street, Miami, Florida. This location is about 12 miles west of downtown Miami and 8 miles southwest of Miami International Airport.

Visitor parking is available near the main entrance on the south side of the Center, which faces S.W. 17th Street. Visitors attending events in the Media/Seminar Room will find it near the main entrance in Room 148. The Director's Office, the Administrative Office, and Public Affairs may all be reached by calling (305) 229-4470.

Tours of the Center

Public tours of the NHC are available January through mid-May, outside of the hurricane season for the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific, by prior appointment.

Tour Information

  • WHO: The general public is invited to tour the National Hurricane Center and Miami National Weather Service Forecast Office by prior appointment only. There is no charge for the tour. Tour groups can not exceed 15 in number, as parts of the building are just too small to comfortably or safely accommodate larger numbers. Students should be at least 12 years old. Foreign nationals must provide information for security clearance at least one month in advance.

  • WHAT: A tour includes a briefing on the causes and effects of hurricanes; how our organization, technology and procedures work; and a walkabout the facility. The tour/briefing takes about 40 minutes. Given security requirements following September 11, 2001, all items brought into the building are subject to search.

  • WHERE: Travel directions to NHC may be found on our web site at:

  • WHEN: We will conduct tours in 2008 from January 29th through May 8th (hurricane off-season) on Tuesdays and Thursdays between the hours of 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM. Sometimes weather, or conflicting mission requirements, or security threat condition "Orange" or higher will cause us to cancel or abbreviate a tour. If cancellation is necessary, we will call you. We suggest that you contact us after December 1st to determine which Tuesdays and Thursdays are available during our upcoming scheduled tours, and make an appointment.

  • WHY: The tours are conducted as part of the National Weather Service's program of public outreach and education.

  • HOW: You may make an appointment by contacting our Public Affairs Office:

    NHC Public Affairs
    Telephone: (305) 229-4404
    E-mail address:

Dining Facilities

There are several places to eat within a mile of the Center which are open during the day and evening. While the FIU cafeteria and other food concessions are available to the staff, they are difficult to reach in a timely manner. Fast food and small restaurants can be found in shopping centers around FIU, but are best reached by car. Most shift workers and many day workers bring their lunch and use the microwave at the office. Vending machines are also available.

Transient and Permanent Living Accommodations

The closest hotel to the NHC is the new Comfort Suites located less than two miles from the Center. There are several other hotels which are adjacent to expressways which lead to an exit nearby the Center: Amerisuites, Wellesley Inn (Kendall), Fairfield Inn by Marriott, Best Western Kendall Hotel and Suites and Marriott Residence Inn.

The National Hurricane Center is in the middle of a large expanse of middle-class suburbs. Apartments, condominiums, townhouses and homes are all available, although the quality of the neighborhoods may vary. Local expressways also provide routes from communities to the north, east, and south. Commutes from these areas can range from 20 minutes to an hour.

Local Transportation

Miami-Dade County has both an extensive county-wide bus system and a Metrorail system. The Metrorail, unfortunately, does not service the FIU area, so the only public transportation to the National Hurricane Center is by bus. Because of limited hours of bus service, extensive time involved in travel to or from most sections, and a lack of bus service to some areas, a personally owned vehicle is a necessity.

Fortunately, the Center is conveniently located near the intersection of the Florida Turnpike (821) with the Dolphin Expressway (836), which allow easy access by car (see map). Transient visitors will find offices of many major auto rental agencies at the Miami International Airport.


Florida state sales tax is 6% (7% in Miami-Dade). There is no state income tax. Property tax rates are assessed on 80% of the market value.

Community Description

The Greater Miami area, which includes Miami-Dade and Broward (Fort Lauderdale) counties, has over 3.5 million people of diverse cultures. The area has all of the benefits and detractions of a large metropolitan area. Shopping is plentiful, access to a full range of watersports is available, and there are a number of local tourist attractions. Visitors will find that professional football, baseball, hockey, and basketball teams are all located in the Miami area.

The secondary school system in Florida is not very highly rated, although there are numerous high-quality private schools at all levels. Major colleges and universities include: Florida International University (2 campuses), University of Miami, Barry University, St. Thomas University, and Miami Dade College (6 campuses). Available employment in the area is mostly service oriented, although there are exceptions.


Miami has a monsoon-type weather regime with the winters being dry and cool and the summers wet and warm. In most years, the occurrence of precipitation from mid-November to mid-May is infrequent and brief. The exception is during El Nino years when winter and spring months tend to have much above normal rainfall and slightly cooler than normal temperatures. Cold winter days in Miami are those with minimums in the 30s and 40s and maximums in the 50s and lower 60s. Frosts and freezes are rare, but do occur. However, because of the winds blowing over the warm Gulfstream just offshore, within two or three days after cold frontal passages, warmups are usually rapid with minimums in the 60s and maximums in the 70s common in the wintertime.

During the rest of the year, frequent shower and thunderstorm activity occurs with rather heavy rainfall. Summertime minimums seldom fall below 70 degrees with afternoon highs near 90. However, a seabreeze in mid to late afternoon on most days usually lowers the temperature to the mid-80's. Miami has the highest frequency of hurricane force winds in the U.S. Detailed climatological data can be found at the Miami National Weather Service Forecast Office.

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Page last modified: Monday, 19-May-2008 17:16:31 GMT