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Initial 2015 Hurricane Seasonal Outlook

Apr 20, 2015

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

Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast (April 2015)

Colorado State University (CSU) Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast

Dr. Philip Klotzbach and Dr. William Gray of Colorado State University (CSU) have issued their April forecast for the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

Their forecast calls for 7 named storms, 3 hurricanes and 1 major (Category 3+) hurricanes between the months of June and November. This is the lowest number of storms that CSU has projected in a seasonal forecast since they began publicly releasing in 1984.

With the release of their forecast, CSU is predicting below-average tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic Basin during the upcoming 2015 season.

The report cites several factors as to why lessened activity is being forecast.

  • One such main factor is that a weak El Niño phase of ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) is currently underway, and it is expected to continue intensifying into a moderate-strength event as we enter the August-October time frame.

- The primary reasoning for this is the expectation that strengthening westerly wind bursts will push a Kelvin wave into the eastern and central tropical Pacific. Kelvin waves transport warm water from the western tropical Pacific to the eastern and central tropical Pacific.

- In the ongoing scenario, it is expected to enhance the current El Niño. The statistical and dynamical forecast models maintain a fairly wide range of outcomes, but CSU is putting more credence into the historically well performing ECMWF model that suggests a more robust El Niño.

  • A second factor revolves around current sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic, North Atlantic and off the US East Coast.

- Temperatures in the tropical Atlantic significantly cooled during the winter of 2014/2015. Plus, the current sea surface temperature pattern looks more in line with a negative Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation (AMO) pattern.

- Much of this can be attributed to a positive phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) has led to anomalously strong trade winds across the tropical Atlantic, which promotes mixing and the upwelling of cold water.

The information below shows the CSU forecast, including probabilities of landfall on the United States mainland.

The full report is available at CSU’s Tropical Meteorology webpage (http://tropical.atmos.colostate.edu). The next forecast update is expected Monday June 1, 2015.

CSU Major Hurricane Landfall Probabilities                                                                          (June 1 – November 30)

Forecast Parameter                                              Average Year                           2015 (April 2015)

Entire U.S. Coastline                                                 52%                                                    28%
U.S. East Coast (including FL Peninsula)                     31%                                                    15%
U.S. Gulf Coast (FL Panhandle to Brownsville, TX)       30%                                                   15%

      Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast

Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) has also issued its April forecast for the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season. TSR’s Professor Mark Saunders and Dr. Adam Lea are forecasting 11 named storms, 5 hurricanes and 2 major (Category 3+)
hurricanes between the months of June and November in 2015. The projected activity is expected to be 45% below the longrange norm since 1950, but 50% below the more recent 2005-2014 norm.

The report specifies two primary factors as to why a below normal hurricane season has been forecast.

The main reason is that the sea surface temperatures across the tropical North Atlantic and Caribbean Sea during the peak development months of August and September are now expected to be cooler than normal. It is also cooler than previously expected.

Second, current projections indicate that trade winds over the same regions will be stronger than earlier anticipated. These stronger winds will potentially help suppress cyclogenesis.

  • However, the TSR July-September trade wind prediction is based on an expectation that neutral ENSO conditions will be occurring in August-September, which differs from the current modeled consensus ENSO outlook that El Niño will be ongoing from the International Research Institute.
  • TSR stresses that uncertainties in 2015 trade wind speeds at this extended lead time are large given unknowns
    surrounding ENSO and future sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic and Caribbean Sea.

The report indicates that should the 2015 forecast verify, it could signal that 2013-2015 was the lowest three-year ACE Index total since 1992-1994, and could imply that the active phase of Atlantic hurricane activity that began in 1995 has likely ended. Great uncertainty remains, however.

Drs. Saunders and Lea currently project that there is a 13% probability that the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season ACE Index will be above-average, a 27% likelihood it will be near-normal, and a 60% chance it will be below-normal. The Accumulated Cyclone Energy Index is equal to the sum of the squares of 6-hourly maximum sustained wind speeds (in knots) for all systems while they are at least tropical storm strength. The ACE Landfall Index is the sum of the squares of hourly maximum sustained wind speeds (in knots) for all systems while they are at least tropical storm strength and over the United States mainland (reduced by a factor of 6).

