Average hurricane season foreseen by CSU, but TSR predicts an active season

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:01 PM GMT on April 07, 2009

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A near-average Atlantic hurricane season is on tap for 2009, according to the latest seasonal forecast issued today by Dr. Phil Klotzbach and Dr. Bill Gray of Colorado State University (CSU). The Klotzbach/Gray team is calling for 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. An average season has 10-11 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. The new forecast is a step down from their December forecast, which called for 14 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 3 intense hurricanes. The new forecast calls for a near-average chance of a major hurricane hitting the U.S., both along the East Coast (32% chance, 31% chance is average) and the Gulf Coast (31% chance, 30% chance is average). The Caribbean is also forecast to have an average risk of a major hurricane.

The forecasters cited several reasons for reducing their forecast from an active season to an average season:

1) Sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in the tropical Atlantic have cooled considerably since December. In fact, these SST anomalies are at their coolest level since July 1994. Cooler-than-normal waters provide less heat energy for developing hurricanes. In addition, an anomalously cool tropical Atlantic is typically associated with higher sea level pressure values and stronger-than-normal trade winds, indicating a more stable atmosphere with increased levels of vertical wind shear detrimental for hurricanes. Part of the reason for the substantial cooling since December is because a stronger than average Bermuda-Azores High drove strong trade winds. These strong winds acted to evaporate more water from the ocean, cooling it. Higher winds also increase the mixing of cool waters to the surface from below. However, in March, the Bermuda-Azores High weakened. The resulting weaker trade winds may allow SSTs to warm to above average levels by the coming hurricane season, if this weaker Bermuda-Azores High persists.

2) Hurricane activity in the Atlantic is lowest during El Niño years and highest during La Niña or neutral years. The CSU team expects current weak La Niña conditions to transition to neutral and perhaps weak El Niño conditions (50% chance) by this year's hurricane season. April and May are typically the months when the atmosphere will swing between El Niño and La Niña, which makes any seasonal forecasts of hurricane activity during April low-skill. The current computer models used to predict El Niño (Figure 1) mostly favor neutral conditions for the coming hurricane season. These models are primarily based on statistical methods that observe how previous El Niño events have evolved. Three of the newer computer-intensive dynamical models (similar to the GFS model we use to make weather forecasts) do predict an El Niño event by hurricane season. The reliability of all of these models is poor.


Figure 1. Computer model forecasts of El Niño/La Niña made in March. The forecasts that go above the red line at +0.5°C denote El Niño conditions; -0.5°C to +0.5°C denote neutral conditions, and below-0.5°C denote La Niña conditions. Three computer models predict El Niño conditions for hurricane season (ASO, August-September-October). However, most of the models predict neutral conditions. Image credit: Columbia University's IRI.

Analogue years
The CSU team picked five previous years when atmospheric and oceanic conditions were similar in April to what we are seeing this year. Those five years were 2001, featuring Category 4 storms Michelle, which hit Cuba, and Iris, which hit Belize; 1985, which had Category 3 Gloria in New England and Category 3 Elena in the Gulf of Mexico; 1976, which had Category 1 Hurricane Belle in New England; 1968, which had Category 1 Hurricane Gladys north of Tampa; and 1951, which had only one landfalling hurricane, Category 3 Hurricane Charlie in Mexico. The mean activity for these five years was 11 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 3 intense hurricanes.

How accurate are the April forecasts?
This year's April forecast uses the same formula as last year's April forecast, which did quite well predicting the 2008 hurricane season. Last year's forecast included the statement, "These real-time operational early April forecasts have not shown forecast skill over climatology" during the 13-year period 1995-2007. Unfortunately, this year's forecast neglects to mention this fact. In fact, when looking at Excel spreadsheet of their forecast errors (expressed as a mathematical correlation coefficient, where positive means a skilled forecast, and negative means they did worse than climatology) their April forecasts have had negative skill between 1995-2008. In other words, you would have been better off using climatology than believing their April forecasts.

