Hurricane help on the way

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:49 PM GMT on May 03, 2006

The National Hurricane Center will be getting some much-needed help this coming hurricane season. The agency has received permission to add four new hurricane forecasters, thanks to a special requisition championed by Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida). The four new forecasters--Eric Blake, Dan Brown, Michelle Mainelli, and Jamie Rhome--all come from within the NHC's Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (which analyzes satellite imagery) and Technical Support Branch. They join the six Senior Hurricane Specialists--Lixion Avila, Jack Beven, James Franklin, Richard Knabb, Richard Pasch, and Stacy Stewart--to make a total of ten forecasters for this season. An eleventh forecaster--Dr. Chris Landsea, NHC's Science and Operations Officer--will also be pitching in as needed. The four new hurricane forecasters all wrote advisory packages last season under the supervision of one of the Senior Hurricane Specialists, which should speed the transition to working independently this year.

With another active hurricane season likely this summer, the NHC certainly can use the help. I talked to Senior Hurricane Specialist James Franklin at the American Meteorological Society's Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology in Monterey, California, last week, and he confided that it was looking dicey whether or not he would finish all his work from last season before this season starts. It took until March to finish all the summaries of the 28 storms from 2005, and the task of writing the annual summary article for Monthly Weather Review and Weatherwise magazines has not been completed, nor have the official verifications of the NHC and model forecasts been done. The NHC hurricane forecasters start rotating shift work on May 15th when the Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins, so there is not a lot of time left. Additional shifts begin on June 1st, when Atlantic hurricane season officially begins.

I asked James if the National Weather Service's plan to offer early retirement to up to 1000 of its 4700 employees in order to cut costs would significantly affect the NHC. The plan, called the Voluntary
Early Out Retirement Authority (VERA) Implementation Plan
, is preliminary, and still needs approval from the Office of Personnel Management. Under the plan, 13 of the National Hurricane Center's 42 employees would be offered early retirement, and would potentially be replaced by lower-paid entry level meteorologists. James thought that if the plan was offered, few, if any, of the 13 elgible employees would take the offer, since they all enjoy what they are doing too much to retire now! With many more years of busy hurricane seasons likely to come, this is good news--along with the addition of the new hurricane forecasters.

My next blog will be Friday, when I plan to talk about the fading of La Nina, the slackening of the Atlantic trade winds, and other factors that may affect the upcoming hurricane season.

Jeff Masters

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314. jose123
4:01 PM GMT on May 06, 2006
Oh you mean their not going for horse trainers like they did with FEMA. Oh maybe their is hope yet for the Yanks!! But I don't think so!!
313. RL3AO
1:24 PM GMT on May 05, 2006
312. RL3AO
12:44 PM GMT on May 05, 2006
nice pic, where is that?
311. taco2me61
4:22 AM GMT on May 05, 2006
Sorry about that I am still learning how to do this...:0)

Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 3653
310. taco2me61
4:21 AM GMT on May 05, 2006
I hope this works

Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 3653
309. mclori
3:45 AM GMT on May 05, 2006
As for Jupiter, I think it can be blamed on that same group of aliens (illegal? monoliths?) that warned us to stay away from Europa. ;-)
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8
308. louastu
3:25 AM GMT on May 05, 2006
In 1994 a comet named Shoemaker-Levy 9 slammed into Jupiter.

307. Zaphod
2:57 AM GMT on May 05, 2006
Once Haliburton gets done with those tunnels maybe you can get them to tunnel some of the methane rain on Titan to earth to address the hydrocarbon shortage?
Member Since: October 5, 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 3246
304. ForecasterColby
2:21 AM GMT on May 05, 2006
Which comet? I hadn't heard anything about it.

Check out these cells over Texas...73dBz O_O

303. kerneld
2:15 AM GMT on May 05, 2006
Zaph, well Jupiter did just swallow up a comet. :P

If the same comet hit earth, man induced global warming would be the least of our problems.
302. ForecasterColby
2:05 AM GMT on May 05, 2006
Heh - looks like we were late to the Invest 91L party: Link
301. Zaphod
2:04 AM GMT on May 05, 2006
Disclaimer: the views expressed below do not reflect the beliefs of this blog, the Wunderground sponsors, or even the author himself. They are merely intended to provoke thought and comment and should not be attempted at home.

