Restoring confidence in NHC

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:24 PM GMT on July 11, 2007

There are no threat areas in the tropical Atlantic to discuss, and none of the computer models are forecasting tropical storm formation over the coming week. In the Pacific, an exceptionally large Category 4 typhoon, Man-Yi, will pass close to Okinawa on Friday, and hit Japan on Saturday. Winds at Okinawa have been as high as 50 mph with gusts to 70 mph.

Some links on Man-Yi, sent to me by Jim Edds:

Live camera feed from Southern Okinawa:

click on the pic arrow on the bottom right.

Okinawa radar.
click on Okinawa to zoom in - awesome shot

Camera feed with some audio.
click on the first "no image" box then select "report 17/66"

Latest satellite image of Typhoon Man-Yi, courtesy of NOAA.

Restoring confidence in the NHC
Interim National Hurricane Director Dr. Ed Rappaport has two immediate tasks--restoring morale fractured by Bill Proenza's turbulent 6-month tenure, and restoring public confidence in the Hurricane Center's ability to do their job. With the steadying influence of Dr. Rappaport, a highly respected and talented hurricane scientist, I expect that the staff of NHC will put out their best hurricane forecasts ever this season. Aiding in this endeavor will be the availability of a new hurricane tracking, intensity, and storm surge model called the HWRF--Hurricane Weather and Research Forecast Model. In addition, several of the other reliable models used by the forecasters, such as the GFS and GFDL, have had upgrades since last hurricane season. Furthermore, the Air Force Hurricane Hunters will be carrying the SFMR instrument for the first time, which can measure winds speeds at the ocean surface everywhere the aircraft fly.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center made their best track forecasts ever for storms in the Atlantic in 2006. The mean track errors for 12 to 72 hour forecasts were 15% - 20% lower than during 2001-2005. Track errors for Atlantic storms have improved about 50% in the past 15 years (Figure 1), a remarkable achievement that has undoubtedly saved lives and hundreds of millions of dollars. The track error in 2006 for a 24 hour forecast was 58 miles; 112 miles for a 48 hour forecast; and 171 miles for a 72 hour forecast. Track errors for 96 and 120 hour forecasts were 236 miles and 305 miles--the second best on record (2003 set the record). NHC's long-range 120 hour forecasts had a significant bias to the west of 94 miles--about double the bias of what the computer models were forecasting. Thus, when the models correctly called for systems to recurve out to sea, NHC human forecasters tended to resist following what the models were saying.

Figure 1. Track forecast skill since 1990 in the Atlantic for the official NHC forecasts. Track errors are given in nautical miles (100 n mi = 115 miles). Skill is rated compared to a "zero skill" forecast using NHC's CLIPER5 model. The CLIPER model (short for CLImatology and PERsistence) is a model that makes a forecast based on historical paths hurricane have taken, along with the fact that hurricanes tend to keep moving in the direction they are going (i.e., their current motion persists).

Intensity forecasts
Intensity forecasts since 1990 have shown little or no improvement, and 2006 was no exception (Figure 2). One encouraging result was the emergence of the GFDL's intensity model as the best intensity model for 2006. This is the first time that a non-statistical model has made the best intensity forecasts. With the major improvements that were added for the 2007 version of the GFDL, plus the availability of the HWRF model, I am hopeful that this year will see the first noticeable improvement in intensity forecasts since 1990.

Figure 2. Intensity forecast skill since 1990 of the official NHC Atlantic forecasts. Intensity errors are given in knots (10 knots = 11.5 mph).

Jeff Masters

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838. guygee
1:26 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
I want to thank Dr. Master's for covering recent events at NHC that lead to a change in leadership there. Obviously there was a large disagreement on how OUR limited tax dollars should be used to fund projects that support tropical cyclone-related forecasting and research. It is apparent that Bill Proenza crossed the line from science to zealotry in his support of a QuikSCAT replacement, while the majority of experienced NHC forecasters disagreed based on their own interpretation of the well-documented data.

As taxpayers and citizens we should demand that our tax dollars be spent in the most effective and efficient way to maintain and improve hurricane forecasting. I for one am glad that Dr. Masters keeps us informed on these matters, as they are very relevant to the stated purpose of his blog. My own view is that the people here who have criticized Dr. Masters for covering these events are really the ones who are using this blog for their own political purposes.
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837. Tazmanian
6:36 AM PDT on July 12, 2007
Yes 28 they are cool huh???

