The 2012 Atlantic hurricane season begins: what is in store?

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:56 PM GMT on June 01, 2012

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The 2012 Atlantic hurricane season is officially underway. With two early season storms, Alberto and Beryl, having already come and gone, this year's season has gotten off to a near-record early start. Since reliable record keeping began in 1851, only the hurricane seasons of 1908 and 1887 had two named storms form so early in the year. So, will this early pace continue? What will this year's hurricane season bring? Here are my top five questions for the coming season:

1) All of the major seasonal hurricane forecasts are calling for a near-average season, with 10 - 13 named storms. Will these pre-season predictions pan out?

2) How will the steering current pattern evolve? Will the U.S. break its six-year run without a major hurricane landfall, the longest such streak since 1861 - 1868?

3) Will the 420,000 people still homeless in Haiti in the wake of the January 2010 earthquake dodge a major tropical cyclone flooding disaster for the third consecutive hurricane season?

4) How will new National Hurricane Center director Rick Knabb fare in his inaugural season?

5) Will the Republican National Convention, scheduled to occur in Tampa during the last week of August, get interrupted by a tropical storm or hurricane?


Figure 1. True-color MODIS satellite image of Beryl taken at 2:35 pm EDT May 27, 2012 by NASA's Aqua satellite. At the time, Beryl was a tropical storm with winds of 65 mph.

Quick summary of the early-season atmosphere/ocean conditions in the Atlantic
Strong upper-level winds tend to create a shearing force on tropical storms (wind shear), which tears them apart before they can get going. In June, two branches of the jet stream, the polar jet to the north, and a subtropical jet to the south, typically bring high levels of wind shear to the Atlantic. The southern subtropical jet currently lies over the Caribbean, and is expected to remain there the next two weeks, making development unlikely in the Caribbean. Between the subtropical jet to the south and the polar jet to the north, a "hole" in the wind shear pattern formed during May off the Southeast U.S. coast, and this is where both Alberto and Beryl were able to form. Their formation was aided by the fact ocean temperatures off the U.S. East coast are quite warm--about 1 - 2°C above average. A wind shear "hole" is predicted to periodically open up during the next two weeks off the Southeast U.S. coast, making that region the most likely area of formation for any first-half-of-June tropical storms. However, none of the reliable computer models are predicting tropical storm formation in the Atlantic between now and June 8.

May ocean temperatures in the tropical Atlantic are approximately the third coolest we've seen since the current active hurricane period began in 1995. SSTs in the Main Development Region (MDR), between 10 - 20°N latitude, from the coast of Africa to the Central America, were about 0.35°C above average in May, according to NOAA's Coral Reef Watch. Tropical storm activity in the Atlantic is strongly dependent on ocean temperatures in this region, and the relatively cool temperatures imply that we should see a delayed start to development of tropical waves coming off the coast of Africa and moving into the Caribbean, compared to the period 1995 - 2011. An interesting feature of this month's SST departure from average image (Figure 2) is the large area of record-warm ocean temperatures off the mid-Atlantic and New England coasts, from North Carolina to Massachusetts. Ocean temperatures are 3 - 5°C (5 - 9°F) above average in this region. This makes waters of much above-average warmth likely to be present during the peak part of hurricane season, increasing the chances for a strong hurricane to affect the mid-Atlantic and New England coast.

The upper-level jet stream pattern is critical for determining where any tropical storms and hurricanes that form might go. Presently, these "steering currents" are in a typical configuration for June, favoring a northward or northeastward motion for any storms that might form. However, steering current patterns are fickle and difficult to predict more that seven days in advance, and there is no telling how the steering current pattern might evolve this hurricane season. We might see a pattern like evolved during 2004 - 2005, with a westward-extending Bermuda High, forcing storms into Florida and the Gulf Coast. Or, we might see a pattern like occurred during 2010 - 2011, with the large majority of the storms recurving harmlessly out to sea. That's about as helpful as a weather forecast of "Sho' enough looks like rain, lessen' of course it clears up," I realize.


