Probe recommends Proenza's permanent removal; Atlantic and Hawaiian tropical update

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:11 PM GMT on July 20, 2007

At a Congressional hearing yesterday, results of the independent probe sent by NOAA to investigate management problems at the National Hurricane Center were presented by Dr. Jim Turner. Dr. Turner is deputy director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and was leader of the independent team of five people sent to NHC on July 2. Their report (Attachment 9) recommended the permanent removal of Bill Proenza as director of NHC (also called the Tropical Prediction Center, or TPC):

"The current TPC director should be reassigned and not be allowed to return to his position at the center. This should be done due to his failure to demonstrate leadership within the TPC rather than his public statements about the QuikSCAT satellite or NOAA leadership."

In his testimony, the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Conrad Lautenbacher, presented some very damaging evidence against Mr. Proenza. Lautenbacher's written testimony includes a letter (Attachment 2) providing a detailed description of a conference call requested by 11 NHC employees (including 7 of 9 of the hurricane forecasters), with the acting head of the National Weather Service, Mary Glackin. If you want to better understand the NHC controversy, read Attachment 2 describing what was said during the June 19 meeting.

I'll make one more post this afternoon analyzing the science of what was presented at the Congressional hearing. Then, it's time to let this issue fade until the next Congressional hearing on the issue, tentatively planned for December or January. The tropics are starting to heat up, and it's time to focus on the coming hurricane season.

Tropical wave near Puerto Rico
A tropical wave near Puerto Rico is spreading clouds and thunderstorms over a wide area of the Eastern Caribbean, northern Lesser Antilles Islands, and surrounding waters. This wave is under about 20-30 knots of wind shear, thanks to the presence of an upper-level low pressure system to its northwest (Figure 1). This upper low is expected to stay in place an continue to bring hostile wind shear to the area the next few days. I don't expect the shear will allow anything to develop from this tropical wave.

Figure 1. Water vapor image from this morning showing the tropical wave near Puerto Rico, and the upper level low with dry air (dark colors) to its northwest. This upper level low sucking in moist air from the tropical wave, and is bringing hostile wind shear of 20-30 knots over it.

We will need to watch the waters off the Carolina coast on Saturday, when a cold front is expected to push off the coast. Most of the models are predicting the formation of a low pressure system along the tail end of this front by Sunday. This low may be an ordinary extratropical storm--or possibly a subtropical storm--due to the presence of high wind shear. NHC has put a Hurricane Hunter aircraft on standby to investigate the region on Sunday afternoon, if necessary. Even if the low is extratropical, it may be able to suck up plenty of tropical moisture and douse the mid-Atlantic coast and/or New England with heavy rains as early as Monday.

Cosme to skirt Hawaii
Residents of the Hawaiian Islands can relax a bit now, as it appears that Tropical Depression Cosme, will pass well south of the Big Island on Saturday. The edges of the outermost spiral bands will probably bring rains of 1-3 inches to the east side of the Big Island. Wind shear has fallen to 5-10 knots, and ocean temperatures are beginning to warm to 80F under the storm, and I expect Cosme will regain minimal tropical storm strength by Saturday. Satellite imagery of the storm shows that the amount of heavy thunderstorm activity has remained about constant so far today.

Jeff Masters

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319. weatherblog
9:14 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Posted By: TropicalMan07 at 8:45 PM GMT on July 20, 2007.

i have a feeling if the half of the wave that is heading west that broke off the wave in the east carribean gets into the gulf it will explode and become major.

That is very unlikely, because that wave, also, is battling a ULL. Not to mention has no low at the sfc and the wave has little to no convection. And, to make it harder, the GOM may be increasing with shear in the following week or two...I would be watching the other wave above Puerto Rico. When the ULL moves, it could move into the Bahamas and develop. Though it probably won't happen, just gotta keep an eye on it.
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318. CJ5
8:57 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Posted By: jphurricane2006 at 8:10 PM GMT on July 20, 2007.
here is what I find funny about all this
I looked back at the debate we are having and I seem to be the only one who is stating proof and facts on my side of the argument
all of you who have debated against me have just stated he was being a dictator and what he did but showed absolutely no proof behind it
go look back everyone and see who has put out the most evidence to their argument

anyway im out

jp, you are exactly correct. I have seen nothing from Bill's detrators except statements that he was a mean boss, blah, blah, blah. No specifics at all. Masters mentioned over 2000 emails from staff that Proenza never answered, yet I see nothing in any testimony posted about that. Is that true? I do not know but I still see the indians at the NHC going out of thier way to paint everything in thier favor. Seems like they need to get to forecasting and quit giving interviews.

