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NOAA’s updated Atlantic hurricane season outlook calls for an increased chance of a below-normal season…

Aug 11, 2014

Tags:Dr. Grey,Dr. Klotzbach,Earthquake,East Pacific,El Nino,Hurricane Irene,Hurricane Outlook,Hurricane Prediction,Hurricane Season 2011,Hurricane Season 2012,HUrricane Season Update,La Nina,Meteorology,Polar Vortex,Tropical,Tropics,Weather,Winter

2014 Atlantic hurricane outlook Update. (Credit:NOAA)

2014 Atlantic hurricane outlook Update. (Credit:NOAA)

Forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center raised the likelihood for a below-normal season in today’s update to the Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook. The update predicts a 70 percent chance of a below-normal season, a 25 percent chance of a near-normal season and only a five percent chance of an above-normal season. The probabilities in the initial outlook issued on May 22 were 50 percent, 40 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

The primary factors influencing the increased chance of a below-normal season are:

Overall atmospheric conditions are not favorable for storm development. This includes strong vertical wind shear, a weaker West African monsoon, and the combination of increased atmospheric stability and sinking motion. These conditions mean fewer tropical systems are spawned off the African coast, and those that do form are less likely to become hurricanes. These conditions are stronger than originally predicted in May and are expected to last Mid-August through October, the peak months of the hurricane season;

Overall oceanic conditions are not favorable for storm development. This includes below-average temperatures across the Tropical Atlantic, which are exceptionally cool relative to the remainder of the global Tropics. This cooling is even stronger than models predicted in May and is expected to persist through the hurricane season; and

El Niño is still likely to develop and to suppress storm development by increasing vertical wind shear, stability and sinking motion in the atmosphere.

The updated hurricane season outlook, which includes the activity to-date of hurricanes Arthur and Bertha, predicts a 70 percent chance of the following ranges: 7 to 12 named storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher), of which 0 to 2 could become major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, 5; winds of at least 111 mph).

These ranges are centered below the 30-year seasonal averages of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. The initial outlook in May predicted 8 to 13 named storms, 3 to 6 hurricanes and 1 to 2 major hurricanes.

The Atlantic hurricane region comprises the North Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. NOAA’s seasonal hurricane outlook is not a hurricane landfall forecast; it does not predict how many storms will hit land or where a storm will strike. Forecasts for individual storms and their impacts will be provided throughout the season by NOAA’s National Hurricane Center.

The Climate Prediction Center also continued the El Niño watch today in its scheduled monthly El Niño/Southern Oscillation Diagnostic Discussion. Forecasters note that although sea surface temperatures across the central equatorial Pacific have recently returned to near average, this cooling is expected to be temporary. El Niño is now favored to emerge during August-October, and to peak at weak strength during the late fall and early winter. The likelihood of El Niño during August-October has decreased to 55 percent (from 75 percent in May), and its likelihood during the fall and winter has decreased to about 65 percent (from near 80 percent).

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Hurricane Season begins today (June 1st)

Sep 01, 2012

Tags:Dr. Grey,Dr. Klotzbach,Earthquake,East Pacific,El Nino,Hurricane Irene,Hurricane Outlook,Hurricane Prediction,Hurricane Season 2011,Hurricane Season 2012,HUrricane Season Update,La Nina,Meteorology,Polar Vortex,Tropical,Tropics,Weather,Winter

The 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season (and East Pacific) begins today, June 1st 2012. Interestingly we have already seen two named systems, and one landfall in the Atlantic basin prior to this official beginning. It will be interesting to see what lies ahead.

Dr. Gray, famous for seasonal hurricane prediction, expects 13 total named storms, 5 hurricanes, 2 being major storms. This is only a slight tick above a normal year. This forecast, however, does not indicate how many will make landfall. With that said odds o a major storm impacting land are pegged at 28% for the Gulf and East Coasts and 39% in the Caribbean.

Remember it only takes 1 storm to have a significant impact. If you live in a hurricane prone area it is a good time to take a look at your preparedness plan. Check with local authorities for hazards specific to your location. Stay safe and enjoy the summer!

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6/25/2012 – Debby Continues To Plague FL

Aug 25, 2012

Tags:Dr. Grey,Dr. Klotzbach,Earthquake,East Pacific,El Nino,Hurricane Irene,Hurricane Outlook,Hurricane Prediction,Hurricane Season 2011,Hurricane Season 2012,HUrricane Season Update,La Nina,Meteorology,Polar Vortex,Tropical,Tropics,Weather,Winter

Debby continues to meander in the northeastern Gulf Of Mexico and plague the FL Panhandle and Peninsula. As expected it has also been a nightmare for forecasters with weak steering currents aloft leaving a vast array of computer guidance solutions.

