Early 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecasts

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 6:22 AM GMT on April 07, 2011

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Hi everybody, this is Dr. Rob Carver filling in for Dr. Masters. 

A continuation of the pattern of much above-average Atlantic hurricane activity we've seen since 1995 is on tap for 2011, according to the latest seasonal forecast issued April 6 by Dr. Phil Klotzbach and Dr. Bill Gray of Colorado State University (CSU). They are calling for 16 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 5 intense hurricanes. An average season has 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. The new forecast is nearly identical to their forecast made in December, which called for 17 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 5 intense hurricanes. Only six seasons since 1851 have had as many as 17 named storms; 19 seasons have had 9 or more hurricanes. The 2011 forecast calls for a much above-average chance of a major hurricane hitting the U.S., both along the East Coast (48% chance, 31% chance is average) and the Gulf Coast (47% chance, 30% chance is average). The Caribbean is forecast to have a 61% chance of seeing at least one major hurricane (42% is average.) Five years with similar pre-season November atmospheric and oceanic conditions were selected as "analogue" years that the 2011 hurricane season may resemble: 2008, 1999, 1996, 1955, and 2006.  The first four years listed all had neutral to La Niña SST's during hurricane season, while 2006 had El Niño SST's.  The average activity for these years was 12.6 named storms, 7.8 hurricanes, and 4.8 major hurricanes.

This year, the forecasters have introduced a new statistical model for their  April forecasts.  There are four components in this model:

1. Average sea-level pressure in March around the Azores in the subtropical Atlantic.

2. The average of January through March sea-surface temperatures (SST's) in the tropical Atlantic off the coast of Africa.

3. Average sea-level pressure in February and March for the southern tropical Pacific ocean west of South America.

4. Forecasts of September's SST in the tropical Pacific using a dynamical model from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) 

The first two components are loosely linked together.  Statistical studies have shown that a weaker subtropical high near the Azores, combined with warmer SST's off the coast of Africa in March are associated with weak winds near the surface and aloft from August to October.  This decrease in wind speeds reduces wind shear which can disrupt forming storms.  These March conditions also are associated with warmer SST's in August to October, which is also favorable for more tropical storms.   For this forecast, the first component is strongly favorable for increased hurricane activity, while the second component is weakly negative.

The last two components represent the changes in sea-surface temperature and sea-level pressure that are the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).  Briefly speaking,  El Niño conditions (warm sea-surface temperatures) are not favorable for Atlantic hurricanes.  For more info on ENSO and hurricanes, Jeff has this article.

Using the ECMWF model as guidance (see Figure 1), the CSU group believes that SST's in the tropical Pacific will be neutral (less than 0.5°C from normal).  This would have a small negative effect on hurricane activity.  However, the tropical Pacific sea-level pressure shows that the atmosphere looks like a La Niña event is still going on.  This is strongly favorable for Atlantic hurricane activity in the CSU group's model.

Figure 1. Forecasts of El Niño conditions by 20 computer models, made in March 2011. The ECMWF forecast used by the CSU group is represented by the dark orange square.  The forecasts for August-September-October (ASO) show that 5 models predict El Niño conditions, 7 predict neutral conditions, and 5 predict a weak to moderate La Niña. El Niño conditions are defined as occurring when sea surface temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific off the coast of South America ( the "Niño 3.4 region) rise to 0.5°C above average (top red line). La Niña conditions occur when SSTs in this region fall to 0.5°C below average. Image credit: Columbia University.

How accurate are the April forecasts? While the formulas used by CSU do well in making hindcasts--correctly modeling the behavior of past hurricane seasons--their April hurricane season forecasts have had no skill in predicting the future. This year's April forecast is using a new system and has not yet produced a verified forecast.  The scheme used in the past three years successfully predicted active hurricane seasons for 2008 and 2010, but failed to properly predict the relatively quiet 2009 hurricane season. A different formula was used prior to 2008, and the April forecasts using that formula showed no skill over a simple forecast using climatology. CSU maintains an 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) for their their April forecasts. For now, these April forecasts should simply be viewed as an interesting research effort that has the potential to make skillful forecasts. The next CSU forecast, due by June 1, is the one worth paying attention to. Their early June forecasts have shown considerable skill over the years.