Figure 2. Departure of sea surface temperature from average for May 31, 2012. Image credit: NOAA/NESDIS.

Colorado State predicts a slightly above-average hurricane season
A slightly above-average Atlantic hurricane season is on tap for 2012, according to the seasonal hurricane forecast issued June 1 by Dr. Phil Klotzbach and Dr. Bill Gray of Colorado State University (CSU). The CSU team is calling for 13 named storms, 5 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) of 80, which is 87% of average. This is very close to the 1981 - 2010 average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. Hurricane seasons during the active hurricane period 1995 - 2011 have averaged 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes, with an ACE index 153% of the median. The forecast calls for an average chance of a major hurricane hitting the U.S., both along the East Coast (28% chance, 31% chance is average) and the Gulf Coast (28% chance, 30% chance is average). The risk of a major hurricane in the Caribbean is also average, at 39% (42% is average.) The CSU teams expects we will have a weak El Niño develop by the peak of this year's hurricane season in September, which will cut down on this year's activity by increasing wind shear over the Tropical Atlantic. However, there is considerable uncertainty in this outlook.

Analogue years
The CSU team picked four previous years when atmospheric and oceanic conditions were similar to what we are seeing this year: neutral El Niño conditions in April - May and average tropical Atlantic and far North Atlantic SSTs during
April - May, followed by August - October periods that were generally characterized by weak El Niño conditions and average tropical Atlantic SSTs . Those four years were 2009, a quiet El Niño year with only 3 hurricanes; 2001, which featured two major Caribbean hurricanes, Iris and Michelle; 1968, a very quiet year with no hurricanes stronger than a Category 1; and 1953, a moderately busy year with 14 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 4 intense hurricanes. The mean activity for these four years was 11.5 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2.5 intense hurricanes.

How accurate are the June forecasts?
The June forecasts by the CSU team between 1998 and 2009 had a skill 19% - 30% higher than a "no-skill" climatology forecast for number of named storms, number of hurricanes, and the ACE index (Figure 3). This is a decent amount of skill for a seasonal forecast, and these June forecasts can be useful to businesses such as the insurance industry and oil and gas industry that need to make bets on how active the coming hurricane season will be. Unfortunately, the CSU June 1 forecasts do poorly at forecasting the number of major hurricanes (only 3% skill), and major hurricanes cause 80% - 85% of all hurricane damage (normalized to current population and wealth levels.) This year's June forecast uses a brand new formula tried in 2011 for the first time, so there is no way to evaluate its performance. An Excel spreadsheet of their forecast skill (expressed as a mathematical correlation coefficient) show values from 0.41 to 0.62 for their June forecasts made between 1984 and 2010, which is respectable.


Figure 3. Comparison of the percent improvement over climatology for May and August seasonal hurricane forecasts for the Atlantic from NOAA, CSU and TSR from 1999-2009 (May) and 1998-2009 (August), using the Mean Squared Error. Image credit: Verification of 12 years of NOAA seasonal hurricane forecasts, National Hurricane Center.


Figure 4. Comparison of the percent improvement in mean square error over climatology for seasonal hurricane forecasts for the Atlantic from NOAA, CSU and TSR from 2002-2011, using the Mean Square Skill Score (MSSS). The figure shows the results using two different climatologies: a fixed 50-year (1950 - 1999) climatology, and a 2002 - 2011 climatology. Skill is poor for forecasts issued in December and April, moderate for June forecasts, and good for August forecasts. Image credit: Tropical Storm Risk, Inc.

TSR predicts a near-average hurricane season
The British private forecasting firm Tropical Storm Risk, Inc. (TSR) calls for 12.7 named storms, 5.7 hurricanes, 2.7 intense hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) of 98, which is near average. TSR rates their skill level as 23 - 27% higher than a "no-skill" forecast made using climatology, though an independent assessment by the National Hurricane Center (Figure 3) gives them somewhat lower skill numbers, using a different metric than TSR uses. TSR predicts a 48% chance that U.S. landfalling activity will be above average, a 26% chance it will be near average, and a 26% chance it will be below average. TSR’s two predictors for their statistical model are the forecast July-September trade wind speed over the Caribbean and tropical North Atlantic, and the forecast August-September 2012 sea surface temperatures in the tropical North Atlantic.

