An Active Atlantic Hurricane Season Still Predicted by NOAA, CSU, and TSR

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:07 PM GMT on August 09, 2013

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As we stand on the cusp of the peak part of hurricane season, all of the major groups that perform long-range seasonal hurricane forecasts are still calling for an active 2013 Atlantic hurricane season. NOAA forecasts an above-normal and possibly very active Atlantic hurricane season in 2013, in their August 8 outlook. They give a 70% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of an near-normal season, and 5% chance of a below-normal season. They predict a 70% chance that there will be 13 - 19 named storms, 6 - 9 hurricanes, and 3 - 5 major hurricanes, with an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) 120% - 190% of the median. If we take the midpoint of these numbers, NOAA is calling for 16 named storms, 7.5 hurricanes, 4 major hurricanes, and an ACE index 155% of normal. This is well above the 1981 - 2010 average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. Hurricane seasons during the active hurricane period 1995 - 2012 have averaged 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes, with an ACE index 151% of the median.


Figure 1. Tropical Storm Dorian on July 25, 2013, when the storm reached peak intensity--sustained winds of 60 mph. Formation of early-season tropical storms like Chantal and Dorian in June and July in the deep tropics is usually a harbinger of an active Atlantic hurricane season. Image credit: NASA.

NOAA cites five main reasons to expect an active remainder of hurricane season:

1) Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) are above average in the Main Development Region (MDR) for hurricanes, from the coast of Africa to the Caribbean. As of August 9, SST were 0.4°C (0.8°F) above average.
2) Trade winds are weaker than average across the MDR, which has caused the African Monsoon to grow wetter and stronger, the amount of spin over the MDR to increase, and the amount of vertical wind shear to decrease.
3) No El Niño event is present or expected this fall.
4) There have been two early-season tropical storms in the deep tropics (Tropical Storms Chantal and Dorian), which is generally a harbinger of an above-normal season.
5) We are in an active hurricane period that began in 1995.

Colorado State predicts a much above-average hurricane season
A much above-average Atlantic hurricane season is on tap for 2013, according to the seasonal hurricane forecast issued August 2 by Dr. Phil Klotzbach and Dr. Bill Gray of Colorado State University (CSU). The CSU team is calling for 18 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 3 intense hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) of 142. The forecast calls for an above-average chance of a major hurricane hitting the U.S., both along the East Coast (40% chance, 31% chance is average) and the Gulf Coast (40% chance, 30% chance is average). The risk of a major hurricane in the Caribbean is also above average, at 53% (42% is average.)

Analogue years
The CSU team picked five previous years when atmospheric and oceanic conditions were similar to what we are seeing this year: cool neutral ENSO conditions and slightly above-average tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures. Those five years were 2008, a very active year with 16 named storms and 4 major hurricanes--Gustav, Ike, Paloma, and Omar; 2007, an active year with 15 named storms and two Category 5 storms--Dean and Felix; 1996, an above average year with 13 named storms and 6 major hurricanes--Edouard, Hortense, Fran, Bertha, Isidore, and Lili; 1966, an average year with 11 named storms and 3 major hurricanes--Inez, Alma, and Faith; and 1952, a below average year with 7 named storms and 3 major hurricanes. The average activity during these five analogue years was 12.4 named storms, 7.2 hurricanes, and 3.8 major hurricanes.

TSR predicts an above-average hurricane season: 14.8 named storms
The August 6 forecast for the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season made by British private forecasting firm Tropical Storm Risk, Inc. (TSR) calls for an active season with 14.8 named storms, 6.9 hurricanes, 3 intense hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) of 121. The long-term averages for the past 63 years are 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes, 3 intense hurricanes, and an ACE of 103. TSR rates their skill level as good for these August forecasts--47% - 59% higher than a "no-skill" forecast made using climatology. TSR predicts a 58% chance that U.S. land falling activity will be above average, a 26% chance it will be near average, and a 16% chance it will be below average. They project that 4 named storms will hit the U.S., with 1.8 of these being hurricanes. The averages from the 1950-2012 climatology are 3.1 named storms and 1.4 hurricanes. They rate their skill at making these August forecasts for U.S. landfalls just 9% - 18% higher than a "no-skill" forecast made using climatology. 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'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 2013 sea surface temperatures in the tropical North Atlantic. Their model is calling for warmer than average SSTs and near average trade winds during these periods, and both of these factors should act to increase hurricane and tropical storm activity.