Hey, without nukes what do you think is going to stop the population explosion? I don't think you can plan on Mother Nature handling it all herself......

I believe prime-time TV illustrates pretty well our chances of changing societal behavior before destroying the world. Just watch "Deal or No Deal" to see how well people understand statistics and "Unan1mous" to see how well they can put aside selfishness for the good of others. Toss in "Idol" for overall priorities and I think we're in for a pretty exciting ride. Easter Islander's didn't figure it out, and I'm not at all sure we will either.

Speaking of nukes, if we're going to have them why don't we at least build molten salts or breeder reactors? Surely there is a more efficient design that doesn't have half-spent fuel rods as waste? If it's that radioactive you'd think there would still be energy value, wouldn't you?

Nukes for hurricanes, nukes for power, and nukes for unpleasant people -- we'll solve all the nation's problems at once!

Member Since: October 5, 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 3246
300. ForecasterColby
1:58 AM GMT on May 05, 2006
"Is that 144 Australian hours?"

I hope to god that was a joke.
299. louastu
1:40 AM GMT on May 05, 2006
Maybe Russia will launch their nukes at Jupiter as well.
298. louastu
1:38 AM GMT on May 05, 2006
As long as we don't launch them at targets on Earth, I don't care.
297. ForecasterColby
1:33 AM GMT on May 05, 2006
Yep. We thought Jupiter had WMDs, so we nuked them. Bad Bushes :)
296. StormJunkie
12:35 AM GMT on May 05, 2006
Nice Zap. LMFAO, but I think many would say the Bush's did it.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 18190
295. Zaphod
12:33 AM GMT on May 05, 2006
I see that the weather patterns on Jupiter are shifting, with several storms merging in a manner different than we've seen in reliably recorded history.

Now who could be changing the weather on Jupiter? What diabolical force could be capable of such mischief? Could it be......

Could it be.......

global warming?

Member Since: October 5, 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 3246
294. RL3AO
11:32 PM GMT on May 04, 2006
so, STL, not including the less than and greater than signs, what exactly to you type to put in an enlargeable thumbnail?
292. ForecasterColby
10:52 PM GMT on May 04, 2006
The blog only accepts links, images, bold, and italics.
291. RL3AO
10:36 PM GMT on May 04, 2006
Lastest visible of Invest 90W.

290. RL3AO
10:29 PM GMT on May 04, 2006
got it
289. snowski
10:23 PM GMT on May 04, 2006
Michael is right about the color ;)
288. snowski
10:22 PM GMT on May 04, 2006
This is red

This is blue

This is green

This is maroon
286. RL3AO
10:12 PM GMT on May 04, 2006
Quick question, does the blog accept all HTML codes? Like colored text?
284. RL3AO
10:00 PM GMT on May 04, 2006
well, I'm not very good reading those charts, and Lucky13, are you projecting or making a joke?
282. Scotth
9:55 PM GMT on May 04, 2006
Is that 144 Australian hours?
Member Since: August 4, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 23
280. RL3AO
9:50 PM GMT on May 04, 2006
I don't know if it will be another Monica, but it has it at 990 MB in 144 hrs
278. ForecasterColby
9:27 PM GMT on May 04, 2006
Looks pretty good.
277. RL3AO
9:25 PM GMT on May 04, 2006
Looking at TD Caloy forming soon in the WESTERN Pacific?


276. FLCrackerGirl
9:18 PM GMT on May 04, 2006
re: BarefootontheRocks
This Should Be New NHC forecaster, Jamie Rhome

Old Pic from 1998
Member Since: August 12, 2004 Posts: 48 Comments: 604
275. ForecasterColby
9:17 PM GMT on May 04, 2006
Arrr...curses on the typos. Intertropical Convergence Zone.
273. RL3AO
9:09 PM GMT on May 04, 2006
Colby, It's the ITCZ not the ICTZ!!! ;)
272. ForecasterColby
9:06 PM GMT on May 04, 2006
Explanation of the visible:

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Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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