Oh, and one thing that still sticks in my craw is the quote from Avilla " I was stopped in the grocery store by a woman who asked me if it was true we were not able to predict storms like we use to" Give me a break! There are several at the NHC that have an overly high sense of themselves.
Member Since: July 4, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1755
317. weatherblog
9:00 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
I mean, c'mon. Nothing seems to be forming, as nothing will be until August. The wave off africa has to face dry-air; the Puerto Rican wave is battling the ULL...and the only way we can see "some" development from it, is if it gets away from the ULL.

The southern part of the wave is in the caribbean and, that too, won't develop becasue of that other ULL and lack of convection. Simple as that.

The best threat of development in the up-coming week is from a stalled trough off of the Carolinas in a few days. Even that, though, may not develop tropically and become Chantal, because of high wind shear and cooler waters. But, still, probably the best thing to watch, as of now...

Other than that, I would watch the African Coast when some SAL and shear/dry-air weakens as forecasted...maybe we can have our first CATL storm around the first week of August...

Let's just wait and see, like always..
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316. flaboyinga
8:11 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Have any of the "war parties" in the NHC debate
read the transcripts linked in Dr. Master' report
on the hearing? There appears to be more to the
story than meets the Press. How about a follow up
synopsis on the subject from Dr. Masters.
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314. BahaHurican
4:23 PM EDT on July 20, 2007
Posted By: MisterPerfect at 3:56 PM EDT on July 20, 2007.

A man that couldn't listen to the people entrusted to serving the public's interest. A showboat. The type that lets authority go to their heads.

Sounds like he's better suited for Congress or the White House.

Wouldn't be the first time it happened, either. About 120 years ago, the president fired a guy for cronyism. He became the next president.
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313. ustropics
7:57 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
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312. moonlightcowboy
8:19 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Proof, Jp? "Go back and look everyone," you said. That's not telling the whole truth, Jp. You're getting very defensive with your debate.

The "proof" that the man can't lead was "evidenced" by the great number of employees who cited from their long time scientific and professional observations. No one wants to work for a jerk!

Let it rest, man! The guy is G O N E!

Let's get back on the weather. Stop dropping sorted facts and inuendo!
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29617
311. quakeman55
8:23 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
New blog...
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309. MichaelSTL
3:21 PM CDT on July 20, 2007
ULLs? I think they are always present; 2005 had a lot of ULLs as well, which can even be good for storms:

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308. WPBHurricane05
4:20 PM EDT on July 20, 2007
Good reason to become a politician. I'd probably be better than the clowns they have now.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
307. MisterPerfect
8:18 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
..not to mention over $50,000.00 in tax free income every year you live until you die paid by Joe and Jane Shcmo Taxpayer
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306. MisterPerfect
8:17 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
And we don't need a civics lesson on a weather blog about the fact that once elected to the Senate, you never have to pay taxes EVER again.
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305. Fshhead
8:14 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
So let me ask my question again from earlier lol
Where are these ULL'S coming from cause they were around last year same way & just buzzsawed any tropical system. Also it is sitting in where I had heard from here right where the Bermuda high supposed to be setup???
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304. MisterPerfect
8:10 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
I originally said to stop the Witch Hunt, JP. Meaning, Proenza has already been lambasted by the media and his employees. Now its Washington's turn to crack the whip. I have also been paying attention to this calamity over the last 4 or 5 weeks. Senior Senator Bill Nelson (D) from Floida has flip-flopped 3 times over the Proenza ordeal...IN WRITING DIRECTLY FROM HIS OFFICE. If you want proof, contact his office, I'm too lazy to find a link for you, but its there if ya dig. This is just another steaming pile of beauracracy and its sad that at the end of the rope is the tax payers who are certainly the first to fall.
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301. WPBHurricane05
4:10 PM EDT on July 20, 2007
Uh oh that was a political statement.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
300. WPBHurricane05
4:10 PM EDT on July 20, 2007
I would vote Proenza over the clowns that run any day.
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296. MichaelSTL
3:05 PM CDT on July 20, 2007
2001 activity:
June = 1 storm
July = 0 storms
August = 3 storms
September = 4 storms (4 hurricanes, 2 major hurricanes)
October = 5 storms (3 hurricanes, 2 major hurricanes)
November = 2 storms (2 hurricanes)
Total = 15 storms, 9 hurricanes, 4 major hurricanes

We could easily see something like this.
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295. sporteguy03
8:02 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
I am glad its quiet I can enjoy my weekend in calmness in FL. Hope it stays that way. It would be cool if we only have 2 storms, but very low chances of that.
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293. WPBHurricane05
4:03 PM EDT on July 20, 2007
One is late July Four in Aug. Four in Sept Two in Oct Pretty active so JP that is ten. You got four more. Add another one or two in Sept. Still two short. If you are right certainly it will be really active. Hope you all have a great wken

Dont forget that some storms form in November and December also. So 1 in July, 4 in August, 4 in September, 2 in October and 2 in November and 1 in December. That would give us 15 including Barry.
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292. stoormfury
7:58 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
CATL wave althogh devoid of significant convection and embedded in dry air ,still mentains it's identity. it would be quite interesting, if convection were to build around what appears to be a small circulation
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291. Fshhead
7:56 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Mister, what a PERFECT statement LMAO!!!!!!
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7:46 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Its a mess. Proenza and the Staff at the NHC both are projecting some perceived past injustice(s) and issues onto the science of the place I feel. NO ONE there seems to feel they can approach things directly and honestly. Thats a problem in the chain and the procedure.

