National Hurricane Conference news

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:58 PM GMT on April 05, 2007

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At the National Hurricane Conference in New Orleans this week, scientists from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) took the opportunity to unveil some changes for the upcoming season--and plea for more funding. New NHC chief Bill Proenza repeated his call for a replacement for the aging QuikSCAT satellite, which measures surface winds over ocean areas. Data from this satellite improves hurricane forecasts by 10-16%, he said. Proenza has been vocal about the need for increased funding for hurricane research and operations early in his tenure at NHC, which I welcome wholeheartedly.

New cone of death, new storm surge product
NHC will be modifying the cone of uncertainty that appears around their forecast hurricane tracking maps in 2007. The new cone uses average errors from the past five years of official NHC forecasts. The cone is sized so that storms will fall inside the cone 2/3 of the time, based on these past five years of forecast errors. The old cone simply used the forecast track error averaged over the past ten years of NHC forecasts. The new cone will be about the same size as the old cone for 12-72 hour forecasts, and about 15-25 miles wider beyond that time. Wunderground.com will change their track maps to follow the NHC convention.

The NHC also announced that a new experimental "probabilistic storm surge" product will become available this year. The graphic will show the odds that a storm surge of 5, 10 or 15 feet will affect the coast. The forecast comes from NHC's SLOSH storm surge computer model.


Figure 1. Sample of the new Probabilistic Storm Surge product from NHC, for Hurricane Dennis of 2005.

New Orleans wunderblogger Patrap is at the National Hurricane Conference, and has more info on the conference, for those interested.

Madagascar appeals for aid
Tropical Cyclone Jaya, the sixth tropical cyclone to affect the island of Madagascar this season, has killed three people and caused substantial damage. Jaya hit northern Madagascar as a Category 1 storm earlier this week. The island is suffering through its worst cyclone season on record, and has issued repeated pleas to the international community for aid.

New restrictions on what NOAA scientists can say
NOAA climate, weather and marine scientists will be subject to new restrictions as to what they can say to the media or in public, according to a new policy directive scheduled to take effect in May. I read through the new directive and found it confusing, so I'm not sure what the practical effect of the new guidelines will be. I'll check in later this year with NOAA scientists who might be affected to see if the new policy has had any impact.

My lecture in the Tampa Bay area next week
I'll be giving a free public lecture on Friday, April 13, at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. The title of the talk will be, "A Preview of the 2007 Atlantic Hurricane Season--and the Story of a Flight into Hurricane Hugo." The details:

Friday April 13, 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Fox Hall
Eckerd College
4200 54th Avenue S
St. Petersburg, FL 33711

Here's a map of where Eckerd College is. I hope to see some of you there! I'll have time after the talk to chat. You can email me at jmasters@wunderground.com if you have comments about my appearance. Check my blog next Thursday to see if there are any late changes to the talk's time or location, but I'm not anticipating that there will be.

My next blog will be Friday or Saturday. I'll discuss Part 2 of the landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 report, which will be released Friday.

Jeff Masters

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259. Patrap
10:48 PM GMT on September 25, 2007
Fujiwhara Effect defined...Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127874
258. Patrap
9:14 PM GMT on April 06, 2007

Area forecast discussion
National Weather Service New Orleans la
339 PM CDT Friday Apr 6 2007


Short term...
secondary shot of colder air now approaching the area...as
signaled by cold air stratocumulus clouds...an increase in the
winds and lower dewpoints. Dewpoints as low as the lower teens
already in southwest Missouri. Going to be a chilly short term
forecast package.


We should see plenty of clouds through the weekend. Cloud cover
tonight should hold temperatures just above freezing in all areas
by a few degrees. Shortwave moving out of Texas will approach the
area Saturday afternoon and evening. Isentropic charts at 290k
show enough lift to trigger precipitation...although it will be
falling into a dry lower layer. This will set up Saturday nights
forecast problem.