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836. stoormfury
1:35 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
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835. nash28
1:33 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
The GEM is forecasting a hurricane for SFL?

I am still half asleep.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
834. stoormfury
1:28 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
something is trying to spin up with the wave in the CATL. look at 8N 40W. The nsxt few hrs will tell

href="" target="_blank">Link
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832. hurricane23
09:31 EDT le 12 juillet 2007
Good morning...

Lastest CPC outlook indicates Neutral conditions will be in place the next 2 months in the atlantic basin followed by a weak nina.

Climate Prediction Center 7/12/07 Update
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831. TheCaneWhisperer
9:30 AM EDT on July 12, 2007
Maybe the CPC is planning to do it this coming Monday. I am sure CNN has reliable sources, they have only been kicked out of a few countries, lol. Have to wait and see Monday's report cori.
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830. TheCaneWhisperer
9:29 AM EDT on July 12, 2007
Too early to be thinking about the "H" word in Southern Florida Anticyclone. Interesting nonetheless.
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829. corimorgan
9:27 AM EDT on July 12, 2007
I see nothing of the sort here corimorgan. The PDF was released July 9th and states neutral conditions.

That's weird! Where did CNN get that?
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828. melwerle
1:25 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
morning everyone!

Anything new out there or still quiet? Living right outside of Savannah and it is HOT here. REALLY hot. Actually starting to look at houses in San Diego again and thinking sitting in traffic for two hours on the way home from work wasn't such a bad thing after all...
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825. weathers4me
1:11 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
Patrap: Thanks for the link. Looks like hot and sticky just like here in West central FL.
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824. TheCaneWhisperer
8:58 AM EDT on July 12, 2007
Not much is going to happen in the Western Atl and Eastern Caribbean with this set up!



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823. Patrap
8:07 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
New Orleans Local forecast Link
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822. weathers4me
1:00 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
Patrap: How are the weather trends for New Orleans this weekend? Spending the weekend there in the French Quarter. Thanks
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821. Canesfan68
1:01 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
Thanks Patrap, if that's the case, then I should be in for some nice weather.
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820. Patrap
7:59 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
Id go with the Haitian official wunderground forecast. Link
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819. Jedkins
12:54 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
To be honest Man-Yi looks rather ragged for a category 4, it looks more like a category 3 this morning, looks less impressive then it did last night. Not saying it isn't a category 4. But its eye is ragged and its cloud tops are a lot warmer then its had since it was a much weaker system.

Looks like like the outflow and circulation is being blocked on the northwest side. This likely won't be deepening any more till it can get its act back together. Which can easily still happen, just currently, its not too impressive looking.
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818. Canesfan68
12:58 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
IKE, I'm going on a cruise this Saturday and it heads to HAITI first. We should be there the 16th. Is the moisture going to be there at that time or am I in the clear?
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817. IKE
7:55 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
That wave...yeah, I know...the one that won't get it's act together....has no chance....doesn't look great, but I think it's worth watching.

The GFS, CMC and NAM all show the moisture heading toward the northern that area.
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816. TheCaneWhisperer
8:48 AM EDT on July 12, 2007
I see nothing of the sort here corimorgan. The PDF was released July 9th and states neutral conditions.
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815. fredwx
8:53 AM EDT on July 12, 2007
The NAO has been negative for some time and I have read that the NAO has some influence on hurricane tracks. Any comments?

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814. Patrap
7:51 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
Naha ,Okinowa wunderground page..Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 140058
813. Patrap
7:50 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
The Southeast and east facing Pacific side of Okinowa has the brunt to deal with ..The storm begins now for them. Its all downhill from here. Good luck to the Islanders and all the U.S. Military in Harms way.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 140058
812. IKE
7:49 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
Their getting close to TS force winds already...note the pressure too...

"Observed at: Okinawa, JP
Elevation: 148 ft
[Light Drizzle]
82 ░F
Light Drizzle
Humidity: 89%
Dew Point: 79 ░F
Wind: 31 mph from the East
Wind Gust: 38 mph
Pressure: 29.24 in (Falling)
Heat Index: 92 ░F
Visibility: 6.2 miles
UV: 0 out of 16
Clouds: Few 400 ft
Mostly Cloudy 2900 ft
(Above Ground Level)"............

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37995
811. TheCaneWhisperer
8:34 AM EDT on July 12, 2007
From the looks of the Navy Track, looks like Naha and all other areas of Okinawa Island will remain in the East Quadrant and not get the break from passing through the eye. Wind forcast up to 135kts to 125kts while passing the area.