TSR projects that 3.6 named storms will hit the U.S., with 1.6 of these being hurricanes. The averages from the 1950-2011 climatology are 3.1 named storms and 1.5 hurricanes. They rate their skill at making these June forecasts for U.S. landfalls at 7 - 11% higher than a "no-skill" forecast made using climatology. In the Lesser Antilles Islands of the Caribbean, TSR projects 1.2 named storms, 0.5 of these being hurricanes. Climatology is 1.1 named storms and 0.5 hurricanes.

FSU predicts a slightly above-average hurricane season: 13 named storms
The Florida State University (FSU) Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS) issued their fourth annual Atlantic hurricane season forecast, calling for a 70% probability of 10 - 16 named storms and 5 - 9 hurricanes. The mid-point forecast is for 13 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and an accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) of 122. The scientists use a numerical atmospheric model developed at COAPS to understand seasonal predictability of hurricane activity. The model is one of only a handful of numerical models in the world being used to study seasonal hurricane activity and is different from the statistical methods used by other seasonal hurricane forecasters such as Colorado State, TSR, and PSU (NOAA uses a hybrid statistical-dynamical model technique.) The FSU forecast has been the best one over the past three years, for predicting numbers of Atlantic named storms and hurricanes:

2009 prediction: 8 named storms, 4 hurricanes. Actual: 9 named storms, 3 hurricanes
2010 prediction: 17 named storms, 10 hurricanes. Actual: 19 named storms, 12 hurricanes
2011 prediction: 17 named storms, 9 hurricanes. Actual: 19 named storms, 7 hurricanes

Penn State predicts a near-average hurricane season: 11 named storms
A statistical model by Penn State's Michael Mann and alumnus Michael Kozar is calling for an average Atlantic hurricane season with 11.2 named storms, plus or minus 3.3 storms. Their prediction was made using statistics of how past hurricane seasons have behaved in response to sea surface temperatures (SSTs), the El Niño/La Niña oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and other factors. The statistic model assumes that in 2012 the current 0.35°C above average temperatures in the MDR will persist throughout hurricane season, the El Niño phase will be neutral to slightly warm, and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) will be near average.

The PSU team has been making Atlantic hurricane season forecasts since 2007, and these predictions have done pretty well:

2007 prediction: 15 named storms, Actual: 15
2009 prediction: 12.5, named storms, Actual: 9
2010 prediction: 23 named storms, Actual: 19
2011 prediction: 16 named storms, Actual: 19

UK Met Office predicts a slightly below-average hurricane season: 10 named storms
The UK Met Office uses a combination of their Glosea4 model and the ECMWF system 4 model to predict seasonal hurricane activity. These dynamical numerical models are predicting a slightly below-average season, with 10 named storms and an ACE index of 90.

NOAA predicts an average hurricane season: 12 named storms
As I discussed in detail in a May 24 blog post, NOAA is calling for 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, 2 major hurricanes, and an ACE index 102% of normal.



NOAA predicts an average Eastern Pacific hurricane season
NOAA's pre-season prediction for the Eastern Pacific hurricane season, issued on May 24, calls for a near-average season, with 12 -18 named storms, 5 - 9 hurricanes, 2 - 5 major hurricanes, and an ACE index 70% - 130% of the median. The mid-point of these ranges gives us a forecast for 15 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 3.5 major hurricanes, with an ACE index exactly average. The 1981 - 2010 averages for the Eastern Pacific hurricane season are 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes. So far in 2012, there have been two named storms. On average, the 2nd storm of the year doesn't form until June 25. We had a record early appearance of the season's second named storm (Bud on May 21.) Bud was also the strongest Eastern Pacific hurricane on record for so early in the year. Records in the Eastern Pacific extend back to 1949.

