Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:58 PM GMT on May 15, 2007
All of the major computer models are forecasting the development of a extratropical low pressure system late this week over the Bahama Islands, about 300 miles east of Florida. This low is forecast to develop Thursday night or Friday morning, then move north-northeastward along the East Coast. The models have a wide range of solutions for the intensity and track of this storm, but it appears unlikely that it will have enough time over warm water to become Subtropical Storm Barry. Several of the models predict that the storm will become quite intense and hit New England on Saturday, bringing gale force winds and heavy rain. It's too early to judge the likelihood of this, though.
Figure 1. Hurricane Daniel on July 21, 2006, as seen by NASA's Terra satellite. Daniel was the strongest hurricane to affect the Eastern Pacific in 2006 (Category 4, top winds of 150 mph).
Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins today
Today marks the official start to the hurricane season in the Eastern Pacific. Starting today, NHC will issue their Tropical Weather Outlook for the Eastern Pacific four times daily. The 2-week forecast from the GFS model is not predicting that Tropical Storm Alvin will form in the coming week, but hints that the last week of May could see some development. The International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University is the only group that I am aware of that issues long-range seasonal forecasts for the Eastern Pacific. Their May 2007 forecast calls for a 40% chance of below normal activity (nine or fewer named storms), a 35% chance of normal activity (10-15 named storms), and a 25% chance of an above normal season (more than 15 named storms). The forecast of a less active than usual season is primarily based on their prediction that sea surface temperatures will be below normal in the Eastern Pacific during hurricane season. Unfortunately, they don't provide an easy way to determine how reliable their long-range forecasts are.
I'll have an update on Thursday.
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