Category 3 Tropical Cyclone Phailin Rapidly Intensifying, Headed Towards India

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:22 PM GMT on October 10, 2013

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Very dangerous Tropical Cyclone Phailin, in the North Indian Ocean's Bay of Bengal, has put on an impressive burst of rapid intensification, going from a tropical storm with 65 mph winds to a formidable Category 3 storm with 115 mph winds in just twelve hours. Satellite estimates of Phailin's strength at 8 am EDT ranged as high as 135 mph. Satellite images show that Phailin, whose name means "a sapphire" in Thai, continues to intensify. The cloud tops of the very intense thunderstorms in the eyewall are expanding and cooling, showing that their updrafts are growing stronger and pushing the clouds higher into the atmosphere. Water temperatures are warm, 28 - 29°C, and the ocean heat content is very high, 80 - 100 kJ/cm^2--a level often associated with rapid intensification. With wind shear low, Phailin should be able to continue to intensify until an eyewall replacement cycle begins. It is very difficult for a tropical cyclone to maintain an eye diameter less than ten miles across before the inner core grows unstable and the eyewall collapses, with a new, larger-diameter eyewall forming from an outer spiral band. This process typically weakens the top winds of a tropical cyclone by 5 - 15 mph, but spreads hurricane-force winds over a larger area of ocean, resulting a larger storm surge, but less wind damage. With Phailin's eye diameter already down to a tiny 9 miles, an eyewall replacement cycle is likely to occur by Friday morning.


Figure 1. MODIS satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Phailin, taken at approximately 07:30 UTC on October 10, 2013. At the time, Phailin had top winds of 75 mph. Image credit: NASA.

Forecast for Phailin
The models are in tight agreement that Phailin will track northwest into the northeast coast of India, with landfall expected to occur between 06 - 12 UTC on Saturday. The 11 am EDT Thursday forecast from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center predicts that Phailin will peak as a top-end Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds 12 hours before landfall. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is predicting that Phailin will be a borderline Category 2/Category 3 storm at landfall. The 06Z Thursday run of the HWRF model predicted that Phailin would be a strong Category 3 storm with 130 mph winds at landfall on Saturday.


Figure 2. Storm surge forecast for Tropical Cyclone Phailin, made on October 10, 2013. The peak surge was predicted to be 87 cm (2.9'). This forecast is likely to be a considerable underestimate of the surge, given Phailin's recent rapid intensification. Image credit: IMD.

The Bay of Bengal is notorious for deadly tropical cyclones
There is good reason to be concerned when a major tropical cyclone forms in the Bay of Bengal. Twenty-six of the thirty-five deadliest tropical cyclones in world history have been Bay of Bengal storms. During the past two centuries, 42% of Earth's tropical cyclone-associated deaths have occurred in Bangladesh, and 27% have occurred in India (Nicholls et al., 1995.) Phailin is likely to be the strongest tropical cyclone to affect India in fourteen years, since the great 1999 Odisha Cyclone. That terrible storm hit Northeast India in the Indian state of Odisha (formerly called Orissa) near the city of Bhubaneswar, as a Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds on October 29, 1999. The mighty cyclone, which peaked at Category 5 strength with 160 mph winds and a 912 mb central pressure shortly before landfall, drove a storm surge of 26 feet (8 meters) onto the coast. The storm stalled just inland, dumping torrential rains on portions of India already saturated from the landfall of Category 4 Tropical Cyclone 04B just twelve days before. The catastrophe killed 9,658 people and left $2.5 billion in damage (1999 dollars), India's most expensive and fourth deadliest tropical cyclone in the past 100 years. Although Phailin is expected to hit the same province of India that the great 1999 Odisha Cyclone hit, Phailin's landfall location is predicted to fall about 100 miles farther to the south, in a region where the coast is not as low-lying. This should keep the death toll due to storm surge much lower compared to the 1999 Odisha Cyclone, where more than 70% of the deaths occurred due to the storm surge. The latest storm surge forecast from IMD (Figure 2) predicts a peak surge under 3', but this is much too low, considering Phailin's recent round of rapid intensification. Phailin's heavy rains will be capable of causing great destruction, as did the rains from the 1999 Odisha cyclone. More than 2,000 of the deaths from that storm occurred due to fresh water flooding in the town of Padmapur, located more than 150 miles from the coast. Deforestation was cited as a contributing cause to these destructive floods that killed 36% of the town's population.

Wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt has a detailed post on India's tropical cyclone history.

References
Nicholls, R.J.N., N. Mimura, J.C. Topping, 1995, "Climate change in south and south-east Asia: some implications for coastal areas," J Glob Environ Eng 1995;1:137–54.



98L in the Eastern Atlantic more organized
A tropical wave (Invest 98L) located about 400 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands is headed west to west-northwest at about 10 mph. Satellite loops show that 98L has a modest area of heavy thunderstorms with a substantial amount of spin. The disturbance is under a moderate 10 - 20 knots of wind shear today, but the shear is expected to rise to the high range, 20 - 30 knots, Friday - Monday, making Thursday the most likely day for development. The UKMET model develops the disturbance into a tropical depression this week, but the European and GFS models do not. In their 8 am EDT Thursday Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave the disturbance 2-day development odds of 50%, and 5-day odds of 50%. 98L's projected west-northwest track is expected take it several hundred miles northeast of the Northern Lesser Antilles Islands by the middle of next week, according to the 00Z Thursday morning runs of the GFS and European models.

Typhoon Nari headed towards the Philippines
In the Western Pacific, Category 1 Typhoon Nari is expected to intensify into a Category 2 storm with 100 mph winds and make landfall on Luzon Island in the Philippines near 12 UTC Friday. Nari will then make a second landfall in Vietnam around 00 UTC on Tuesday.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting 121. StormTrackerScott:


Hurricane Mitch was one of the deadliest hurricanes of All-Time for the Atlantic Basin. Dr Masters dropped the ball on that one.

Hurricane Mitch
Hurricane Mitch was the most powerful hurricane and the most destructive of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season, with maximum sustained winds of 180 mph. Wikipedia
Total fatalities: 19,325
Category: Category 5 Hurricane (SSHS)
Date: October 22, 1998 %u2013 November 5, 1998


The human cost of Hurricane Mitch was enormous. It will probably never be known exactly how many died. As of 19 November 1998* estimates were as follows:-

Honduras: 7000 dead, 8300 missing
Nicaragua: 3000 dead, 2200 missing
Guatemala: 258 dead, 121 missing
El Salvador: 272 dead, 100 missing
Where are you getting your information.? Wiki
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Quoting 120. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
another few weeks anytime after Halloween I reckon first flurries will show


That's when the first flurries usually show.

We also usually get our first accumulating snow in November, but it melts. We usually don't get our first permanent snow until early to mid December.

However a couple years I remember where we did not get a white Christmas. It was just anomalously warm.
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
Quoting 109. NCstu:
why was hurricane Mitch left off the list?


Hurricane Mitch was one of the deadliest hurricanes of All-Time for the Atlantic Basin. Dr Masters dropped the ball on that one.

Hurricane Mitch

Hurricane Mitch was the most powerful hurricane and the most destructive of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season, with maximum sustained winds of 180 mph. Wikipedia
Total fatalities: 19,325
Category: Category 5 Hurricane (SSHS)
Date: October 22, 1998 %u2013 November 5, 1998


The human cost of Hurricane Mitch was enormous. It will probably never be known exactly how many died. As of 19 November 1998* estimates were as follows:-

Honduras: 7000 dead, 8300 missing
Nicaragua: 3000 dead, 2200 missing
Guatemala: 258 dead, 121 missing
El Salvador: 272 dead, 100 missing
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Quoting 118. FunnelVortex:
The GFS dropped my snow potential pretty much, looks like next week's event will just be rain and nothing more.



We need a few more frosts and a couple good cold fronts yet.
another few weeks anytime after Halloween I reckon first flurries will show
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2013OCT10 170000 7.1 920.4 143.0 7.1 7.3 7.4 3.7T/24hr OFF OFF
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The GFS dropped my snow potential pretty much, looks like next week's event will just be rain and nothing more.