2009 Atlantic hurricane season forecast from Tropical Storm Risk, Inc.
The British private forecasting firm Tropical Storm Risk, Inc. (TSR), issued their 2009 Atlantic hurricane season forecast yesterday, but they are calling for an active year: 15 named storms, 7.8 hurricanes, and 3.6 intense hurricanes. TSR predicts a 63% chance of an above-average hurricane season, 24% chance of a near-normal season, and only a 13% chance of a below normal season. They give a 63% chance that 2009 will rank in the top third of most active hurricane seasons on record. The April 2009 TSR forecast is virtually identical to their December 2008 forecast, and is also quite close to their April 2008 forecast made for the 2008 hurricane season.

I like how TSR puts their skill level right next to the forecast numbers: 11% skill above chance at forecasting the number of named storms, 9% skill for hurricanes, and 7% skill for intense hurricanes. That's not much better than flipping a coin, but is better than the negative forecast skill of the Klotzbach/Gray April forecasts.

TSR projects that 4.8 named storms will hit the U.S., with 2.1 of these being hurricanes. The averages from the 1950-2008 climatology are 3.2 named storms and 1.5 hurricanes. Their skill in making these April forecasts for U.S. landfalls is 10-15% above chance. In the Lesser Antilles Islands of the Caribbean, TSR projects 1.4 named storms, 0.6 of these being hurricanes. Climatology is 1.1 named storms and 0.5 hurricanes.

TSR cites one main factor for their forecast of an active season: slower than normal trade winds from July - September over the Main Development Region (MDR) for hurricanes over the Atlantic (the region between 10° - 20° N from Central America to Africa, including all of the Caribbean). Trade winds are forecast to be 0.4 meters per second (about 1 mph) slower than average in this region, which would create greater spin for developing storms, and allow the oceans to heat up due to reduced evaporational cooling. TSR forecasts that SSTs will be near average in the MDR during hurricane season, and will not have an enhancing or suppressing effect on hurricane activity.


Figure 2. Accuracy of long-range forecasts of Atlantic hurricane season activity performed by Phil Klotzbach and Bill Gray of Colorado State University (colored squares) and TSR (colored lines). The CSU team's April forecast skill is not plotted, but is less than zero. The skill is measured by the Mean Square Skill Score (MSSS), which looks at the error and squares it, then compares the percent improvement the forecast has over a climatological forecast of 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. TS=Tropical Storms, H=Hurricanes, IH=Intense Hurricanes, ACE=Accumulated Cyclone Energy, NTC=Net Tropical Cyclone Activity. Image credit: TSR.

Jeff Masters

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111. Skyepony (Mod)
I've got to agree with Patrap & the research about the lightning. Oz~ Check out this site. Watch the lightning around the world. There certainly is a corilation. What could be studied more is the type if they can tell it. Definately more frequent toward the center. I've noticed when one is deepning quick like Katrina exiting FL far from center is infrequent but really powerful, ground shaking for a long time, deadly cloud to ground. Lightning pretty much dies off about as soon as it's feeling the effects of any land, cool SST or shear that is hindering it.

The research about the dust & volcanos controling SST by 70%, so being the big factor for hurricanes... 2005 was pretty dusty & hot. They dismiss it as a low dust year & it wasn't. Here's a bit from other research..

For the 2005 hurricane season, which broke records in the Atlantic, however, dust activity was moderate, indicating yet another level of potential complexity to the dust-hurricane interactions, which the researchers are continuing to investigate, Evan says. During that year%u2019s hurricane season, the researchers noted an increase in dust from the African coast, and a dearth of hurricanes forming in the middle of the Atlantic. Instead, they %u201Ckind of got pushed closer to the United States,%u201D he says. Therefore, an indirect effect may also occur, in which the dust may dampen storm formation in the middle Atlantic, but not prevent them from forming farther west.
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Ok so, This would be the rule of Thumb?
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
Quoting Patrap:
A new,well new last year feature is this. When someone creates a Handle for the wunderground Blogs,there is a 12 hour wait b-4 one can post .
That deters one from just changing a handle and banging the Blog. Always IGNORE the ones causing trouble. Always.
Use the Filter or the ignore feature.