Western Pacific typhoon season forecast not available yet
Dr. Johnny Chan of the City University of Hong Kong issues a seasonal forecast of typhoon season in the Western Pacific, but this forecast is not yet available (as of June 1.) An average typhoon season has 27 named storms and 17 typhoons. Typhoon seasons immediately following a La Niña year typically see higher levels of activity in the South China Sea, especially between months of May and July. Also, the jet stream tends to dip farther south than usual to the south of Japan, helping steer more tropical cyclones towards Japan and Korea. With the formation of Tropical Storm Mawar today east of the Philippines, the Western Pacific is exactly on the usual climatological pace for formation of the season's third storm.


Figure 5. Time series of the annual number of tropical storms and typhoons in the Northwest Pacific from 1960 - 2011. Red circles and blue squares indicate El Niño and La Niña years, respectively. Note that La Niña years tend to have lower activity, with 2010 having the lowest activity on record (15 named storms.) In 2011, there were 20 named storms. The thick horizontal line indicates the normal number of named storms (27.) Image credit: City University of Hong Kong.

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Quoting K8eCane:
With all due respect, Dr Masters is not the see all end all with weather. He is very good and his name is MASTERS but give the man a break. He is allowed his opinion based on his expertise, but that doesnt make him infallible. It isnt fair to him to put him on such a pedastal.
There's no such thing as infallible in the uncertain science of forecasting cyclones. I think the Dr. would be the first to say so. Again, unless I'm reading wrong, he's not saying he's 100% certain. I still maintain it's a bold statement to say "I wouldn't be surprised". As a betting man, without knowing anything about what was forecast NAO/MJO/shear/SST/patterns, etc. for this particular season, I'd be inclined to take the over if the O/U number was 1 between here and MID-August. But most important imo would be for the Dr. to expound on the quoted statement here.
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Quoting gator23:


a link please...
I don't need to link ya :) post 1044 already took care of that.so has Cyberted and his postings of the model runs from the ECWMF.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17093
1045. ncstorm
Quoting gator23:


a link please...
Linkkquote>

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15683
1044. ncstorm
things may get really interesting off the east coast..C & D storm..never know

00Z run


12Z
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15683
1043. nigel20
BBL!
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1042. gator23
Quoting washingtonian115:
The ECWMF sure loves the east coast this year...


a link please...
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1041. K8eCane
With all due respect, Dr Masters is not the see all end all with weather. He is very good and his name is MASTERS but give the man a break. He is allowed his opinion based on his expertise, but that doesnt make him infallible. It isnt fair to him to put him on such a pedastal.
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The ECWMF sure loves the east coast this year...
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17093
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Well no, that just means it's a deep system. You'll see that later in the season when it shows major hurricanes.


Correct, that means it has a tight circulation with low pressures.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24186
1038. nigel20
Quoting stormpetrol:



Shear has decreased considerably in the W/Caribbean.

The shear has been pretty low in the Tropical Atlantic as well
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

I thought so too but if you zoom your screen way in you'll see some yellow at the center indicating it is at best sub-tropical.

Well no, that just means it's a deep system. You'll see that later in the season when it shows major hurricanes.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32278
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

To my untrained eye, that looks fully tropical.

I thought so too but if you zoom your screen way in you'll see some yellow at the center indicating it is at best sub-tropical.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7839



Shear has decreased considerably in the W/Caribbean.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


I'm not familiar with the exact development of a nor'easter however I am sure that they need much colder air aloft to develop and are extra-tropical in nature. You can usually tell an extra-tropical cyclone from a tropical cyclone on the 500mb heights in the models. For example, look to the 1001mb low by the Azores, you can tell that's extra-tropical where as this appears to be at least sub-tropical or hybrid in nature by the East Coast.

To my untrained eye, that looks fully tropical.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32278
UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.3
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 02 JUN 2012 Time : 210000 UTC
Lat : 18:33:05 N Lon : 124:44:32 E


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
4.8 / 961.4mb/ 84.8kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
4.8 4.8 5.7

Estimated radius of max. wind based on IR : 8 km

Center Temp : -40.0C Cloud Region Temp : -71.0C

Scene Type : EYE
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7839
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


While most people associate Nor'easter storms with winter, these storms can actually form any time of the year. Nor'easter storms are also commonly thought to be storms that move in from the Northeast. Instead, strong Northeast winds within the storm are how the storms are named.

it doesnt have to cold and snowy.


