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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Original? Next? What do you mean by 'next'? That would imply you comprehend timelines, which is quite laughable.
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Quoting 1036. mitchelace5:


The possibility of troughs, if any, coming off the coast this year, and/or, any weakening of the western edge of the High.

There are always trofs coming off the coast every year some are stronger then others, but it doesn't matter because if the timing is right one location could be more vulnerable then another. I would not tell an area to let their guard down based on a model run or where storms have hite previously.
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Quoting 1037. Stormchaser121:

What does the blue mean over TX?


Lower anomalies.
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Quoting 1030. CybrTeddy:
00z GFS, 996mb tropical storm in the BoC by 276 hours and a strengthening storm emerging off the coast of Africa by 336 hours and also a 996mb storm at the last frame of the run. While the latter is out in complete fantasy land, it's showing us that the season will probably get going in full gear sometime in the third week of August. I wouldn't doubt is getting Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, and possibly Humberto this month out of this pattern. Dangerous times ahead too, as noted earlier the 500mb pattern being portrayed is particularly unwelcome to those rooting against United States landfalls. Trough situated over the eastern United States with ridging situated over the MDR and north of the islands.

Don't take my word for it though, here's the GFS.


What does the blue mean over TX?
Member Since: September 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1140
Quoting 1034. sporteguy03:

Which is?


The possibility of troughs, if any, coming off the coast this year, and/or, any weakening of the western edge of the High.
Member Since: July 27, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 501
1035. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting 1021. redwagon:
KOTG, the models sure can be a trap.
yes a never ending abyss its better when we get something out there before that its all guidance only
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52230
Quoting 1026. mitchelace5:


Well, it all depends on the steering pattern this year, bro

Which is?
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Quoting 1030. CybrTeddy:
00z GFS, 996mb tropical storm in the BoC by 276 hours and a strengthening storm emerging off the coast of Africa by 336 hours and also a 996mb storm at the last frame of the run. While the latter is out in complete fantasy land, it's showing us that the season will probably get going in full gear sometime in the third week of August. I wouldn't doubt is getting Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, and possibly Humberto this month out of this pattern. Dangerous times ahead too, as noted earlier the 500mb pattern being portrayed is particularly unwelcome to those rooting against United States landfalls. Trough situated over the eastern United States with ridging situated over the MDR and north of the islands.


I guess that trough is stationary?
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Quoting 1031. redwagon:
93, I object to your use of 'fantasy' continually. Programming code is incapable of fantasy, but I guess that probably escapes you.
good one, real original. next
Member Since: July 31, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 925
93, I object to your use of 'fantasy' continually. Programming code is incapable of fantasy, but I guess that probably escapes you.
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00z GFS, 996mb tropical storm in the BoC by 276 hours and a strengthening storm emerging off the coast of Africa by 336 hours and also a 996mb storm at the last frame of the run. While the latter is out in complete fantasy land, it's showing us that the season will probably get going in full gear sometime in the third week of August. I wouldn't doubt is getting Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, and possibly Humberto this month out of this pattern. Dangerous times ahead too, as noted earlier the 500mb pattern being portrayed is particularly unwelcome to those rooting against United States landfalls. Trough situated over the eastern United States with ridging situated over Canada and north of the islands.

Don't take my word for it though, here's the GFS.

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http://www.tropicaltidbits.com/analysis/models/gf sfull/2013081000/gfsfull_pres_wind_atl_81.png

last frame

take it will a grain of salt
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1028. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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1027. JLPR2
This is as real as the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz but at least the GFS didn't end without showing something.

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Quoting 1023. sporteguy03:

Yes of course, so is every state that borders the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean.


Well, it all depends on the steering pattern this year, bro
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1025. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting 1002. JLPR2:
Things change quickly, here are two years that were active but had similar or worse areas of Mid-level dry air out in the ATL.

Current Mid-level dry air:


2007:


2008:


And yes, SAL maps show similar if not worse amounts of SAL...

So don't let your guard down because some SAL is still hanging around in the CATL.


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52230


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Quoting 1018. mitchelace5:


Would I be at risk this year here in southern Florida?

Yes of course, so is every state that borders the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean.
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Quoting 1020. JLPR2:


As other have said, there's no way to be sure of that.


True.
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KOTG, the models sure can be a trap.
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1020. JLPR2
Quoting 1018. mitchelace5:


Would I be at risk this year here in southern Florida?