We need a few more frosts and a couple good cold fronts yet.
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
Thanks for the update Dr. Masters, and the details on the eye-wall replacement cycle diameters.
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116. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
2013OCT10 170000 5.5 941.0 +0.0 102.0 5.5 6.1 7.5 1.7T/6hr OFF OFF 4.04 -80.10 EYE 17 IR N/A 15.54 -89.52

this would be 100 knots.. See the IMD has the potential to catch up with intensity. =P
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94E:

SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ASSOCIATED WITH A BROAD AREA OF LOW
PRESSURE LOCATED SEVERAL HUNDRED MILES SOUTH OF MANZANILLO MEXICO
HAVE BECOME LESS ORGANIZED SINCE YESTERDAY. HOWEVER...
ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS APPEAR TO BE CONDUCIVE FOR DEVELOPMENT...
AND THIS SYSTEM COULD STILL BECOME A TROPICAL DEPRESSION DURING THE
NEXT DAY OR TWO. THIS SYSTEM HAS A MEDIUM CHANCE...50 PERCENT...OF
BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS...AND A HIGH
CHANCE...60 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE
NEXT 5 DAYS WHILE IT MOVES WEST-NORTHWESTWARD OR NORTHWESTWARD AT
ABOUT 10 MPH.
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
Quoting 113. NCstu:


I meant the list of deadliest storms.
Oh that,I'm not sure,maybe we had a stronger storms than that.
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113. NCstu
Quoting 110. HurricaneAndre:
Because it left so much damage and killed many people,that it was retired off the list so other cyclone won't have the same name,that it felt it was wrong to use that name ever again.


I meant the list of deadliest storms.
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2 PM TWO remains at 50%/50%.

CLOUDINESS AND SHOWERS ASSOCIATED WITH A BROAD AREA OF LOW PRESSURE
IN THE FAR EASTERN ATLANTIC...LOCATED SEVERAL HUNDRED MILES
SOUTHWEST OF THE CAPE VERDE ISLANDS...CONTINUE TO SHOW SIGNS OF
ORGANIZATION. THERE IS THE POTENTIAL FOR A TROPICAL DEPRESSION TO
FORM TONIGHT OR FRIDAY BEFORE UNFAVORABLE UPPER-LEVEL LEVEL WINDS
BECOME ESTABLISHED NEAR THE DISTURBANCE. THIS SYSTEM HAS A MEDIUM
CHANCE...50 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS...AND A MEDIUM CHANCE...50 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A
TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 5 DAYS WHILE IT MOVES WESTWARD TO
WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT AROUND 10 MPH.
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111. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
15.5N 89.7E / Dvorak T5.0

90 knots for the India Meteorological Department at the 20:30 PM advisory that will be issued at 23:30 PM today.
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Quoting 109. NCstu:
why was hurricane Mitch left off the list?
Because it left so much damage and killed many people,that it was retired off the list so other cyclone won't have the same name,that it felt it was wrong to use that name ever again.
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109. NCstu
why was hurricane Mitch left off the list?
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Thanks for the update,
.25 of rain here yesterday.
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Hi Everyone,

A mostly lurker here... just read Dr. Masters update. Hard to imagine hundreds of thousands of people being killed by a hurricane isn't it? How fortunate we are to have the forcasting skills these days!

Maddy
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Yep,enough with Sandy storms.
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Quoting 89. ricderr:
can someone explain how satellite imagery can used as a basis of wind speed?.....


Depending on how much reading you want to do:

THE DVORAK TROPICAL CYCLONE
INTENSITY ESTIMATION TECHNIQUE


Excerpt:

The technique relies on four distinct geophysical properties that relate organized cloud patterns to TC intensity. Two are kinematic, vorticity and vertical wind shear, and two are thermodynamic, convection and core temperature. The strength and distribution of the circular winds (and by implication, vorticity) in a TC organizes the clouds into patterns that Dvorak relates to the MSW. External (environmental) shear is a kinematic force that acts to distort the vorticity (and hence, the cloud pattern).

Dvorak found that the degree of distortion was also related to the MSW. Convection in the bands of the outer core of the cyclone also figures in the cloud pattern recognition and scene type assignment. Using satellite-measured IR cloud-top temperatures in the TC inner core, the technique relates convective vigor to intensity.
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Quoting 103. HurricaneAndre:
This year's and last year's predictions were switched on accident.


Sure seems like it, however, I can go without another sandy this year....
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
This year's and last year's predictions were switched on accident.
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Quoting 101. HurricaneAndre:
Expect a percentage drop in 30-45 minutes.