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 Tropical Storm Risk, Inc. (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.

2011 Atlantic hurricane season forecast from Tropical Storm Risk, Inc.

The  British  private  forecasting  firm  Tropical Storm Risk, Inc.  (TSR),   issued  their  2011  Atlantic hurricane season forecast on April 5. They are also calling for  a  very  active  year: 14. 2 named storms, 7.5 hurricanes, and 3.6 intense hurricanes. We would round that to 14 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 intense hurricanes.   This  compares to their forecast issued in December of 15.6 named storms, 8.4 hurricanes,   and intense hurricanes. TSR predicts a 55%  chance  of  an  above-average  hurricane season, 28% chance of a near-normal season, and only a 17%  chance  of  a  below normal season. TSR bases their April forecast on predictions  that  sea  surface temperatures this fall in the tropical  Atlantic  will  be  above  about  0.08°C above average, and trade  wind  speeds  will  be  about 0.2  m/s  slower  than average.  The decrease in the trade wind speeds is favorable for enhanced hurricane activity, while the forecast SST's are expected to be neutral for hurricane activity.

TSR puts their skill level right next to the forecast numbers: 13% skill above chance at forecasting the number of named storms, 11% skill for hurricanes, and 10% skill for intense hurricanes. That's not much skill, and really, we have to wait until the June 1 forecasts by CSU, NOAA, and TSR to get a forecast with reasonable skill.

Rob's critiques of the April forecasts
I have to note that Jeff and I wrote this article together.  He wrote the general framework before the forecasts were issued, while I wrote the details based on the actual forecasts.  So the preceding text is a joint production.  However, I have a few observations to make that are my responsibility alone.

First, I am disappointed that the CSU group has changed forecast models only after three seasonal forecasts.  This makes it very difficult to assess the skill of the current forecast using past performance.  This is very important for forecast users, and they do it everyday.  For example, I tend to discount a forecast of rain if it comes from a source that over-forecasts rain (The boy who cried wolf problem).

In the documentation that came with the April forecast, the CSU group argue that the hindcasts show the new forecast model has skill.  However, I think hindcasts are a poor substitute for real forecasts in understanding the skill of a statistical forecast model, like that of the CSU's group.  As Jeff noted, the previous forecast model did well with the hindcasts and yet had mixed results with the actual forecasts.  This does not give me confidence that the new forecast model will be superior to the previous model.

From a philosophical viewpoint, I am inherently cautious about statistical forecast models like the one used by the CSU group.  Essentially, they look at what happened in the past and use that to predict the future.  However, for making forecasts, we assume that the relationships in space and time between the predictors (such as the average March sea-level pressure around the Azores) and the predictands (Atlantic hurricane activity) does not change as we move forward in time.  In a world with climate change, that's a tricky assumption to make.

In any event, it is customary in the meteorological community to continue running older forecast guidance models after the introduction of newer models.  This allows forecasters and forecast users to leverage their knowledge of the forecast skill of the older model and gain insight into the forecast skill of the new model.  The CSU group really should have included the forecast from the previous statistical forecast system in this forecast.     

I am uneasy with some of the methodology choices made in implementing the forecast model.  Data for the first three predictors was obtained from the Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR), NOAA's newest and most advanced reanalysis product.  However, CFSR data for 2010 and 2011 has not been released yet, so the CSU group used NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis (NNR), NOAA's first-generation reanalysis, to fill in the gaps.  Due to differences in design, resolution, etc., CFSR and NNR can have different depictions of the state of the atmosphere.  So using NNR's March 2011 average SLP instead of CFSR's could alter the forecast in unexpected ways.  It would be interesting to see how CFSR's 2010-2011 data changes the results. 