As other have said, there's no way to be sure of that. The orientation of the high does hint at a higher risk but things change.

For example in 1998 several hurricanes recurved out to sea, but Georges made a mostly westward trek from Africa all the way to the GOM, it's all timing.
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1019. sar2401
Quoting SLU:


Today is August 9th. 90% of the hurricane season still lies ahead.

I always find it interesting to read the frustrated posts about the season being a bust because we haven't had anything good to track in 10 days or so. What's most interesting is we really did have a bust season this year - tornado season. We have had one of the "slowest" tornado seasons ever, with 520 confirmed tornadoes compared to an average of almost 1100 tornadoes. There have only been two EF-5 tornadoes this year, and one of the reasons why many people don't think of the 2013 season as slow is the massive EF-5 in Moore, which killed and injured so many members of our weather community. Now, do we have people posting about the "slow" tornado season and speculating about what might happen next month, or even into the fall? Of course not, but why not? Maybe it's because tornado seasons are so unpredictable that no one issues tornado season forecasts.

With our marginal ability to forecast the numbers of hurricanes in a season, and our less than chance ability to forecast intensity and landfall, maybe it would be better if we didn't have any forecasts. It makes sense, within the scientific community to continue efforts to predict the number and intensity of hurricanes, but do these forecast add any value to the public at large? Do people prepare more if a "hyperactive" season is forecast? Less if a "below average" season is forecast? Does it affect anything done by public safety and emergency management? I don't think so, and I don't see the value in issuing season forecasts. I know this is a controversial position, but issuing seasonal forecasts is not free, and does consume budget dollars that might be better spent elsewhere. I think we'd be much better off to remind people it's hurricane season, list the climatological averages, highlight the areas most often struck by hurricanes, and urge and provide information about preparedness. Since it's "slow" right now, I'd be interested to hear what other people think about this.
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Quoting 1015. JLPR2:


That's what the MJO forecast says. Though I think even with a weak signal the ATL should revive, since that would mean the downward suppressing motion would be gone.


Would I be at risk this year here in southern Florida?
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Except at the VERY end of the run, but thats fantasy land.
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Another run of the GFS, nothing really expect for the BOC but nothing really to crazy with that anyway.

The GFS is VERY consistent with no storms forming in the atlantic.
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1015. JLPR2
Quoting 1013. mitchelace5:


I heard that may happen middle of next week. Am I right?


That's what the MJO forecast says. Though I think even with a weak signal the ATL should revive, since that would mean the downward suppressing motion would be gone.
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Quoting 980. mitchelace5:
So I suppose no US threats this year? Not trying to be bold, just asking...

Every year the US has threats, despite what models show or predictions. And it will probably happen again this year weather doesn't follow the models or predictions.
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Quoting 1012. JLPR2:


We need the MJO to turn positive in our area, that way the suppressing of convection is replaced with uplift and the SAL becomes an unimportant factor since the waves and the ITCZ are more active and they clean it up faster.

SAL is always around.


I heard that may happen middle of next week. Am I right?
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1012. JLPR2
Quoting 1005. mitchelace5:


But isn't the SAL just gonna continue to build into the Atlantic anyways?


We need the MJO to turn positive in our area, that way the suppressing of convection is replaced with uplift and the SAL becomes an unimportant factor since the waves and the ITCZ are more active and they clean it up faster.

SAL is always around.
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Quoting 1008. Gearsts:

Too far south. Needs to be at the central TX coast. Would bring beneficial rains.
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Quoting 894. Doppler22:

She was a beauty
's why I still have her as my avatar... beautiful and terrifying... the scariest storm never to have hit the Bahamas... at the time the image Caleb showed was made, there was still some uncertainty over whether Isabel would take a track closer to Hurricane Floyd's from 1999...

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Quoting 1003. TropicalAnalystwx13:

That's pretty ironic.
Quoting 1007. MississippiWx:


Lololololol.



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1008. Gearsts
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Quoting 1000. VAbeachhurricanes:


Brian, you're a military guy right? Mind if I shoot you an email?


Lololololol.
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1006. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Philippines Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services and Administration

Signal Warnings
================

Signal Warning #1

Luzon Region
-----------
1. Cagayan
2. Isabela
3. Aurora
4. Quirino
5. Catanduanes
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Quoting 1002. JLPR2:
Things change quickly, here are two years that were active but had similar or worse areas of Mid-level dry air out in the ATL.