135 Knots = 155.5 MPH
125 Knots = 144.0 MPH

12+ hours in that, No thank you.
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810. MrNiceville
12:44 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
That's just CNN - they don't report it unless it has "scare" written all over it - I'll bet they're hyping it in the context of an AB storm frequency increase, right?
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809. Patrap
7:44 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
Man-yi Warning and ship avoidance graphic,track..Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 140058
808. corimorgan
8:41 AM EDT on July 12, 2007
I just heard on CNN that NOAA has announced La Nina has offically begun in the Pacific. Does this mean the 2006 sterrig patterns will lift?
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806. groundman
12:36 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
So will we have 97L in 24 hours or less? If CAL wave keeps on I think we will.

Re Man-yi, GLAD it isn't here, looks like a steamroller.
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805. FLARV
12:34 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
I admit to being a lurker and not posting much, but I would like your collective opinions on the following question. *IF* the steering currents do go back to how they were in 2004, would that be worse for the east coast of Florida or the west coast of Florida and the Gulf States?
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804. Patrap
7:31 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
Them Jarheads will Hunker down.

Semper Fi!.
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803. MrNiceville
12:27 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
Thanks for the update, AntiC - good info...
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801. GoofOff
8:07 AM EDT on July 12, 2007
Taz is our official 'eye' spotter. If he doesn't see one, then it isn't there. Of course, some of them only last for a few seconds while he is looking at them, but that doesn't mean they weren't there. (FYI provided by Florida Treasure Coast member.)
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800. groundman
12:12 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
Posted By: MahFL at 12:02 PM GMT on July 12, 2007.
I see an eye on the central wave !!!!!

Don't be silly MahFL, I see banding though. LOL LOL

Morning all! Coffee time, got a late start.
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799. MrNiceville
12:07 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
They do OK over there on O - they get to practice almost every year...

Just got an e-mail from my buddy at Iwakuni. They don't expect much over there by the time it gets to the mainland - Cat 1 winds at best. They're staying put, rather than evacuating further north (at least that's the Commander's decision)...

Right now, Man-Yi reminds me A LOT of Opal, which I remember all too well. We affectionately refer to her as the "buzz saw" as we lost quite a bit of power infrastructure that had to be replaced. Fortunately, SSTs don't support intensification beyond Okinawa and it appears that there's a trough moving down from the north which may help recurvature along...
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798. biff4ugo
12:06 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
I know Japanese wood structures handle quakes quite well, but I don't know if they are good for a big blow. Okinawa sounds like Key West, catching a piece of every other storm that comes by.
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797. MahFL
7:23 AM EDT on July 12, 2007
I see an eye on the central wave !!!!!
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796. Rainman32
7:41 AM EDT on July 12, 2007
Tropical Weather Discussion
Nws TPC/National Hurricane Center Miami Fl
805 AM EDT THU JUL 12 2007

Tropical wave is along 36W S of 17N moving W 15-20 kt. Broad low level Inverted-V signature is observed on satellite imagery. Clusters of scattered moderate/isolated strong convection are from 7N-11N between 34W-40W.

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794. IKE
6:13 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
Okinawa's rockin this morning/evening....

"Observed at: Okinawa, JP
Elevation: 148 ft
[Mostly Cloudy]
83 ░F
Mostly Cloudy
Humidity: 88%
Dew Point: 79 ░F
Wind: 25 mph from the ENE
Wind Gust: 36 mph
Pressure: 29.28 in (Falling)
Heat Index: 94 ░F
Visibility: 6.2 miles
UV: 0 out of 16
Clouds: Mostly Cloudy 3700 ft
(Above Ground Level)"............

The believers vs. the non-believers on the central Atlantic wave.
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792. Thundercloud01221991
11:01 AM GMT on July 12, 2007
Look at man-yi in the picture up on top
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791. stoormfury
10:53 AM GMT on July 12, 2007
96L was embedded and surrounded by very dry air wuich was it'e demise. this case is very different. less dry air and plenty moisture
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789. TayTay
10:45 AM GMT on July 12, 2007
96L was the same. This is what happens to july storms. Especially ones in with very poor organisation and a lack of convection. Once they leave the moisture of the ITCZ, that protective bubble of moisture vanishes.
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788. stoormfury
9:57 AM GMT on July 12, 2007
Today is the 47th anniversary of hurricane ABBY hitting St Lucia

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Dr. Masters 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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