Spoken like a very wise man. lol
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 2838
A new,well new last year feature is this. When someone creates a Handle for the wunderground Blogs,there is a 12 hour wait b-4 one can post .
That deters one from just changing a handle and banging the Blog. Always IGNORE the ones causing trouble. Always.
Use the Filter or the ignore feature.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127807
Quoting N3EG:
ADDING to that:

How many trolls will we have here during hurricane season? My estimate: Even one is too many.


Please define Troll for us, so we all know, and thanks in advance.

I may resemble that remark ª¿ª
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
Quoting N3EG:
ADDING to that:

How many trolls will we have here during hurricane season? My estimate: Even one is too many.


Too many
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 2838
105. N3EG
ADDING to that:

How many trolls will we have here during hurricane season? My estimate: Even one is too many.
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Quoting Orcasystems:
Hornby Island Eagle Cam

Go and watch this.. Fantastic..and live


Too cool, and thanks for sharing. I have a pair of them that come by frequently. I have also seen a Golden Eagle, intermittently which is much larger. Had a chance to watch the Bald Eagle fight with an Osprey over a nesting tree in the back yard. The Eagle won.

Back to work.
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
Quoting CybrTeddy:
I declare it preseason Hurricane forecasting time!
Alright. A few questions, please answer if you wish.
1) When will Ana Form? (my vote 5-28-09)
2) How many storms will there me (my vote 15)
3) How many Hurricanes and Majors do we get? (5/2)
4) What place is most at risk this year? (My vote, Caribbean or East coast)
5) In an off chance, will we see a Category 5 this year? (My vote, possibly and if there is I hope its a fish, and someone was bound to ask the question :D)

I think this years going to prove similar to 2007.


ADDING to this.
6) How accurate do you think the GFS will be this year in cyclone genesis (very)
7) What position will the Bermuda high be in?
8) How bad will the SAL be?
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23887
Link 2

* Hornby Island - Close-up Camera - Live sound and video from Doug Carrick's original camera
* Hornby Island - Wide-angle Camera - Live sound and video - the new camera position above the nest
* Victoria/Sidney - New Nest - Live sound and video from the new nest the eagles are using this year
* Victoria/Sidney - Old Nest - Live sound and video from the old nest - watch for the eagles as they rest - and watch for the new eaglets after they fledge
* O.W.L. (Orphaned Wild Life refuge) Delta, BC - Eagle Nest Close-up Camera - Live sound and video - infra-red for night-time viewing
* O.W.L. Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) Camera - Delta, BC - Live sound and video from the next tree - watch as the eaglets start to "branch" prior to fledging
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Hornby Island Eagle Cam

Go and watch this.. Fantastic..and live
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In orderr for cyclogenesis to Occur and Sustain,..usually and ,Im not a met nor a researcher,
Usually a SST of 80 degree's,thru a depth of so many meters or feet is required to develop and sustain a Hurricane.
But I see your point and maybe there is some merit to the feedback that occured during that event.

It Bears some scrutiny at least,I bet.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127807
RE: 97. Patrap

Is this plausible?

My premise

During the months prior to the remnants of Erin, Oklahoma received record breaking precipitation ( Oklahoma Climatology Survey). Hence wet warm ground.

When Fay made landfall south of Naples, traveling n.e. (over wet warm ground), she intensified

Ergo, wet warm ground has a similar effect as warm water.