I'm not familiar with the exact development of a nor'easter however I am sure that they need much colder air aloft to develop and are extra-tropical in nature. You can usually tell an extra-tropical cyclone from a tropical cyclone on the 500mb heights in the models. For example, look to the 1001mb low by the Azores, you can tell that's extra-tropical where as this appears to be at least sub-tropical or hybrid in nature by the East Coast.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24186
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Doing well Nigel... Watching the rain come down...
The negative NAO has unfortunately created a block which will be keeping a storm over the Northeast all week so nothing but clouds, showers, wind, and upper 50s/lower 60s for the next week. Oh well... We need the rain.


only a week till the block breaks.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9731
1030. ncstorm
Quoting CosmicEvents:
I don't know what happened to Seagulls, but for some good humor and conviviaility mixed with the weather, you have to go elsewhere.


He was very funny..Havent seen him blog here in a very long time..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15683
Quoting nigel20:

Yes, possibly...how are you doing MA?

Doing well Nigel... Watching the rain come down...
The negative NAO has unfortunately created a block which will be keeping a storm over the Northeast all week so nothing but clouds, showers, wind, and upper 50s/lower 60s for the next week. Oh well... We need the rain.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7839
Quoting charlottefl:
Most seasons with a few exceptions have very little to no activity during the first part of hurricane season anyways. That doesn't however mean the season won't be active however. 2004 for example, Alex formed on July 31st, and we all know how active that year was. Setting aside pre season storms, we may not see anything until August. (Based on climatology that would make pretty good sense)

It would make sense if we weren't slowly headed towards El Niño.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32278
Most seasons with a few exceptions have very little to no activity during the first part of hurricane season anyways. That doesn't mean the season won't be active however. 2004 for example, Alex formed on July 31st, and we all know how active that year was. Setting aside pre season storms, we may not see anything until August. (Based on climatology that would make pretty good sense)
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Mawar up to 80kts at new JTWC advisory... The eye is definitely clearing out, and it appears to be a pinhole :)

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7839
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
I'm a bit surprised to see Dr. Masters saying it is possible/likely we won't see any storms until August... I don't claim to know more than him because I don't but this season is supposed to have a lot of early storms so if we don't get anything until August we could potentially only be looking at 9 or 10 storms, below all the forecasts... I think things will turn more favorable by the end of this month and expect 2-3 more storms before August.

Edit: And I agree with comment 1012... Are we sure that's not a misquote or a quote taken out of context?
Perhaps the Dr. will elucidate us further on the quoted comment. In the meantime, as I read it he's not saying no storms, just that he wouldn't be surprised. Climatologically, it's going out on a limb to say such a thing, even as a possibility. We'll have to see if he refines that possibility further for us, is it 10%, 30%, 50%?
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1024. nigel20
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

That SOI is just not able to stay negative right now... I understand it fluctuates regularly but since we are supposed to be going into El Nino we would expect more prolonged periods of negative SOI... Possibly a sign El Nino may not be arriving as soon as we thought.

Yes, possibly...how are you doing MA?
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Well I kinda hope El nino forms in like august so that we can have some snow this upcoming winter...
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17093
This is just ridiculous here... Nearly the entire country is expected to have below average precip next week... Very rarely do we see patterns set up in a way that the east, midwest, and west are all drier than normal

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7839
Quoting CybrTeddy:



WAY to late in the year to be a nor'easter.


While most people associate Nor'easter storms with winter, these storms can actually form any time of the year. Nor'easter storms are also commonly thought to be storms that move in from the Northeast. Instead, strong Northeast winds within the storm are how the storms are named.

it doesnt have to cold and snowy.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9731
1020. nigel20
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Not seeing any strides to reach El Niño status anytime soon. :P

Agreed!
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


low/noreaster.
Im sticking with that.

overall this whole deep trough, omega block, and lows up the east coast is a very winterlike pattern.