In any event, we will have to wait and see what the Atlantic hurricane season of 2011 brings.

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Quoting PlazaRed:


No pasar nada!! { It dosnt matter as long as you continue to know what you are doing, plus 100 other translations that dont really gel in English.}

DE Ja WU,[[DE, French, Ja, Greman,WU, American,]]means:- {antes su tiempo,} before its time!! Before the Weather, {el TIEMPO, in Spanish,}

Clarify with Heir Grother!


Tienes razon pero muy confuso. el LOL
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26052

708
WUUS53 KICT 082301
SVRICT
KSC035-191-090000-
/O.NEW.KICT.SV.W.0038.110408T2301Z-110409T0000Z/

BULLETIN - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WICHITA KS
601 PM CDT FRI APR 8 2011

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN WICHITA HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
WESTERN COWLEY COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL KANSAS...
EASTERN SUMNER COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL KANSAS...

* UNTIL 700 PM CDT

* AT 600 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS WERE
TRACKING A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING PING PONG BALL
SIZE HAIL...AND DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH. THIS STORM WAS
LOCATED NEAR CHILOCCO...OR 24 MILES SOUTHWEST OF WINFIELD...AND
MOVING NORTH AT 30 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
WINFIELD...ARKANSAS CITY...GEUDA SPRINGS...OXFORD...BURDEN...
UDALL...BELLE PLAINE...ATLANTA...STROTHER FIELD AIRPORT AND ROCK.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS PRODUCE DAMAGING WIND IN EXCESS OF 60 MILES PER
HOUR...DESTRUCTIVE HAIL...DEADLY LIGHTNING...AND VERY HEAVY RAIN. FOR
YOUR PROTECTION MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF YOUR
HOME OR BUSINESS. HEAVY RAINS FLOOD ROADS QUICKLY SO DO NOT DRIVE
INTO AREAS WHERE WATER COVERS THE ROAD.



LAT...LON 3699 9703 3700 9729 3746 9738 3746 9667
3698 9695 3699 9702
TIME...MOT...LOC 2301Z 183DEG 25KT 3696 9715
WIND...HAIL 60MPH 1.50IN



MCGUIRE


CLICK HERE TO GO TO PREVIOUS BULLETINS.

The Nexlab KS Page
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fire up
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53623
<
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I've translated the interview with a German meteorologist concerning the sand storm. The full transcript can be found on my blog.

Meteorological explanation for the desaster.

Motorists described the sand storm as a dark dust wall on the motorway. It took them by surprise because the sand storm unleashed its full fury on a plain. The motorway exits woodland and then crosses the plain. Drivers coming out of the woodland could not see what was in front of them until a few seconds before they were right in it.

The presenter asked the meteorologist whether a sand storm warning had been issued so that the population would have been warned. Read more
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The beginning?
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:


Cookin' up heavy rains...
and it's not even May.
Wer ya been mane?...long time ..:) :)
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Quoting Jedkins01:


How weird, my brain is wacked then I guess, haha
Quoting Jedkins01:


How weird, my brain is wacked then I guess, haha


No pasar nada!! { It dosnt matter as long as you continue to know what you are doing, plus 100 other translations that dont really gel in English.}

DE Ja WU,[[DE, French, Ja, Greman,WU, American,]]means:- {antes su tiempo,} before its time!! Before the Weather, {el TIEMPO, in Spanish,}

Clarify with Heir Grother!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PlazaRed:


I only posted it once!


How weird, my brain is wacked then I guess, haha
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 7405
Quoting Jedkins01:


Is it just me, or have I seen this same exact post at least 50 times?

Or am I just having De Javu?


I only posted it once!
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Quoting beell:


The correct term is Deja WU.