While most precipitation should be off the coast...still expect
light precipitation to fall across most of the area. NAM soundings
have been consistent in showing the precipitation to be frozen
along and north of the Interstate 10/12 corridor toward sunrise
Sunday morning. Question will be the surface temperatures.
Freezing temperatures are an exceedingly rare event in our County Warning Area in
April. Mav guidance shows subfreezing temperatures at mcb...btr
and gpt Sunday morning...which would be below or near all time
record lows for the month of April. Met guidance has similar
numbers. Will go somewhat conservative...and mention some
potential for sleet along and north of the Interstate 10/12
corridor...and hold lows close to freezing.



Sunday will be a raw...damp day...especially early. We should see
enough warming for all precipitation to be liquid in all areas.
Will go close to MOS guidance on high temperatures...but would not
be shocked if these need to be lowered in later forecasts.


Plan on issuing Special Weather Statement with zone package highlighting unseasonably
cold weather for the Easter weekend
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127874
257. Tazmanian
8:49 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
Single Storm Records:

Strongest Atlantic hurricane ever: Wilma, 882 mb central pressure. Old record: Hurricane Gilbert (1988), 888 mb.
Fastest intensification ever by an Atlantic hurricane: Wilma. Wilma's pressure dropped 97 millibars in 24 hours Previous record: Gilbert (1988) dropped 72 mb in 24 hours. Wilma's pressure fell 54 mb over six hours, beating Hurricane Beulah's drop of 38 mb in six hours in 1967. Wilma's 12 hour pressure fall of 83 mb beat the old 12 hour pressure fall record of 48 mb set by Hurricane Allen in 1980.
Most damaging hurricane ever: Katrina, $100 billion plus. Old record: Hurricane Andrew (1992), $50 billion in 2005 dollars.
Greatest storm surge from an Atlantic hurricane: Katrina, 28-30 feet. Old record: Hurricane Camille (1969), 24.6 feet.
Dennis became the most intense hurricane on record before August when a central pressure of 930 mb was recorded.
Emily eclipsed the record previously set by Dennis for lowest pressure recorded for a hurricane before August when its central pressure reached 929 mb.
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114965
256. weatherboykris
8:48 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
Emily was just barely a Cat 5.Wilma was well within the boundaries of Cat 5,and if there was such a category,would've been Cat 6.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
255. weatherboykris
8:47 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
No they weren't.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
254. Tazmanian
8:45 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
i think Emily and Wilma where the same
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114965
253. weatherboykris
8:42 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
It looks like it will be stronger,but that's not much better than a geuss right now.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
252. weatherboykris
8:41 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
No Taz,a 4.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
251. StoryOfTheCane
8:41 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
is the High supposed to be any stronger or weaker this season?
250. Tazmanian
8:41 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
did it hit Yucatan has cat 5?
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114965
249. hurricane23
8:40 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
Making landfall in florida.


Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13761
248. weatherboykris
8:39 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
No,a 4 Taz.And it was moving around an area of high pressure.That's why it hit the Yucatan.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
247. StoryOfTheCane
8:39 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
who is the hot chick on the horse? Caribbean Queen...

246. hurricane23
8:35 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
Here is a visible pic of katrina at 17:15Z.


Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13761
245. cajunkid
8:35 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
Could we really have a rain/sleet mix Sunday in south Louisiana? WOW
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1279
244. Tazmanian
8:35 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
what made it go in to Yucatan and not FL at 1st and did Wilma make land fall in Yucatan has cat 5?
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114965
243. weatherboykris
8:33 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
Nice pic,H23.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
242. hurricane23
8:32 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
Had Wilma's core not have collapsed, many more people would have received destructive conditions than would have received a major cane.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13761
241. weatherboykris
8:32 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
It is unusual.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
240. hurricane23
8:30 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
Different faces with wilma.


Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13761
239. cajunkid
8:29 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
This is a very unusual forecast for south Louisiana