Whatcha think?
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Italy: Earthquake - Apr 2009
Updates on Italy affected by the Italy: Earthquake - Apr 2009 emergency. GLIDE No. EQ-2009-000072-ITA


Latest Updates
Save to My ReliefWeb


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127807


Oklahoma's "Landcane"

Waking up to heavy rain in Oklahoma this morning was an eerie reminder of the anniversary of one of the state's strangest weather events. On August 19, 2007, the looping remnants of Tropical Storm Erin unexpectedly regained their purpose over Oklahoma and created a weather anomaly that fascinated both meteorologists and wannabe-meteorologists (like me).



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127807
Quoting KEHCharleston:
Factors influencing hurricanes
ENSO
Atlantic SST
Bermuda/Azores High
African Dust
Trade Winds
Wind Sheer
And what else ....????


Upwelling from previous 'canes (Though the Dennis/Emily combo of '05 was the exception.)
Land/Mountains
AMO
Proximity to other storms in the way.
Ridges/fronts.
Steering tracks.
Time (Though sort of related to everything. Like, Sept is more likely to give you a Cat 5 than June.)


...Seeding? ;)
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Link

Hope this link works.
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Was that a Hurricane? In Oklahoma?
Tropical Storm Erin May Have Become A Hurricane ... Deep Inland

Or to quote the great Jeff Masters, perhaps Erin was a "Thingamabobbercane"!

a href="http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/blogs/hurricanes-storms/oklahoma-
cyclone-55041201" target="_blank">Link

LOL. I know they don't redevelope over land just thought this was interesting.
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WUnder-Blogger StormKen is a Reporter for the Sun-Sentinel in Florida,...here's a article from Him yesterday.

National Hurricane Center improves warning system for rising water



By Ken Kaye | South Florida Sun-Sentinel
April 6, 2009

It holds the potential to kill hundreds and bulldoze buildings at the shoreline.

This is storm surge, and as of this year the National Hurricane Center is overhauling public warnings to emphasize its dangers.

The center is beefing up advisories and officially offering color-coded maps to let you know the chances your home might be inundated by rising waters. The maps will be posted on the hurricane center's online site, nhc.noaa.gov, each time a watch or warning is issued.

"Hopefully, we're giving people information they can really use, so they understand what their risk really is," said James Franklin, team leader over the center's hurricane specialists.


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127807
Wow great video wanderer

Excellent footage there,thanx for the Rita Video.
Your welcome.
Ive enjoyed and learned from some of the videos that yall have placed on here too. Not to mention all the great links and discussions.
Thanks to yall too.
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Quoting MissNadia:


how about a land mass in the track?


Ah, yes, land.

Indeed. I'm not sure if you thought of this when you mentioned land as a hindrance to development, but I'll throw it out there.

Not only will a tropical cyclone weaken once overland, there is also another way in which land can weaken a tropical cyclone. Namely, disrupting low-level inflow if a tropical cyclone gets too close. Though it was not explicitly mentioned by the NHC or anyone on here, I believe that is one of the reasons (in addition to the obviously disrupted inner core from passage over Cuba) Gustav was weakening rapidly for the first 12-18 hours after leaving Cuba; the inflow on its south side was being disrupted by Cuba, which was still fairly close.

Inflow can be disrupted via land when a tropical cyclone's circulation pulls off dry continental air off a given location.
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House committee approves hurricane insurance bill
By BRENT KALLESTAD




Associated Press Writer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- With less than four full weeks left in the 2009 session, lawmakers started moving legislation Friday aimed at reducing a multibillion dollar property insurance risk politicians have laid on Florida consumers and taxpayers.

After running through more than a dozen amendments, the Insurance, Business and Financial Affairs Committee approved a bill to make the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. a last-resort insurer. The measure would also draw down the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund obligations by several billion dollars.