Figure 2. 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 3. Comparison of the percent improvement in mean square error over climatology for seasonal hurricane forecasts for the Atlantic from NOAA, CSU and TSR from 2003-2012, 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 2003 - 2012 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.

FSU predicts an above-average hurricane season: 15 named storms
The Florida State University (FSU) Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS) issued their fifth annual Atlantic hurricane season forecast on May 30, calling for a 70% probability of 12 - 17 named storms and 5 - 10 hurricanes. The mid-point forecast is for 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and an accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) of 135. 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 one of the best ones over the past four years:

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
2012 prediction: 13 named storms, 7 hurricanes. Actual: 19 named storms, 10 hurricanes

Penn State predicts an above-average hurricane season: 16 named storms
A statistical model by Penn State's Michael Mann and alumnus Michael Kozar is calling for an active Atlantic hurricane season with 16 named storms, plus or minus 4 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 2013 the May 0.87°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, except for in 2012, when an expected El Niño did not materialize:

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
2012 prediction: 10.5 named storms, Actual: 19

UK Met Office predicts a slightly above-average hurricane season: 14 named storms
The UKMET office forecast for the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, issued May 13, calls for slightly above normal activity, with 14 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and an ACE index of 130. In contrast to the statistical models relied upon by CSU, TSR, and NOAA, the UKMET model is done strictly using two dynamical global seasonal prediction systems: the Met Office GloSea5 system and ECMWF system 4. In 2012, the Met Office forecast was for 10 tropical storms and an ACE index of 90. The actual numbers were 19 named storms and an ACE index of 123.


Figure 4. Total 2013 Atlantic hurricane season activity as predicted by twelve different groups.

NOAA predicts a below-average Eastern Pacific hurricane season
NOAA's pre-season prediction for the Eastern Pacific hurricane season, issued on May 23, calls for a below-average season, with 11 - 16 named storms, 5 - 8 hurricanes, 1 - 4 major hurricanes, and an ACE index 60% - 105% of the median. The mid-point of these ranges gives us a forecast for 13.5 named storms, 6.5 hurricanes, and 2.5 major hurricanes, with an ACE index 82% of average. The 1981 - 2010 averages for the Eastern Pacific hurricane season are 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes.

NOAA predicts a below-average Central Pacific hurricane season
NOAA's pre-season prediction for the Central Pacific hurricane season, issued on May 22, calls for a below-average season, with 1 - 3 tropical cyclones. An average season has 4 - 5 tropical cyclones, which include tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes. Hawaii is the primary land area affected by Central Pacific tropical cyclones.

West Pacific typhoon season forecast not available this year
Dr. Johnny Chan of the City University of Hong Kong usually issues a seasonal forecast of typhoon season in the Western Pacific, but did not do so in 2012 or 2013. 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.

Quiet in the Atlantic this weekend
There are no Atlantic threat areas to discuss today, and none of the reliable models for tropical cyclone formation is predicting development during the coming seven days. However, there are some indications that the atmosphere over the tropical Atlantic will become more conducive for tropical storm formation beginning around August 15. The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), a pattern of increased thunderstorm activity near the Equator that moves around the globe in 30 - 60 days, may move into the Atlantic then, increasing tropical storm formation odds. At the same time, the computer models are indicating an increase in moisture over the tropical Atlantic, due to a series of tropical waves expected to push off of the coast of Africa. There will also be several eastward-moving Convectively-Coupled Kelvin Waves (CCKWs) traversing the Atlantic during that period. These atmospheric disturbances have a great deal of upward-moving air, which helps strengthen the updrafts of tropical disturbances. Formation of the Eastern Pacific's Hurricane Gil and Henriette were aided by CCKWs. These same CCKWs will cross into the Atlantic and increase the odds of tropical storm formation during the period August 15 - 20.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Jeff Masters

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Quoting 1413. opal92nwf:
Me and my family will not evacuate unless it's higher than a Category 3.