The storm has been losing strength this morning due to dry air intrusion and upwelling of cooler waters, as it has been spinning nearly stationary over the same area for days. The new forecast slowly brings it in across the northern FL Peninsula in a weakened state (perhaps as a depression). Regardless of classification the threat for very heavy rainfall and flooding continues, along with tornadoes over the FL Peninsula.  The exact track of the storm center is of little consequence at this point as most of the weather is well to the east of it.

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6/24/2012: Tropical Storm Debby is a Debby Downer for forecasters..

Aug 24, 2012

Tags:Dr. Grey,Dr. Klotzbach,Earthquake,East Pacific,El Nino,Hurricane Irene,Hurricane Outlook,Hurricane Prediction,Hurricane Season 2011,Hurricane Season 2012,HUrricane Season Update,La Nina,Meteorology,Polar Vortex,Tropical,Tropics,Weather,Winter

Tropical Storm Debby continues to churn in the Gulf and has picked up some intensity this morning with max sustained winds up to 60 mph. Wind shear has continued to keep the worst conditions north and east of the center, and FL has been feeling some of these impacts. The system continues a slow northward drift toward the FL Panhandle making forecasters nervous.

With the above in mind the worst aspect of this storm is low forecast confidence. Debby is a Debby downer in this regard as preparation and decision making time may be severely limited, ahead of tropical storm conditions, especially in the FL panhandle if the northward movement continues. Tropical Storm warnings have been expanded east into FL and major shifts in the NHC forecast track can’t be ruled out. Their current forecast takes the storm west toward TX.

The reason for the low confidence is the storm is in a position where it could slip between two ridges of high pressure and move northeast across FL. It may also slip more westward (in line with this mornings NHC forecasts) if a ridge over the Plains builds far enough to the southeast and does not allow the storm to pass through the weakness. Stay tuned and if you have interests along the Gulf Coast please continue to monitor this system closely!

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Comments on Tropical Cyclone Model Forecasts

Aug 14, 2012

Tags:Dr. Grey,Dr. Klotzbach,Earthquake,East Pacific,El Nino,Hurricane Irene,Hurricane Outlook,Hurricane Prediction,Hurricane Season 2011,Hurricane Season 2012,HUrricane Season Update,La Nina,Meteorology,Polar Vortex,Tropical,Tropics,Weather,Winter

In the last few years, it has become easy to view on the Internet the forecast tracks of tropical cyclones produced by the various numerical computer models that simulate the atmosphere.  Early Alert provides some of these forecasts as part of its graphics display (example below)

Models

Some may ask why there are so many models used to forecast tropical cyclones, which can be confusing at times.   Why don’t we just use the model that produces the best forecasts?  The simple answer is there is no one perfect model of the atmosphere.  The interaction between tropical cyclones and their surrounding environment is very complex and often occurs in areas with few direct measurements of the air from within and just outside the storm.  Some models will produce better forecasts than the others depending on their strength, size, shape, location or time of year.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center are aware of these specific characteristics of the models and will weigh one model’s forecast over another depending on the situation, then produce the “official” forecast based on this expertise.

These models have been developed by various scientific establishments in the United States and other countries.  The models are continually being refined and upgraded based on the priorities and resources of the individual developers.  These types of models are known as Global Circulation Models (GCMs), which simulate the behavior of the atmosphere around the world.  Examples of GCMs include the GFS from the NOAA/NWS Center for Environmental Prediction, GFDL from the NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab, NOGAPS from the US Navy, the ECMWF from Europe, CMC/GEM from Canada, and UKMET from the UK.

As noted above, there are different characteristics of each model pertaining to the tropical cyclone forecasts.  These global circulation models are not set in stone, but typically undergo changes to incorporate the latest improvements in science and computer technology.  Therefore, notions of how one model performed over another will not necessarily apply from one year to the next.

Currently, the GCMs most heavily weighted by meteorologists for predictions of tropical cyclones tend to be the GFS and the ECMWF.  In May of this year, a major change to the way data from tropical cyclones is handled by the GFS model was executed.  This appears to have greatly improved the forecast tracks as demonstrated in the cases of Debby and Ernesto.

Again, even though one model shows superior performance over another in one or two instances that may not always be the case.  Know that forecasters at the National Hurricane Center are most knowledgeable in model characteristics and any recent changes to model performance.  The official NHC forecast highlighted in Early Alert graphics is the one on which plans should be made.  But if you are in the habit of checking the various forecast tracks on the Internet, and want to acquire your own sense of confidence in what is happening, look for trends in the entire set of forecast tracks.  If the tracks are clustering closer together, your confidence in the forecast should be higher.  If the tracks are spread apart, your confidence level should be lower.  Also, a general shift in the entire cluster of forecast tracks should give you a better sense of and impending change with the projected track of the storm.