Link
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1279
238. weatherboykris
8:29 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
But,you're right about Katrina.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
237. weatherboykris
8:28 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
No,H23,you're wrong about Wilma.That tight inner core woulda been ripped apart by shear.It needed to be big if it was to make it to major hurricane status in the GOM.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
236. hurricane23
8:27 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
If Katrina would have 12-18 more hours over water before it struck florida things would have been very dffererent.Remember katrina was at 45KT the morning of Aug 25. When it crossed the coast at about 23Z, it had increased to 70KT and a tight inner-core had formed.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13761
235. Tazmanian
8:26 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
what made it go in to Yucatan and not FL at 1st and did Wilma make land fall in Yucatan has cat 5?
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114965
234. hurricane23
8:24 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
Had Wilma not lost its inner-core over the Yucatan, it probably would have hit Florida as a 4 or a 5 and would have been even worse.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13761
233. weatherboykris
8:24 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
Yeah.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
232. Tazmanian
8:22 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
sea temps going up?
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114965
231. weatherboykris
8:22 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
Yeah,exactly.You can have a worse season than '05 without as many total storms.Actually,'05 wouldn't have been much worse than '04 if not for Katrina.If a Cat 4 strikes Southeast Florida,losses will be much worse than '05.Or,at least as bad.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
230. hurricane23
8:20 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
Of course not kris because you cant compare the 2005 season to any season in recent memory.The atmospheric conditions that were in place with wilma were ones ive never seen which gave way to the monsterous pressure drop.

One very important thing to keep in mind is if this season gives way to a few majors making landfall in heavily populated areas this season will turn out worse then 2005.If a major hurricane were to strike southeast florida meaning miami dade and broward counties the damage would be incredible.Look what CAT1 with some brief gusts to CAT2 did to miami with wilma.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13761
229. weatherboykris
8:16 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
Ad don't pay attention to those cold anomalies near Florida.Days and days of 90 degree temps will erase those by May.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
228. Tazmanian
8:16 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
well this year we will hae low wind shear not march dry air and no dust
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114965
227. weatherboykris
8:13 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
Still well above average.

Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
226. weatherboykris
8:12 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
I don't think that any season...not for a while anyway(50 years or so maybe) will have the same SSTS and heat content as 2005 had.That being said,SST this year are still well above average,and you can't diminish them just because they don't match those of '05.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
225. hurricane23
8:08 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
Whats your thoughts on the maps kris?
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13761
224. Hellsniper223
8:07 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
Good god... big post.
Member Since: March 28, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 16
223. weatherboykris
8:07 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
what is it?
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
222. cajunkid
8:07 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
Link
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1279
221. Tazmanian
8:04 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
next time cajunkid link it not post the oh thing
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114965
220. hurricane23
8:02 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
Link it.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13761
218. hurricane23
7:40 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
Kris here are a few maps showing heat content across the atlantic.Quite a difference from the record breaking 2005.

(April 5,2005)



(April 5,2007)

Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13761
217. Hellsniper223
7:31 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
90L?
this is off of FL E coast


Not yet, but that looks to me like a very bad omen. Even worse, if you look to the northern part of the storm in that frame, the clouds form what looks like a 3 and then just southeast of that a 0... Taz... God thinks 30 too.
Member Since: March 28, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 16
216. TheCaneWhisperer
7:09 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
Over 72 hours is a crapshoot anyway!
215. TheCaneWhisperer
7:07 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
The new error cone will stretch from Texas to Maine and all points between, lol. The only thing that's changing is beyond 72 hours. Look at Ernesto over 72 hours, that was horrid. They had Texas to North Carolina and all points between.
214. airman45
7:02 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
Living in Switzerland, really nothing to do with hurricanes. But I got interested somehow und now I'm addicted. Still learning though, therefor I read this blog and refrain - until now - from comments.<em>

Good evening, Starwoman from Switzerland. Glad to hear from a neighbor, although not a very nearby one. I have also been reading but never commenting for about a year and a half until a few days ago. The "regulars" on here are great, arenīt they?
Member Since: April 2, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3506
213. airman45
6:54 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
As long as a scientist speaks in a personal capacity they can voice what they want, but if they are speaking in an setting where it may be construed as an official statement they have to follow certain rules. Those rules are set by the agency.

Absolutely correct. Having been in the military for 20 years one thing we are told is to NEVER speak to the press about any ongoing event. We must refer them to the Public Affairs office. This is because any opinion we give may be misconscrued as a fact or opinion of the entire service by the general public.
Member Since: April 2, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3506
212. gippgig
6:41 PM GMT on April 06, 2007
Since the accuracy of track forecasts is improving the average error in the past five years should be less than the average error over the past 10 years. So why will the new error cones be LARGER than the old ones?
Member Since: December 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 64

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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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