Alright I stand corrected, I'm not too great at bilingual skills, lol.
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Quoting DARPAsockpuppet:
Canadian, TX started the day at 39 which is right at their average low for the date but will set a record high after warming up 51 degrees so far in about 11 hours(previous record 86), gusty winds from the SW and dewpoints in the mid 20s will do that, I guess. Crazy temperature swings in the TX panhandle, especially this time of year.





I can't imagine most Texans are proud to have a city called "Canadian" in their state, you know how Texans are with their Tex's pride :)
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772. beell
Quoting Jedkins01:


Is it just me, or have I seen this same exact post at least 50 times?

Or am I just having De Javu?


The correct term is Deja WU.
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Quoting PlazaRed:
European news reports:-

Over 10 people killed and over 100 injured in severe sand storms in Germany.
The sand storms blocked visibility on motorways and traffic which is not speed restricted on some motorways was involved in pile ups.
Apparently these sandstorms are not uncommon in Germany. Makes you wonder why they don't have speed limits? That may affect fast car sales, of course!!


Is it just me, or have I seen this same exact post at least 50 times?

Or am I just having De Javu?
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img src="">

Awesome tornado
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hi gro

even tho I don't speak a bit of german, it's as though I knew what she was saying, by the tone of her voice, the pauses in between phrases.

Truly a horrible situation there. Prayers and hands around the families.
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Cookin' up heavy rains...
and it's not even May.
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The stories from Germany remind me of this, which happened down the road a bit from my house...

http://www.weathercenter.usf.edu/docs/research/jc ollins/05609AGCfinal.pdf
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An Armatures View!!

First, thanks to 620. EYEStoSEA for sending me a useful link earlier on the pesty earthquakes in the Little Rock area.

more in keeping with the 'blog.'

As a watcher of skies and storms for many decades now, I am really glad to have found via a US friend of mine your site and although I have no formal training in anomalies of weather I do spend a lot of time watching it from roofs, windmills and solar panels that I work on in Europe.

Here's my totally simple opinion of what will happen this year in the Atlantic theater.
We have already had the first invest at 90L and I was under it for a few days but leaving that out of the equation, the concern must lie in the fact that Africa is trapped between 2 very hot bodies of water, the moist heat that is generated over central Africa will spill out across the Atlantic, {Skye noticed some of it weeks ago,} and course up into the Caribbean, very early this year and I would go for the sight of invest 91L possibly off the north coast of south America in the last week of April.
I cant help thinking what would happen if the mid Atlantic started to look like the Indian Ocean does now in the 'World Map?'Tropical!
Only an armatures opinion.
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Facebook
Reed Timmer: Meteorologist and Extreme Storm Chaser There could be tornado producing supercells down the dryline near the KS/MO border by evening. Everything looks like it's coming together for a major tornado outbreak
Reed Timmer: Meteorologist and Extreme Storm Chaser
RUC fires storms early! By 21z in western OK with a storm moving northeast across northern OK. Thermodynamics are still off but I could definitely see initiation today. TVN leaving at 2-3 pm

Looks like the chasers are heading out
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933
Quoting hurricaneeye:


I am gonna try to send u some
Latitude and longitude? lol
:) Cayman Islands 81.2/19.2 TIA
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
I assume it is from the Colombian low but don't know the cause. Sure wish it would send some rain my way.


I am gonna try to send u some
Latitude and longitude? lol
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Quoting taistelutipu:


I'm currently watching the German news, truly horrible pictures. The number of victims has increased to 10, all burnt in their cars. Survivors said they had no chance whatsoever since conditions deterioriated within seconds.
It is labeled as the worst collision on record in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. I think it is the first time that the state of emergency was declared due to a massive traffic accident.


Hei, tai. Schrecklich, ja? Drop in more often. I was listening to the German news here. We must have been watching the same thing.
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Quoting PlazaRed:


I'm really sorry I saw/posted it first from the disaster point of view!

I do think that with their unused, overhead warning signs and the lack of German speed limits this was a disaster waiting to happen. They really should have speed limits, its insane to see the speeds that vehicles pass you at over there, up to 200 MPH I would say on some stretches.