"We've got a problem," Catastrophe Fund manager Jack Nicholson told the committee. "Solvency could be an issue."
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127807
Quoting Ossqss:


How about upwelling from previous storms?


how about a land mass in the track?
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CME Group Acquires & Renames Hurricane Index; Selects New Calculation Agent


CHICAGO, April 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- CME Group, the world's largest and most diverse derivatives exchange, announced today that it has acquired the Carvill Hurricane Index from Carvill America Inc. and renamed it the CME Hurricane Index. In addition, CME Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding with EQECAT, the leading authority on extreme-risk modeling, to be the new calculation agent for the index. The hurricane futures and options contracts are listed with, and subject to, the rules and regulations of CME.

"We continue to be encouraged by the growth of the weather derivatives market, especially hurricane futures and options, which already have traded 4,000 contracts before the start of this year's hurricane season," said Felix Carabello, Director of Alternative Investment Products at CME Group. "As the new calculation agent for the hurricane index, EQECAT will help CME Group continue to provide innovative ways for businesses to manage their risk associated with weather events."
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127807
Quoting KEHCharleston:
Factors influencing hurricanes
ENSO
Atlantic SST
Bermuda/Azores High
African Dust
Trade Winds
Wind Sheer
And what else ....????


Fast forward speed (the faster the movement, the more difficult it is for a tropical wave or a developing tropical cyclone to maintain a closed surface circulation), although that is generated by the trade winds, so I'm not sure it deserves a separate mention.
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Quoting KEHCharleston:
Factors influencing hurricanes
ENSO
Atlantic SST
Bermuda/Azores High
African Dust
Trade Winds
Wind Sheer
And what else ....????


How about upwelling from previous storm tracks?

L8R back to work. --- loop currents
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
Factors influencing hurricanes
ENSO
Atlantic SST
Bermuda/Azores High
African Dust
Trade Winds
Wind Sheer
And what else ....????
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Bouys, with lightning sensors? :)
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
Quoting CycloneOz:


Well, there ya go. I was in Ivan, Dennis, Dolly & Ike...where there was no lightning!

I just need to go to the "right" storms next time! :)


You would have to be in a boat to see what they are talking about with respect to the lightning and relationship to intensification and the ultimate winds that happen 30hrs later. Aside from our TC last year, I think you all know these things don't intensify over land folks.
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
All this rigamarow about predicting hurricane intensity by measuring lightning in hurricanes is a bunch of full out bahooey.

I can dig Katrina...but Ivan was something else. And since Ivan didn't throw out lightning, then research in this area is money down the commode.

Give me more bouys! That's where I'd put my money!
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Wow great video wanderer
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 2838
Excellent footage there,thanx for the Rita Video.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127807
Lightning happens. It is inevitable, you may not see it or hear it due to the fact you are out in a hurricane, but it is there during the period the article references. The reference is on using lightning to help ID intensification. When the towers start growing to 40 or 50k', and the lightning is more frequent, it is depicting an intensifying storm. Hence the 30 hr gap. That does not typically happen over land and probably why you did not see it. Just my take.
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
Some of that Rita lightening at the end of the video.

Link
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During the record-setting hurricane season of 2005 three of the most powerful storms--Rita, Katrina, and Emily--did have lightning, lots of it.


Well, there ya go. I was in Ivan, Dennis, Dolly & Ike...where there was no lightning!

I just need to go to the "right" storms next time! :)
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Heres a decent article on the 2005 canes and the Lightning observed and recorded.

Hurricanes of 2005 were filled with mysterious lightning

The boom of thunder and crackle of lightning generally mean one thing: a storm is coming. Curiously, though, the biggest storms of all, hurricanes, are notoriously lacking in lightning. Hurricanes blow, they rain, they flood, but seldom do they crackle.

Surprise: During the record-setting hurricane season of 2005 three of the most powerful storms--Rita, Katrina, and Emily--did have lightning, lots of it. And researchers would like to know why.