I still think they should have at least made him stay and fix things for the season.

I also have a feeing Katrina works into all of this somewhere and somehow - but probably at different places for different people.
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289. MisterPerfect
7:55 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
A man that couldn't listen to the people entrusted to serving the public's interest. A showboat. The type that lets authority go to their heads.

Sounds like he's better suited for Congress or the White House.
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288. Fshhead
7:54 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
STL, thanx for the info. on typhoon Loke!!! I did not know of it helping the El-Nino. Tell you what though it makes sense lol
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287. leftovers
7:49 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
One is late July Four in Aug. Four in Sept Two in Oct Pretty active so JP that is ten. You got four more. Add another one or two in Sept. Still two short. If you are right certainly it will be really active. Hope you all have a great wken.
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286. Fshhead
7:48 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
The conditions are supposed to shift but c'mon its like I heard 2 days ago a couple of people here were saying the wave off PR was going to be a cat 5 hurricane... Calm down you guys WILL get your storms before the season over in a few months......
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285. MichaelSTL
2:48 PM CDT on July 20, 2007
Another thing to notice about 2001 is that it had only four storms - and no hurricanes - before September, probably leading many to think that it would be a dud (if anybody was following the tropics back then, though then 2005 didn't occur yet).
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283. moonlightcowboy
7:45 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Fired, sure! He was fired; but he was really let go because he couldn't command the respect of his peers! A trouble maker, pure and simple. A man that couldn't listen to the people entrusted to serving the public's interest. A showboat. The type that lets authority go to their heads.

Proenza, for sure, I'm glad he's not at the helm. The man simply can't lead!
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29617
280. MichaelSTL
2:45 PM CDT on July 20, 2007
Speaking of Ioke, I wonder if Cosme could possibly do something similar (not that I think it will actually happen, since 2006 did already have signs of an El Nino developing before Ioke; Ioke just dramatically accellerated it):

From Gray's October 2006 update:

But, there was an unexpected and surprisingly strong Nino 3 warming during August-September of approximately 0.6C. There is now a weak to moderate El Nio event. This years late El Nio event is similar to the late onset of 1986, but this years warming from July to September is considerably stronger than 1986. Looking back at the historical records of El Nio onset events for the 20th century, this season appears to be about the strongest two-month warming from July to September.

It is difficult to attribute this sudden warming to one particular cause, but we believe that intense, long-lived Hurricane Ioke which developed in the central Pacific on August 20 and tracked slowly westward across the central and eastern Pacific was an important contributor to the dramatic transition from neutral to El Nio conditions. Ioke caused strong westerly anomalies to develop at low latitudes near the dateline. These westerlies drove the warm anomalies in the western and central Pacific eastward.

I know that storms can indeed influence the trade winds, since Man-Yi caused significant westerly winds in the western equatorial Pacific, as far east as the date line.
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275. guygee
7:35 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Posted By: moonlightcowboy at 7:35 PM GMT on July 20, 2007.
Wrong man for the job, that simple!

A job he never asked for, a job he was demoted into. A setup for failure from the start, because he was a whistleblower fighting for the public interest. Anyone who is not completely subservient to the Executive Branch is a marked man. Goodbye career, past accomplishments and science be damned.

The shoddy treatment and wholesale firing of government scientists who are not afraid to speak out and speak freely is the real scandal here.

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273. MichaelSTL
2:39 PM CDT on July 20, 2007
Yeah, and in 2001 almost TWO months passed between the first storm in early June (like this year's Barry) and the next storm in early August. It wasn't quiet by any means. Too many people think that every season is going to be a 2005 and because nothing forms in June or July it will be a bust (2001 was a La Nina year BTW - La Nina is not the reason why 2005 went crazy and in fact many La Nina seasons seem to be late seasons, probably because storms tend to favor the Caribbean vs the open Atlantic (note that this article was written before El Nino developed in 2006, as a result of Ioke crossing the Pacific and causing westerly winds) in those years and the Caribbean is most active in October).
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272. MissBennet
7:38 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Despite the slow start so far, I'm still not planning any vacations in August. I'm relying solely on a hurricane-vacation to give me my break.
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Dr. Masters (r) co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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