Yes, I would put it at 20/30 now instead of the 50/50 NHC has on it right now.
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Quoting 100. Torito:



The shear is coming, it is going to look much worse than that soon.
Expect a percentage drop in 30-45 minutes.
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Quoting 98. HurricaneAndre:

Before

After



The shear is coming, it is going to look much worse than that soon.
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Quoting TheDawnAwakening:



While I agree that the GFS has been rather off kilter this year, it doesn't mean we won't use it for forecasts of winter storms this winter. Although that's a whole new ball game compared to hurricanes, all models have had a hard time forecasting storms this summer and fall. SO its not just one model, its been the whole roost. While climatology plays a rather significant role in the forecasting of number of storms in a season, this summer had the hall marks of an active period of hurricanes, but what was not taken into account was the presence of the very dry air that continued to come off the African Sahara Desert. While in the first part of the hurricane season this is rather normal with a dying off of the dry air during the peak of the hurricane season, this never happened and cut down on the number of storms from AUG through SEP. Therefore we are at 11 named storms instead of 16, and at 1 hurricane instead of 5.

True, and I didn't mean to suggest that only the GFS has stumbled this year. See the recently "upgraded" GEM/CMC for even worse performance. The GFS is still performing well as a terrestrial model, picking up both the blizzards and tornado outbreaks earlier this week. That's what's so baffling to me. Other than moving the GFS to a new computer platform, which may be part of the problem, nothing else has really changed, but tropical performance has declined dramatically. Something else has changed about this season compared to previous seasons. I'm not smart enough to figure out what it is, but I hope the scientists can figure it out during the off-season.
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Before

After
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Quoting 92. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
based upon appearance overall presentation cloud temps and structure one can base for previsous cyclones the current intensity and likely winds


Super Typhoon Usagi



02B/MH/P/C4
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Quoting 91. dabirds:
See ya in the Series? '46/'67 result instead of '04 though.

Should be beautiful night for Game 1 of NLDS, some chance of rain Sat though for 2.

Already 77 at noon, and forecast high was 78. Think we'll be above that w/ S winds still coming.
We got to beat Dodgers first though!
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Quoting 89. ricderr:
can someone explain how satellite imagery can used as a basis of wind speed?.....
based upon appearance overall presentation cloud temps and structure one can base for previsous cyclones the current intensity and likely winds
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Quoting 76. TheDawnAwakening:
I just hope people are prepared for this tropical cyclone Phailin.

Also I hope this offshore nor'easter, although weak doesn't bring in any rain for Saturday night as the Red Sox play the winner of the DET/OAK game tonight for game 1 of the ALCS.
See ya in the Series? '46/'67 result instead of '04 though.

Should be beautiful night for Game 1 of NLDS, some chance of rain Sat though for 2.

Already 77 at noon, and forecast high was 78. Think we'll be above that w/ S winds still coming.
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Typhoon 02B

UW-CIMSS Automated Satellite-Based
Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT)
Version 8.1.5
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Estimation Algorithm

Current Intensity Analysis



UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.5
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 10 OCT 2013 Time : 160000 UTC
Lat : 15:36:04 N Lon : 89:38:07 E


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
6.5 / 935.1mb/127.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
6.5 6.9 7.0

Estimated radius of max. wind based on IR : 17 km

Center Temp : +1.6C Cloud Region Temp : -80.5C

Scene Type : EYE

Positioning Method : RING/SPIRAL COMBINATION

Ocean Basin : INDIAN
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : PACIFIC

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : 1.0T/6hr
Weakening Flag : OFF
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF

C/K/Z MSLP Estimate Inputs :
- Average 34 knot radii : 73km
- Environmental MSLP : 1007mb

Satellite Name : MET7
Satellite Viewing Angle : 41.5 degrees


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can someone explain how satellite imagery can used as a basis of wind speed?.....
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Test
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Phailin has likely joined the elite group of Category 5 tropical cyclones.

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Phailin making landfall in 51 hours per GFS.
(EVEN THE EYE IS VISIBLE.)

Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Quoting 83. Patrap:

Phailin



Implying that Phailan will be double the trouble?
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


That is not SHIPS but Statistical Hurricane Intensity Forecast (SHIFOR5).