Current Mid-level dry air:


2007:


2008:


And yes, SAL maps show similar if not worse amounts of SAL...

So don't let your guard down because some SAL is still hanging around in the CATL.


But isn't the SAL just gonna continue to build into the Atlantic anyways?
Member Since: July 27, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 501
Overshooting top in Henriette before sunset.

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Quoting 1000. VAbeachhurricanes:


Brian, you're a military guy right? Mind if I shoot you an email?

That's pretty ironic.
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1002. JLPR2
Things change quickly, here are two years that were active but had similar or worse areas of Mid-level dry air out in the ATL.

Current Mid-level dry air:


2007:


2008:


And yes, SAL maps show similar if not worse amounts of SAL...

So don't let your guard down because some SAL is still hanging around in the CATL.
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Quoting 996. SuperStorm093:


Actually it is VERY reasonable, the SAL is going to be continuing to fluctuate into the Atlantic.


Well that means no Cape Verdes this year then.
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Quoting 984. BaltimoreBrian:


We had Andrea. Killed 3 people in the USA too.


Brian, you're a military guy right? Mind if I shoot you an email?
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OF course nobody wants the destruction, havoc and death hurricanes cause on society. I love the fact that mother nature is her own entity and mother nature is something mankind will never conquer.

My infatuation with meteorology stems from the fact that if a Hurricane is coming, there is nothing anyone can do but get out of the way. Some people wish cast storms. I personally believe the ones that do either have never experienced one in their lifetime or forgot what it was like. It isn't pleasant but that doesn't dismiss the beauty of tracking storms. Hurricanes are amazing things. There is nothing like it in this world and we still do not understand all the physics involved. Every storm is different and every storm has it's own mind.

Given the above; the only way we can learn and gather data to enable us to forecast situations in the future is to experience and intercept storms with measuring tools to gather data. Doing this allows scientists and meteorologist to gather data and provide better forecasting as well as earlier warnings for people that are not aware of the situation. Unfortunately, to be able to do this, lives will be lost at some point.
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998. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #12
Typhoon Warning
SEVERE TROPICAL STORM UTOR (T1311)
12:00 PM JST August 10 2013
===================================

SUBJECT: Category Two Typhoon Named Cyclone In Sea East Of The Philippines

At 3:00 AM UTC, Severe Tropical Storm Utor (975 hPa) located at 13.8N 129.9E has 10 minute sustained winds of 60 knots with gusts of 85 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west at 10 knots.

Storm Force Winds
===================
40 NM from the center

Gale Force Winds
==================
120 NM from the center

Dvorak Intensity: T3.5

Forecast and Intensity
=========================
24 HRS: 15.2N 126.3E - 75 knots (CAT 3/Strong Typhoon) Sea East Of The Philippines
45 HRS: 17.4N 124.2E - 80 knots (CAT 3/Strong Typhoon) Sea East Of The Philippines
69 HRS: 19.9N 120.2E - 85 knots (CAT 4/Very Strong Typhoon) Bashi Channel
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.
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Quoting 994. JLPR2:
So far this GFS run has been unable to hold on to a low pressure area and develop it.

We'll see, I'm pretty sure it'll start showing tropical activity next week as the third and fourth weeks of August close in on us.


Actually it is VERY reasonable, the SAL is going to be continuing to fluctuate into the Atlantic.
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Quoting 994. JLPR2:
So far this GFS run has been unable to hold on to a low pressure area and develop it.

We'll see, I'm pretty sure it'll start showing tropical activity next week as the third and fourth weeks of August close in on us.



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994. JLPR2
So far this GFS run has been unable to hold on to a low pressure area and develop it.

We'll see, I'm pretty sure it'll start showing tropical activity next week as the third and fourth weeks of August close in on us.
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Wow, another run of the GFS to me looking to come in very boring, you guys have to really think how both the EURO and GFS are completely wrong, and I find that hard to be.
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Quoting 991. Civicane49:
Eye becoming obscured by the recent convective burst to the south.

when it clears out it will be on the verge of major status
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Eye becoming obscured by the recent convective burst to the south.

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11W UTOR MODERATE RI CYCLONE WARNING
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About JeffMasters

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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