I absolutely agree with you on the speed limits. I never understood why the German authorities would not impose a speed limit. There is an inofficial speed limit of 130 kph (about 80 mph) but it is only a recommendation. In the event of an accident, however, the motorist exceeding the speed limit will always be held responsible to some extent, even if someone else crashed into his/her car.
So, in short, it is each driver's own responsibility, you can speed as much as you wish as long as nothing happens. Great...

I remember going onto the motorways with my instructor. First, I was going quite slowly, 65mph then I gradually became more confident and then I kept to the inofficial speed limit of 80 mph. I drove on at that speed for a while until my instructor encouraged me to go even faster. I dared to try out 100 mph but I was scared to go faster. The car might have had it in it to do 120 mph but I didn't fancy that.

Mind you, it was my first time ever on the motorway and I was told to race along at 100 mph! The mindset of these instructors is rather questionable: it's perpetuating the culture of speeding. In 1999 there were less cars on the motorways than nowadays but still...

Oh, they have a weather expert speaking about the sandstorm on the news. I'll be back in a few with a meteorological report about the events.
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Quoting PlazaRed:


I'm really sorry I saw/posted it first from the disaster point of view!

I do think that with their unused, overhead warning signs and the lack of German speed limits this was a disaster waiting to happen. They really should have speed limits, its insane to see the speeds that vehicles pass you at over there, up to 200 MPH I would say on some stretches.


Well, we have lots of speed limits and signs and this kind of accident happens fairly often in California due to fog and in Oklahoma due to smoke from grass fires. It also happens in the mountains in Maryland due to snow and fog.

My point is that it happens with or without speed limits or operative signs. I think the cause is more because of the lack of training for the drivers and their own lack of skill and common sense.
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Quoting hurricaneeye:


Right! It's been raining for several hours in the SP, Costa Rica. The skies are really cloudy at the moment, and the rain doesn't seem like it is gonna stop any time soon.What do u think is causing so much moisture? I can tell from exeperience,this is not normal in April. It is more like a "transitional" month from dry season to RS.

Anyways I like it!!!

I assume it is from the Colombian low but don't know the cause. Sure wish it would send some rain my way.
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Quoting RastaSteve:


Were having May type heat here in FL which is also unusual. Also unusual push north of the Monsoon Trough into the SW Caribbean which normally doesn't happen until early May.


So that's why it is raining more than usual in April
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Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933


SVR T-STORM WARNING JACKSON KY - KJKL 505 PM EDT FRI APR 8 2011
SVR T-STORM WARNING CHARLESTON WV - KRLX 503 PM EDT FRI APR 8 2011
SVR T-STORM WARNING JACKSON KY - KJKL 502 PM EDT FRI APR 8 2011
SVR T-STORM WARNING CHARLESTON WV - KRLX 444 PM EDT FRI APR 8 2011
SVR T-STORM WARNING JACKSON KY - KJKL 439 PM EDT FRI APR 8 2011
SVR T-STORM WARNING CHARLESTON WV - KRLX 431 PM EDT FRI APR 8 2011
SVR T-STORM WARNING CHARLESTON WV - KRLX 429 PM EDT FRI APR 8 2011
SVR T-STORM WARNING CHARLESTON WV - KRLX 416 PM EDT FRI APR 8 2011
SVR T-STORM WARNING CHARLESTON WV - KRLX 407 PM EDT FRI APR 8 2011
SVR T-STORM WARNING JACKSON KY - KJKL 404 PM EDT FRI APR 8 2011
SVR T-STORM WARNING CHARLESTON WV - KRLX 342 PM EDT FRI APR 8 2011
SVR T-STORM WARNING CHARLESTON WV - KRLX 336 PM EDT FRI APR 8 2011
SVR T-STORM WARNING CHARLESTON WV - KRLX 334 PM EDT FRI APR 8 2011
SVR T-ST

Decent line of severe storms
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933
Quoting taistelutipu:


I'm currently watching the German news, truly horrible pictures. The number of victims has increased to 10, all burnt in their cars. Survivors said they had no chance whatsoever since conditions deterioriated within seconds.
It is labeled as the worst collision on record in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. I think it is the first time that the state of emergency was declared due to a massive traffic accident.