SHIFOR5 is a simple statistical intensity model that uses climatology and persistence as predictors. In recent years it has been supplemented by the Decay-SHIFOR.


Link

Thank you. I should have clarified the SHIFOR5 rather than the actual SHIPS model. Climatology, persistence, and SST's are still the major components, and it's a very poor model for intensity this far out. The DSHIFOR doesn't even come into play yet, since it's supposed to calculate the effect of a storm's interaction with land, and we have no storm and no really idea what, if any, land 98L may interact with.
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Phailin

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GEM 72 hours.

Hurricane in the EPAC


GEM 102 hours.

Hurricane makes landfall on Baja California.

Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Quoting 73. Sfloridacat5:
Another beautiful day from S.W. Florida. Rainy season is over.


LOL - a not too subtle way of garnering "+s". ;)
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Quoting 75. sar2401:

All true, once we have an actual COC. Until then, the SHIPS gets the same bogus vortex data as the GFS. It also incorporates considerably more climatology than the GFS, and the intensity forecast, by it's own equational models, gives more weight to SST's for intensity than almost any other model.

I would argue that the GFS has considerably less respect this year than previous years for track, but the GFS has an absolutely terrible record when it comes to intensity forecasts, even when the storm is relatively close to landfall. Karen was certainly an example of a considerable margin of error for a near shore storm.



While I agree that the GFS has been rather off kilter this year, it doesn't mean we won't use it for forecasts of winter storms this winter. Although that's a whole new ball game compared to hurricanes, all models have had a hard time forecasting storms this summer and fall. SO its not just one model, its been the whole roost. While climatology plays a rather significant role in the forecasting of number of storms in a season, this summer had the hall marks of an active period of hurricanes, but what was not taken into account was the presence of the very dry air that continued to come off the African Sahara Desert. While in the first part of the hurricane season this is rather normal with a dying off of the dry air during the peak of the hurricane season, this never happened and cut down on the number of storms from AUG through SEP. Therefore we are at 11 named storms instead of 16, and at 1 hurricane instead of 5.
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Even the HWRF is not doing much with 98L

Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
Test
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02B/MH/P/C4



TXIO24 KNES 101524
TCSNIO

A. 02B (PHAILIN)

B. 10/1430Z

C. 15.5N

D. 89.9E

E. ONE/MET-7

F. T6.5/6.5/D3.5/24HRS

G. IR/EIR

H. REMARKS...OW EYE IS EMBEDDED IN...AND SURROUNDED BY...CMG WHICH
RESULTS IN A DT OF 7.0 AFTER 0.5 IS ADDED FOR AN EYE ADJUSTMENT. THE
AVERAGE DT CALCULATED HOURLY OVER THE LAST 6 HOURS ENDING AT 1430Z
WAS 6.75 AND THIS SERVES AS THE BASIS FOR BOTH THE FT AND FOR BREAKING
SEVERAL DVORAK RULES. MET AND PT ARE UNREPRESENTATIVE AT 4.5 AND 5.0,
RESPECTIVELY.

I. ADDL POSITIONS

NIL


...TURK
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I just hope people are prepared for this tropical cyclone Phailin.

Also I hope this offshore nor'easter, although weak doesn't bring in any rain for Saturday night as the Red Sox play the winner of the DET/OAK game tonight for game 1 of the ALCS.
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Quoting TheDawnAwakening:



Actually the SHIPS model is using GFS atmospheric data, so that is not entirely true. It has dynamical support by the GFS a highly regarded global model. While it uses more dynamic elements of the atmosphere within that model's domain, it also incorporates oceanic sea surface temperatures and oceanic heat content, just as a dynamical specialized model uses, like the HWRF and GFDL.

All true, once we have an actual COC. Until then, the SHIPS gets the same bogus vortex data as the GFS. It also incorporates considerably more climatology than the GFS, and the intensity forecast, by it's own equational models, gives more weight to SST's for intensity than almost any other model.

I would argue that the GFS has considerably less respect this year than previous years for track, but the GFS has an absolutely terrible record when it comes to intensity forecasts, even when the storm is relatively close to landfall. Karen was certainly an example of a considerable margin of error for a near shore storm.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40965
Another beautiful day from S.W. Florida. Rainy season is over.
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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.