Richard Blakeslee of the Global Hydrology and Climate Center (GHCC) in Huntsville, Alabama, was one of a team of scientists who explored Hurricane Emily using NASA's ER-2 aircraft, a research version of the famous U-2 spy plane. Flying high above the storm, they noted frequent lightning in the cylindrical wall of clouds surrounding the hurricane's eye. Both cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning were present, "a few flashes per minute," says Blakeslee.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127807
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Thanks for the updated forecast and commentary Dr. Masters! What I want is a season with no hurricanes at all!


Though I'm fascinated by the darn things, I'll second that! Here Here! Here's to a season with no hurricanes!
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69 & 70
Hey,
I have been through a dozen or so canes and the only lighting I have seen is in the rain bands before the storm proper. However in or near the eye, the rain and wind are so heavy that perhaps its there , we just can't see or hear it!
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Quoting Patrap:
research and enlighten oneself.


=) I get it....
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If anyone would like to know what I think about this hurricane season it's on my blog. =)
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 2838
Oz...Im not a Researcher..

But when you experienced your Hurricanes,your only seeing maybe 6 hours of a Storms Life.
Read some of the research and enlighten oneself.

Jeesuz..LOL

Heap away. Plenty of US have seen the data and the Lightning ourselves.

You never seen a Black Hole either,but they exist.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127807
My contention is this...

If they're thinking that increased lightning activity signifies that a hurricane is reaching peak intensity, where was the lightning in Hurricane Dolly. Man, I was out in it, I took time lapse from an 8th floor, there was not one, single bolt.

Unless Dr. Masters can convince me, I'm about to lump this one with the hoax of global warming.
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Some of THE leading intensity research is using the Lightening Data Sets for intensity.

Its a good subject for someone in the field to read up on.
Lotsa printed material on it.


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127807
I would love for Dr. Masters to weigh in on lightning during hurricanes.

But just to be clear, I'm talking about lightning that hits the ground, not the airborne, in the clouds kind.

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Well Oz..ya havent been around when it occurs.

Its not a Myth..LOL
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127807


More on the subject here

NASA - NASA Finds Intense Lightning Activity Around a Hurricane's Eye
Jun 23, 2006 ... All of these organizations study lightning in hurricanes to get a better understanding of the strengthening or weakening (intensification) ...
www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hurricanes/archives/2006/hurricane_lightning.html - 24k - Cached - Similar pages -
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127807
I've been in four documented hurricanes...Ivan, Dennis, Dolly, and Ike...and not one bolt of lightning.

Lightning Warns of Hurricanes' Most Intense Moments?

Each of these hurricanes were unique in their own way...but Dolly intensified right off the coast. There was no lightning that night...or during the early morning hours.

There was plenty of other electrical action, though! :)
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Lightening in Hurricanes is not a NEW thing..we experienced it During Katrina and Gustav.

The research is Valid and expanding.
Thats how science works I believe.

Dr. Masters may have some words on the subject.
Maybe he can en"lighten" us as to his take on it.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127807

Building a Career in Disaster Relief

APRIL 7, 2009

The core to the effectiveness of any disaster response is the ability to share information and coordinate the effort between the many organizations involved. Software can play a huge role in doing that. Whenever we hear about a disaster, whether it's a flood, or a hurricane or an earthquake, the first step is to establish a connection with the leading local response organization, such as a government agency or the United Nations. Then we help with real-time communication and use mapping software to provide partners with situational awareness so relief agencies, for example, could see the location of a shelter in need of medical supplies. We also give data-sharing capability to first responders and government agencies so they can share relevant information with outside organizations without compromising security. (The amount of money Microsoft spends on each disaster varies, but for example, the China quake efforts cost $3.1 million.)
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127807
Hey Patrap.

Read the article.

My reaction to it?

Wuh?

What lightning are they talking about? Worldwide? Within a developing storm? They mention lightning sensors...that paragraph is the one that makes the whole article a "wuh?" for me.

Sounds like those two guys are sniffing around for a grant.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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