The information below shows the TSR forecast and the range of uncertainty that surrounds the forecast. The full report is available at TSR’s webpage (http://tropicalstormrisk.com). The next forecast update is expected in early June 2015.

Copyright © 2015, All Rights Reserved Early Alert, Inc.

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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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UNSEASONABLE COOL DOWN FORECASTED NEXT WEEK!

Jul 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

A chilly air mass is headed for parts of the northern, central and northeastern U.S at the height of summer early next week. Although the pattern bears a familiar resemblance to January’s brutally cold weather pattern, this deep pool of cool air is actually from the Gulf of Alaska, not necessarily the “Polar Vortex” we saw throughout the winter. There are many similarities though, so don’t be surprised as the news of this cool weather is reported next week and the “Polar Vortex” rears its ugly head. Several National Weather Offices, including State College, are already mentioning the term.

NOAA 6-10 Day Temperature Outlook

In parts of the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest many will need a jacket as highs are expected to remain in the 50s and 60s,  especially where there is considerable cloud cover.

Although the forecast calls for a cool down in the central U.S., this air mass should modify (warm) before it reaches the northeast. Regardless, below normal temperatures are expected to spread eastward and temperatures will range from 10 to as much as 20 degrees below normal. In fact, Wednesday morning’s lows could dip into the 40s in many parts of the Midwest.  Not your typical July weather!

So, the big question is why do we have the potential to set new record lows in the middle of summer? Part of the reason is chance, however, as Dr. Jeff Masters explains in his blog on Weather Underground, Japan’s typhoon Neoguri is playing a big role in the evolving pattern:

“….the large and powerful nature of this storm has set in motion a chain-reaction set of events that will dramatically alter the path of the jet stream and affect weather patterns across the entire Northern Hemisphere next week. Neoguri will cause an acceleration of the North Pacific jet stream, causing a large amount of warm, moist tropical air to push over the North Pacific. This will amplify a trough low pressure over Alaska, causing a ripple effect in the jet stream over western North America, where a strong ridge of high pressure will develop, and over the Midwestern U.S., where a strong trough of low pressure will form.”

What is most interesting about the pattern is not so much the forecast temperatures, but the similarities in the weather patterns seen over North America last winter that we are again seeing this summer. Many features are still prevalent in mid-July with low pressure over the Aleutians, a blocking hot ridge over the western U.S., a large cold low over the Great Lakes and a ridge over northeast Canada.

As we all know, weather patterns are cyclic so even though it is the same pattern we have seen since the winter things will eventually change.  Especially with El Nino forecast to develop by late summer or early fall.

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Prediction for 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season updated…

Jul 01, 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

The Tropical Meteorology Project from Colorado State University (CSU) has released their 3rd seasonal prediction for the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Project leads, Dr. Phil Klotzbach and Dr. William Grey, issued the update this morning and the outlook continues to foresee a below-average 2014 Atlantic hurricane season. This is the 31st year in which the CSU Team has made forecasts of the upcoming season’s Atlantic basin hurricane activity.

The latest update predicts that the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season will have less activity than normal. Two key factors considered for this update are the tropical Atlantic remaining cooler than normal and El Niño continues to develop. A below-average probability of United States and Caribbean having a major hurricane landfall is also predicted.

Specifically, the forecast estimates that 2014 will have:

10 – Named storms (Average is 12.0)

4 –  Hurricanes (Average is 6.5)

1 – Major (Category 3-4-5) Hurricane (Average is 2.0)

The probabilities for at least 1 Major Hurricane (Category 3-4-5) landfall on each of the following coastal areas is:

1) Entire U.S. coastline – 40% (average for last century is 52%)

2) U.S. East Coast including Florida Peninsula – 22% (average for last century is 31%)

3) Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle westward to Brownsville – 23% (average for last century is 30%)

The probability for at least one major Hurricane (Category 3-4-5) tracking into the Caribbean

1) 32% (average for last century is 42%)

Remember, although we are expecting a below-average season it only takes 1 storm to make it a bad season for you. As Tropical Storm Arthur, our first storm of the season, brews off the east coast of Florida, we are all reminded that now is the time to complete your personal plans and finish all preparations in case you are affected.


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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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