What about you?

Will not evacuate unless:
A) Category 1 and above
B) Category 2 and above
C) Category 3 and above
D) Category 4 and above
E) Category 5 and above



I have been through a bunch of storms, including Andrew, Wilma, Charley, Jeanne, Francis, Katrina (south Florida edition), as well as numerous tropical storms. The highest I would ride out again is probably a 3/4, I will never go through another Andrew, and Wilma was pretty terrifying as I was living in a small apartment in Pompano Beach at the time as spent the overnight hours watching my front windows flex with the wind gusts waiting for them to blow out. Now, being in Orlando with a solid concrete block house, hurricane windows, and a new roof, I would be okay with another Wilma/Charley experience.

Fun side note, I remember having just moved back to Orlando when Fay the rainmaker hit. I was living in a low income apartment complex and the flooding was so bad that the parking lots were under 3 feet of water. I was on the second floor, but had no way to leave.
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Quoting 1422. SuperStorm093:
NAVGEM just folded to the GFS having it hit land and blowing it off.

I am going with the EURO and GFS on this for sure.

Tell me more about how good the ECMWF has been with cyclonegenesis.
The GFS is better at sniffing out storms and the ECMWF usually does better once they form. Of course, this year non of the models have been doing particularly great with tropical cyclones, at least in the Atlantic.
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Quoting 1413. opal92nwf:
Me and my family will not evacuate unless it's higher than a Category 3.

What about you?

Will not evacuate unless:
A) Category 1 and above
B) Category 2 and above
C) Category 3 and above
D) Category 4 and above
E) Category 5 and above

Anything after a two I'm gone.Don't want to put my family in danger even though I am fascinated by these storms.

Still can't beleive how Charely ripped that gas station apart and ripped the door of the back of a flat bed truck like it was nothing.
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GFS is still giving at least one Ghost lets see what the next run will show in regards to the gulf system .
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We'll get development of some kind, whether it is just an ordinary area of low pressure, a tropical depression, a tropical storm, or even a hurricane is anybody's guess right now. I've been saying it since the beginning of this week and will not change my forecast of a weak to moderate tropical storm in the GOM. I really would want it to go to Texas to provide some drought relief, but the track has been anywhere from the BOC and into Mexico all the way to the NW coast of FL. But please do not say we aren't going to get development of some kind.

Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8437
1435. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting 1433. Camille33:
cat 4 storm will fit florida panhandle!!
something will be hitting soon and it won't be a cat 4
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Quoting 1433. Camille33:
cat 4 storm will fit florida panhandle!!
That is correct, some time in the future whether it is today or in 2020, a Cat 4 storm will hit Florida. Nice call man. I agree.
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cat 4 storm will fit florida panhandle!!
Member Since: July 2, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 1521
Quoting 1429. GTstormChaserCaleb:
However, it still shows development. That's fine I prefer consistency over inconsistency anyways.
Me to, that is why I will go with the Euro, and all in all, the EURO did good will Dorian showing it a tropical wave in the end.
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1431. marou2
Hey guys, today I bought a rum bottle made in 1989, the year Hugo hit guadeloupe and puerto rico... If I open it... We are all Cursed !!!
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1430. Grothar
As has been written many times before, it is nearly impossible to properly evacuate in most places in Florida. The low lying coastal areas should be evacuated, of course. But it would take days to properly evacuate where the currently have the lines drawn. We got stuck once trying to leave and I most likely would not do it again, unless it was a 4 or 5. I remember during Adrew, it took 10 hours to get from Miami to Orlando and once there, there were no rooms to stay. Luckily the storm did not move more northerly or there would have been thousands stranded in their cars. Anyone remember Rita?
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Quoting 1422. SuperStorm093:
NAVGEM just folded to the GFS having it hit land and blowing it off.