WAY to late in the year to be a nor'easter.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24186
Quoting nigel20:
Daily SOI: 14.76
30 Day SOI:-0.55
90 Day SOI: -2.37

That SOI is just not able to stay negative right now... I understand it fluctuates regularly but since we are supposed to be going into El Nino we would expect more prolonged periods of negative SOI... Possibly a sign El Nino may not be arriving as soon as we thought.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7839
Mawar is huge and very dangerous. Geez! Definitely a monsoonal circulation.



*All images are clickable and will appear in a new window/tab*
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Quoting nigel20:
Daily SOI: 14.76
30 Day SOI:-0.55
90 Day SOI: -2.37

Not seeing any strides to reach El Niño status anytime soon. :P
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32278
Very nasty storm NE of Denver right now producing some 70-80 mph winds and also a building hail core it appears.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7839
1014. nigel20
Daily SOI: 14.76
30 Day SOI:-0.55
90 Day SOI: -2.37
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I'm a bit surprised to see Dr. Masters saying it is possible/likely we won't see any storms until August... I don't claim to know more than him because I don't but this season is supposed to have a lot of early storms so if we don't get anything until August we could potentially only be looking at 9 or 10 storms, below all the forecasts... I think things will turn more favorable by the end of this month and expect 2-3 more storms before August.

Edit: And I agree with comment 1012... Are we sure that's not a misquote or a quote taken out of context?
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7839
looking at the Nat'l Geo. story, can't help but feel Masters was misquoted. something about that just doesn't seem congruent with his approach to information and setting expectations... those really your words Dr. Masters?
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Looks to be tropical for most of the run. We'll need a phase diagram for further support.



low/noreaster.
Im sticking with that.

overall this whole deep trough, omega block, and lows up the east coast is a very winterlike pattern.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9731
Quoting CosmicEvents:
I don't know what happened to Seagulls, but for some good humor and conviviaility mixed with the weather, you have to go elsewhere. Best we can do for hilarious around here nowadays is a 14 year-old who thinks he knows more than Dr. Masters.

You aren't talking about me, are you? I never said, nor do I think, I know more than Dr. Masters. I am correct, however, in saying that wind shear is generally average to below average across the Atlantic. This can be viewed in the graphs below.











2006 (though not the best analogue) reveals what typically happens in a weak El Nio year: lots of activity in the early/middle portions of the season, followed by a sharp decline. That would imply we would get at least 2-3 named storms before August.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32278
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

I think its tropical at first but then transitions to a non-tropical low... It's not very strong while its tropical though... Barely enough to be Chris.


Looks to be tropical for most of the run. We'll need a phase diagram for further support.

Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24186

Quoting Neapolitan:
And yet here you are. Thanks for taking the time to stop by! ;-)

The Whitewater-Baldy fire in New Mexico has now consumed 227,000 acres (354 square miles), adding to its status as the largest wildfire ever in that state (it surpassed the previous title holder, last year's Las Conchas blaze, a few days ago). Containment is up to 15%. The SPC calls for critical conditions to the northwest of the fire on Day 3, but moving closer on Day 4. With luck, firefighters will have the upper hand before conditions worsen by the end of the week.

fire

fire



Worst U.S. Forest Fires


1871
Oct. 8–14, Peshtigo, Wis: over 1,500 lives lost and 3.8 million acres burned in nation's worst forest fire.

1889
June 6, Seattle, Wash.: fire destroyed 64 acres of the city and killed 2 people. Damage was estimated at $15 million.

1894
Sept. 1, Minn.: forest fires ravaged over 160,000 acres and destroyed 6 towns; 600 killed, including 413 in town of Hinckley.

1902
Sept., Wash. and Ore.: Yacoult fire destroyed 1 million acres and left 38 dead.

1910
Aug. 10, Idaho and Mont.: fires burned 3 million acres of woods and killed 85 people.

1918
Oct. 13–15, Minn. and Wis.: forest fire struck towns in both states; 1,000 died, including 400 in town of Cloquet, Minn. About $1 million in losses.