RFG

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5/25/2012 Tropical Update – Bud weakening but expected to make landfall, Eyes on the Atlantic for the weekend

May 25, 2012

Tags:Dr. Grey,Dr. Klotzbach,Earthquake,East Pacific,El Nino,Hurricane Irene,Hurricane Outlook,Hurricane Prediction,Hurricane Season 2011,Hurricane Season 2012,HUrricane Season Update,La Nina,Meteorology,Polar Vortex,Tropical,Tropics,Weather,Winter

Hurricane Bud briefly underwent rapid intensification to a category 3 with 115 mph max sustained winds. This however didn’t last long as the storm is now interacting with land and cooler waters. Bud is back down to a category 1 with 80 mph max sustained winds as it begins to near the MX coast as of  11am PDT. It is becoming apparent that the likely greatest concern will be inland flooding and mudslides as torrential rains drench elevated terrain. The storm will then rapidly dissipate over the weekend.

In the Atlantic all eyes are on Invest 94L northwest of the Bahamas as it stands a good chance of developing into a tropical system. It is certainly not what Memorial Day weekend travelers would like to see, but it is a possibility. Chances stand at 70% within the next 48 hours. If this storm does develop it could bring soaking rains to GA and SC. Stay tuned!

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Morning Tropical Udate – 5/23/2012 – Alberto no longer tropical, Watching Bud

May 23, 2012

Tags:Dr. Grey,Dr. Klotzbach,Earthquake,East Pacific,El Nino,Hurricane Irene,Hurricane Outlook,Hurricane Prediction,Hurricane Season 2011,Hurricane Season 2012,HUrricane Season Update,La Nina,Meteorology,Polar Vortex,Tropical,Tropics,Weather,Winter

Alberto has become a post-tropical remnant low well off the Eastern Seaboard. The system no longer has warm core tropical characteristics. The basin has fallen quiet once again.

In the East Pacific Bud continues northwestward and is expected to turn more northerly over the next couple of days. Forecasts no longer call for the system to reach hurricane strength. Considerable uncertainty remains as the storm approaches the MX at the end of this week. The upper level steering winds may keep the system from making landfall all together. It may stall or retrograde away from the coast. All interests along the MX Pacific Coast should continue to monitor the progress of Bud.

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Morning Tropical Update 5/22/2012 – Alberto weakens, Watching Bud in the Pacific

May 22, 2012

Tags:Dr. Grey,Dr. Klotzbach,Earthquake,East Pacific,El Nino,Hurricane Irene,Hurricane Outlook,Hurricane Prediction,Hurricane Season 2011,Hurricane Season 2012,HUrricane Season Update,La Nina,Meteorology,Polar Vortex,Tropical,Tropics,Weather,Winter

Alberto has weakened this morning to a depression in the Atlantic due to colder water temps and unfavorable upper level conditions. This system is no longer any threat to land and will likely dissipate as it moves northeastward out to sea.

In the Eastern Pacific Tropical Storm Bud has emerged and will likely turn northward towards the Mexican Coast. There is some considerable uncertainty as to exact timing of a landfall but it is possible this weekend. Bud may reach hurricane strength and interests along the MX Pacific Coast need to monitor this system this week.

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Tropics: 5/20 Morning Update – Alberto lingers off SC

May 20, 2012

Tags:Dr. Grey,Dr. Klotzbach,Earthquake,East Pacific,El Nino,Hurricane Irene,Hurricane Outlook,Hurricane Prediction,Hurricane Season 2011,Hurricane Season 2012,HUrricane Season Update,La Nina,Meteorology,Polar Vortex,Tropical,Tropics,Weather,Winter

As of this morning Alberto remains a tropical storm and is drifting slowly west-southwestward off the coast of South Carolina. At this time a direct landfall is not expected but some gusty winds and rain may impact the shore areas there. There is a tropical storm watch along the SC coast and it is possible some tropical storm conditions may reach the beaches later today or on Monday. Little change in strength is forecast during this time. Alberto is not forecast to make actual landfall and, after a southwestward drift today, it is likely going to turn northeastward and accelerate out to sea.

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Tropical Storm Alberto forms off the Carolinas! Earliest storm since 2003.

May 19, 2012

Tags:Dr. Grey,Dr. Klotzbach,Earthquake,East Pacific,El Nino,Hurricane Irene,Hurricane Outlook,Hurricane Prediction,Hurricane Season 2011,Hurricane Season 2012,HUrricane Season Update,La Nina,Meteorology,Polar Vortex,Tropical,Tropics,Weather,Winter

As of 5pm EDT on 5/19/2012 Tropical Storm Alberto has developed with max sustained winds of 45 mph. Forecast uncertainties remain due to weak steering flow in the upper atmosphere. This may warrant tropical storm watches tonight for the Carolinas as it is not far off shore and could threaten the coast. At this time some modest strengthening is possible.

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