I'm really sorry I saw/posted it first from the disaster point of view!

I do think that with their unused, overhead warning signs, they do know about these notherly gales in certain areas and after dry periods they lift the sand and soils, plus the lack of German speed limits this was a disaster waiting to happen. They really should have speed limits, its insane to see the speeds that vehicles pass you at over there, up to 200 MPH I would say on some stretches.
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Quoting RastaSteve:



I was looking at the visible looped images and there seems to be a mid level circulation right over Panama. Definitely looks like the monsoon trough is about to lift north soon. I've been saying the season is gonna start sooner than some think on here. Just think it's early April wait a couple of weeks then we should see this moisture drifting up toward Jamaica.


You can say that again!
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Quoting RastaSteve:
Could be an active early season coming in the Caribbean. GFS was showing some possibilities a couple of days ago. Well see!


YEAH sth might be brewing!
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Quoting help4u:
Joe Bastardi has great site at WeatherBell!He predicted 20 storms last year and nailed it!

Joe "worst long-range forecaster on Earth" Bastardi predicted 16 to 18 tropical storms in total. Not 20 Link
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Quoting PlazaRed:


You should have seen it on the Spanish news, they were piled up like they were in the tsunami!! It is Germany's version of tidal insanity, lots of people rushing off for the weekend with no vision on a motorway, in a sandstorm with virtual zero vision. Add to that no speed limits that I know of.
Apparently in a howling, screaming northerly type gale and no attempt to drive with anything like a safe stopping distance. Lots of fires too after impacts.


I'm currently watching the German news, truly horrible pictures. The number of victims has increased to 10, all burnt in their cars. Survivors said they had no chance whatsoever since conditions deterioriated within seconds.
It is labeled as the worst collision on record in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. I think it is the first time that the state of emergency was declared due to a massive traffic accident.
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Quoting taistelutipu:
Mr Mixon, thanks for your comments. Your reaction sounds very sensible to me. Slamming the brakes is probably the worst thing you could do but since you are not prepared for a sudden reduction in visibility you have no ready plan.

I got my driver's license in Germany and I know we were not given any instructions how to act in events like this. Sandstorms of this kind are very unusual in Germany. We sometimes get some sahara dust crossing the Alps but it usually only leaves a yellow dust layer on parked cars.

Here in the UK I wouldn't expect any sandstorms, the climate is usually a lot wetter than in East Germany where this event took place. This said, we've had the driest March since 1944 so never say never...


Of course, as with my example, this sort of situation can happen with snow squalls as easily as it can happen with dust.

I've experienced many other less intense scenarios like the one I mentioned due to what we call "ground blizzards"... basically, wind-driven snow (on the ground from previous storms) will blow across the road on an otherwise clear day and can reduce visibility to near nil. I've seen many folks slam on their breaks when this happens and, while I understand the instinct, I am constantly amazed that people forget about the cars behind them (if you can't see, that means people can't see you).
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:


Good afternoon everyone. Nice blow-up all morning in the sw Caribbean.


Right! It's been raining for several hours in the SP, Costa Rica. The skies are really cloudy at the moment, and the rain doesn't seem like it is gonna stop any time soon.What do u think is causing so much moisture? I can tell from exeperience,this is not normal in April. It is more like a "transitional" month from dry season to RS.

Anyways I like it!!!

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Quoting kwgirl:

Please remind them that all forms of media must be used during a disaster. A lot of people are without electricity and there are still a lot of poor folks who have no computers or iphones and the elderly who do not want or can't afford such devices.