1947
Oct. 25–27, Maine: forest fire destroyed part of Bar Harbor and damaged Acadia National Park. In all, 205,678 acres burned and 16 lives were lost.

1949
Aug. 5, Mann Gulch, Mont.: 12 smokejumpers—firefighters who parachuted near the fire—and 1 forest ranger died after being overtaken by a 200-ft wall of fire at the top of a gulch near Helena, Mont. Three smokejumpers survived.

1956
Nov. 25, Calif.: fire destroyed 40,000 acres in Cleveland National Forest and caused 11 deaths.

1970
Sept. 26, Laguna, Calif.: large-scale brush fire consumed 175,425 acres and 382 structures.

1988
Aug.–Sept., western U.S.: fires destroyed over 1.2 million acres in Yellowstone National Park and damaged Alaska woodlands.

1990
June, Santa Barbara, Calif.: Painted Cave fire burned 4,900 acres and destroyed 641 structures.

1991
Oct. 20–23, Oakland–Berkeley, Calif.: brush fire in drought-stricken area destroyed over 3,000 homes and apartments. At least 24 people died; damage estimated at $1.5 billion.

1994
July 2–11, South Canyon, Colo.: relatively small fire (2,000 acres) led to deaths of 14 firefighters.

2000
April–May, northern N.M.: prescribed fire started by National Park Service raged out of control, destroying 235 structures and forcing evacuation of more than 20,000 people. Blaze consumed an estimated 47,000 acres and threatened Los Alamos National Laboratory.


Summer, western U.S.: as of Aug. 31 nearly 6.5 million acres had burned nationwide, more than double the ten-year average. States hardest hit included Alaska, Calif., Colo., Idaho, Mont., N.M., Nev., Ore., Tex., Utah, Wash., and Wyo.
Spring–Summer, western U.S.: dry conditions led to one of the most destructive forest fire seasons in U.S. history. About 7.2 million acres burned nationwide, nearly double the 10-year average. States hardest hit included Alaska, Idaho, Mont., N.M., Nev., and Ore.

2002
June–early July, mainly western U.S.: Hayman fire in Pike National Forest destroyed 137,760 acres and 600 structures, making it the worst wildfire in Colorado history. In central Ariz., the 85,000-acre Rodeo fire, which had already been declared the worst in Arizona's history, merged with the Chediski fire, destroying 468,638 acres and more than 400 structures. Large wildfires also burned in Alaska, southern Calif., N.M., Utah, Oregon, and Ga.

2003
Oct. 25–29, southern Calif.: 15 devastating forest fires burned for two weeks, primarily in San Diego County, Ventura County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County, forcing more than 80,000 people to evacuate their homes and burning 800,000 acres. More than 15,500 firefighters battled the blazes that killed 24 people and destroyed 3,640 homes. The Cedar Fire in San Diego, which burned through 200,000 acres, was the largest fire in California's history.

2004
July–Aug., Alaska: wildfires in Alaska burned more than 5 million acres, the worst year for Alaska fires.

2006
March 6–7, Texas: more than 200 wildfires in a 24-hour period destroyed 15 homes, killed 10,000 cattle and horses, and burned 191,000 acres. Since December 26th, Texas wildfires have killed 11 people, destroyed 400 homes, and burned more than 3.7 million acres.

2007
Oct. 21–25, southern Calif.: 16 wildfires from Simi Valley to the Mexican border were fanned by 50 to 60 mph winds and burned nearly 500,000 acres. Three people died, 25 firefighters and civilians were injured, and nearly 1,300 homes were destroyed. Over 500,000 people evacuated their homes while nearly 1,000 firefighters fought the flames.

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1007. Patrap
Quoting observing:
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1006. nigel20
Quoting hydrus:
The eye is becoming symmetrical now..