I am going with the EURO and GFS on this for sure.
However, it still shows development. That's fine I prefer consistency over inconsistency anyways.
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8437
Quoting 1420. Stormchaser121:


Those are the 850 Winds, you have to look at the 10 m winds, those are the ones that count, and they show a TD at best, not strong.
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Quoting 1425. ncstorm:
CMC is on it now..




good track I been saying for days this will be the track and not the gfs track!!
Member Since: July 2, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 1521
Quoting 1413. opal92nwf:
Me and my family will not evacuate unless it's higher than a Category 3.

What about you?

Will not evacuate unless:
A) Category 1 and above
B) Category 2 and above
C) Category 3 and above
D) Category 4 and above
E) Category 5 and above



For choice E, what does "above" a Cat 5 hurricane mean? A cat 6?
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1425. ncstorm
CMC is on it now..



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Watch out big storm coming to florida!!
Member Since: July 2, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 1521
The next storm will be like hurricane opal!! It will move ne from the boc!!!
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NAVGEM just folded to the GFS having it hit land and blowing it off.

I am going with the EURO and GFS on this for sure.
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Quoting 1405. washingtonian115:
Still shows troughiness along the east coast.I wonder how that's going to play into the steering currents for storms out in the eastern atlantic.
May depend on the strength of these troughs and how much they weaken the western flank of that ridge, but looking out long range it looks as though the ridge builds in and the trough pattern sets up more along the Central Plains.

Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8437
Member Since: September 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1148
Yet another "forgotten hurricane."
Belle was a pretty little storm
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Quoting 1412. GTstormChaserCaleb:
12z NAVGEM goes into Central America this run which is way different then the 06z run, but it still shows development.


ignore it it is not going there!!
Member Since: July 2, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 1521
Quoting 1399. Grothar:


Yes, they did, and I always had one written by Franklin. Have you ever read Pliny the Younger's account of the eruption of Pompeii.


Yes indeed, many years ago.
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Quoting 1398. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Nothing on the GFS, what happened to the Cape-Verde storm? Not there anymore. Really getting annoyed by this. Highly doubt this verifies.

Link

you need to stop model hugging!!!!!!!!!!
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Quoting 1413. opal92nwf:
Me and my family will not evacuate unless it's higher than a Category 3.

What about you?

Will not evacuate unless:
A) Category 1 and above
B) Category 2 and above
C) Category 3 and above
D) Category 4 and above
E) Category 5 and above



My family says C.
Member Since: July 27, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 501
1414. Grothar
Quoting 1407. MisterPerfect:


That was some active season. What year was that?
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Me and my family will not evacuate unless it's higher than a Category 3.

What about you?

Will not evacuate unless:
A) Category 1 and above
B) Category 2 and above
C) Category 3 and above
D) Category 4 and above
E) Category 5 and above

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
12z NAVGEM goes into Central America this run which is way different then the 06z run, but it still shows development.

Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8437
1411. beell
Quoting 1408. belizeit:
Tropical thunder storms with gust up to 25 mph


It's funny. A broad area of low pressure and precip and the model is a fail because it does not show an increasingly stronger and stronger surface low that initializes in the exact same position on every run.



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Quoting 1398. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Nothing on the GFS, what happened to the Cape-Verde storm? Not there anymore. Really getting annoyed by this. Highly doubt this verifies.

Link


In the loop it has wave now just off African coast moving west into the Caribbean sometimes with a low and other times without it but not developing.
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yeah sorry guys that I did not catch this earlier my internet was down from late last night so don't blame me for being late
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Quoting 1406. beell:
What type of development has the GFS been showing in the Caribbean and Gulf?
Tropical thunder storms with gust up to 25 mph
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1406. beell
What type of development has the GFS been showing in the Caribbean and Gulf? Anybody?
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Quoting 1400. ncstorm:
12z CMC is currently running

Still shows troughiness along the east coast.I wonder how that's going to play into the steering currents for storms out in the eastern atlantic.
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I would not say the GFS has dropped the system yet you still can see it showing a circulation though its very weak
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Think there's a good chance we get a Gulf tropical cyclone this upcoming week. Stronger storm may take the weakness into the east Gulf Coast, weaker storm would move into Mexico.
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Quoting 1398. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Nothing on the GFS, what happened to the Cape-Verde storm? Not there anymore. Really getting annoyed by this. Highly doubt this verifies.