+1,000,000
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Mr Mixon, thanks for your comments. Your reaction sounds very sensible to me. Slamming the brakes is probably the worst thing you could do but since you are not prepared for a sudden reduction in visibility you have no ready plan.

I got my driver's license in Germany and I know we were not given any instructions how to act in events like this. Sandstorms of this kind are very unusual in Germany. We sometimes get some sahara dust crossing the Alps but it usually only leaves a yellow dust layer on parked cars.

Here in the UK I wouldn't expect any sandstorms, the climate is usually a lot wetter than in East Germany where this event took place. This said, we've had the driest March since 1944 so never say never...
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Quoting Grothar:



I was just about to post this, can't believe you mentioned it.



You should have seen it on the Spanish news, they were piled up like they were in the tsunami!! It is Germany's version of tidal insanity, lots of people rushing off for the weekend with no vision on a motorway, in a sandstorm with virtual zero vision. Add to that no speed limits that I know of.
Apparently in a howling, screaming northerly type gale and no attempt to drive with anything like a safe stopping distance. Lots of fires too after impacts.
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Quoting taistelutipu:


Guten Abend Grothar.

I was just about to post it then I saw that you and Plaza had already beaten me to it. I watched the video and I could give you a summary of what is said in there.

"State of emergency on the A19 near Rostock. More than 50 vehicles were involved in large scale collisions, among them a road tanker. Several people were killed and many badly injured.

An unusual weather phenomenon presumably caused the multi-vehicle collision. According to eye-witnesses, hurricane force gusts raised dust and a tornado-like sand storm formed. This reduced visibility to less than 1 meter. The bad conditions led to collisions on roadways in both directions. Several vehicles were set ablaze.

A large contingent of emergency services, including several helicopters, arrived at the scene and the state of emergency was declared."

On the German yahoo site I found more detailed information. The article speaks of several collisions killing 8 and severely injuring 27 people and over 80 vehicles were involved. In the worst collision 17 cars and 3 trucks burnt out completely, one of them allegedly carried liquid carbon hydride but this has not yet been confirmed.


I was on I-25 northbound near the Colorado-Wyoming border once when visibility went from nearly unlimited to only a few meters in a matter of seconds due to a small, wind-driven snowstorm. Traffic was moving about 70mph at the time. It's a scary situation and hard to know what exactly to do. I slowly let off the gas and shifted my gaze back and forth between the front windshield and the rear view mirror, ready to dash into the emergency lane at any point if I saw somebody approaching from behind.

I'm not sure if letting off the gas and coasting to a slower speed was the right action, but to anyone unfortunate enough to experience this... PLEASE do not slam on your breaks!! That's perhaps one of the worst things you can do.

Thoughts and prayers to those in Germany who were in the wrong place at the wrong time...
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736. DEKRE
Quoting emcf30:



yea about 50 years ago, oh wait, we did not have computers back then


Actually we did - not desk-tops, however.
I started working with computers 50 years ago, 01 May 1961.
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Quoting Grothar:



I was just about to post this, can't believe you mentioned it.



Guten Abend Grothar.

I was just about to post it then I saw that you and Plaza had already beaten me to it. I watched the video and I could give you a summary of what is said in there.

"State of emergency on the A19 near Rostock. More than 50 vehicles were involved in large scale collisions, among them a road tanker. Several people were killed and many badly injured.

An unusual weather phenomenon presumably caused the multi-vehicle collision. According to eye-witnesses, hurricane force gusts raised dust and a tornado-like sand storm formed. This reduced visibility to less than 1 meter. The bad conditions led to collisions on roadways in both directions. Several vehicles were set ablaze.

A large contingent of emergency services, including several helicopters, arrived at the scene and the state of emergency was declared."

On the German yahoo site I found more detailed information. The article speaks of several collisions killing 8 and severely injuring 27 people and over 80 vehicles were involved. In the worst collision 17 cars and 3 trucks burnt out completely, one of them allegedly carried liquid carbon hydride but this has not yet been confirmed.
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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.