Wow...Mawar is looking very good today!
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1005. nigel20
Good afternoon everyone!
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Quoting CosmicEvents:
I don't know what happened to Seagulls, but for some good humor and conviviaility mixed with the weather, you have to go elsewhere.
And yet here you are. Thanks for taking the time to stop by! ;-)

The Whitewater-Baldy fire in New Mexico has now consumed 227,000 acres (354 square miles), adding to its status as the largest wildfire ever in that state (it surpassed the previous title holder, last year's Las Conchas blaze, a few days ago). Containment is up to 15%. The SPC calls for critical conditions to the northwest of the fire on Day 3, but moving closer on Day 4. With luck, firefighters will have the upper hand before conditions worsen by the end of the week.

fire

fire
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Actually, I'm not so sure. Look at how it develops from the trough, over the Gulf then moves over Florida. That appears to be at least sub-tropical in nature. I've been monitoring this possibility being on the ECMWF and it bears watching. I wish I could pull up a phase-diagram for it, but it ''appears'' to my untrained eyes to be somewhat tropical at least.

I think its tropical at first but then transitions to a non-tropical low... It's not very strong while its tropical though... Barely enough to be Chris.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7839
The ECMWF system might be tropical, it tracks across the N GOM, across FL, and then up the E Coast toward NYC.
It starts as a weak vorticity max at the base of the trough but appears to get left behind.
It would need to transitoin to warm core, but moving north that fast, i dont see it happening.
It looks more like a noreaster.
It is too early to tell what will happen however.

It appears several MCSs will move SE across the Deep South in the coming days, bringing mainly winds, but a possibility for large hail as well.
An isolated brief spinup tornado may also occur as well, depending on how strong helicities can get.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9731
My first thought after reading this blog's topic was, seems silly to post Season predictions after one's already proven that one couldn't even predict that the AtlanticHurricaneSeason would start in May. Nonetheless I'm choosing 2007 as the analog year.

1) Significantly warmer-than-normal Marches followed by a noticeably cooler-than-normal Aprils
2) Nearly matching US tornado totals January thru March: blog2067page10comment477
TropicalAnalystwx13:
3) 2012's TropicalStormAlberto began&ended ~10days*later than 2007's SubTS.Andrea.
Both started and ended off the southernEastCoast without making landfall.
4) 2012's (mostlySub)TS.Beryl began&ended ~6days*earlier than 2007's TS.Barry.
Both were Invested in the northwesternCaribbean.
Both were reclassified as TropicalDepressions about the same distance from Jacksonville,Florida: TD.Beryl to the west after passing, and TD.Barry to the southsouthwest before passing.
Both passed overland as TDs from near Savannah,Georgia past Wilmington,NorthCarolina.

Like I said before, gotta "wonder when apparently random matches should be taken as portents".
2007 also had a fairly busy HurricaneSeason: 17TropicalCyclones, 15NamedStorms, 6Hurricanes, and 2Majors/IntenseHurricanes. But both of those Majors, Dean and Felix, made landfalls as Cat.5s."
So I'm caving in to portents... though I also expect a MUCH smoother spread of TropicalCyclones through the rest of the 2012AtlanticHurricaneSeason instead of 2007's huge clump between midAugust and the end of September.
That's after reading Dr.JeffMasters' thoughts concerning the Atlantic's suppressive effects until August. For me, Alberto and Beryl have(nearly)proven that TropicalCyclones this season will finagle their way into existence during any minor lull in windshear provided that the surroundings aren't suffocatingly dry.
Wouldn't surprise me it it were 17 NamedStorms instead of 2(unnamed)TDs plus 15 NamedStorms.

* ie within their respective HurricaneSeason years.
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TropicalAnalystwx13: Hate Mustard. Hate it.
961 Articuno: How could you?

Brings back heartbreaking memories of when the Colonel ran off with MissScarlet.
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If the ECMWF verifies, we may have something to watch starting next Saturday. Let's see some consistency and other models jump in.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24186
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


The forecast track by JTWC is just east of there but any deviation to the left will be very bad. I join in prayers for those folks.
We have military bases there..
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21418
Quoting Doppler22:

I think it is the guy who covered Hurricane Andrew... The hurricane specialist... i cant think of his name
bryan norcst or something like that
Member Since: June 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 80

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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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