Link

I see we still have a chance of a TX storm?
Member Since: September 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1148
Quoting 1397. SuperStorm093:


EURO is consistently showing nothing. So your going to take FIM over EURO just cause it actually has a storm
And NAVGEM has also been consistent in showing the storm in the Western Caribbean. No offense to the Euro it's a good model for reading the large scale synoptic pattern, but it missed all 4 storms that developed this year.
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8437
1400. ncstorm
12z CMC is currently running

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1399. Grothar
Quoting 1393. LAbonbon:


Me too! But I wouldn't call it a bad habit. Except, now, with the internet, available information can be a bit overwhelming.

I've always been fascinated by records that were kept historically. Sure, some government employees and military guys were expected to keep records. But 'regular' people kept records too. I imagine they weren't all that different from a lot of the folks on this blog, just w/out the fancy technology. I've read quite a bit about historical disasters, and, to me, some of the most interesting info is personal observations that were recorded in journals. Didn't someone post a copy of Thomas Jefferson's weather observations several weeks ago? That was pretty cool, unfortunately I didn't save a link for that...


Yes, they did, and I always had one written by Franklin. Have you ever read Pliny the Younger's account of the eruption of Pompeii.
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Nothing on the GFS, what happened to the Cape-Verde storm? Not there anymore. Really getting annoyed by this. Highly doubt this verifies.

Link
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8437
Quoting 1395. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Unless the FIM completely drops development which I have yet to see on any of its run, I will take that over the inconsistency the GFS has shown from run to run. It just makes sense as a forecaster to look for trends and tendencies. We all know the GFS does this show development of multiple systems one run, drops it the next, and picks it back up again especially as we draw nearer to the event.


EURO is consistently showing nothing. So your going to take FIM over EURO just cause it actually has a storm
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1396. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
11W UTOR INTENSE CYCLONE

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Unless the FIM completely drops development which I have yet to see on any of its run, I will take that over the inconsistency the GFS has shown from run to run. It just makes sense as a forecaster to look for trends and tendencies. We all know the GFS does this show development of multiple systems one run, drops it the next, and picks it back up again especially as we draw nearer to the event.
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8437
Have such a bad feeling about this hurricane season..really hope all have taken this slow time seriously to prepare.
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Quoting 1375. Grothar:


I saved it the first time. It is very interesting and informative. I read everything from matchbook covers to 10 volume books. A bad habit I picked I when I was young.


Me too! But I wouldn't call it a bad habit. Except, now, with the internet, available information can be a bit overwhelming.

I've always been fascinated by records that were kept historically. Sure, some government employees and military guys were expected to keep records. But 'regular' people kept records too. I imagine they weren't all that different from a lot of the folks on this blog, just w/out the fancy technology. I've read quite a bit about historical disasters, and, to me, some of the most interesting info is personal observations that were recorded in journals. Didn't someone post a copy of Thomas Jefferson's weather observations several weeks ago? That was pretty cool, unfortunately I didn't save a link for that...
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1392. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
TPPN12 PGTW 101531

A. TYPHOON 11W (UTOR)

B. 10/1432Z

C. 14.1N

D. 127.7E

E. FIVE/MTSAT

F. T4.5/5.0/D2.0/24HRS STT: S0.0/03HRS

G. IR/EIR

H. REMARKS: 38A/PBO SBC/ANMTN. LLCC EMBEDDED IN LG YIELDS A CF
OF 4.5. MET YIELDS A 4.5. PT YIELDS A 4.0. DBO DT.

I. ADDITIONAL POSITIONS: NONE


BERMEA
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Troughiness to remain along the Southeast which means the wet pattern continues for Florida.

Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8437
Quoting 1325. opal92nwf:

What the bloggers must have been doing that year:


lol one tropical storm all year

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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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