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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738. MrNiceville
3:37 AM GMT on July 12, 2007
Acme? In Mandeville? I probably have driven by it 100 times, but can't place it. The only one I know is down in the Quarter...

Sorry to hear that - but I know how it goes. Sis still has no first floor - they live out of the second floor of their house. All studs and concrete on the first.

Any news on what ACOE is planning on doing re "appropriating" land on the backs of the levees? Last news I had was they wanted 75-100 feet out from the crests. Dropped my sister's house value like a rock - takes most of their backyard, half the swimming pool and part of the addition on their house...
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736. Patrap
10:36 PM CDT on July 11, 2007
Was in Mandeville at the Acme Oyster house for Lunch today. We still in trailer here.
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734. MrNiceville
3:33 AM GMT on July 12, 2007
Shoot - you're a stone's throw (ok a little further) from Canal, then.

How are you guys making out? I was back in Mandeville two weekends ago, but I didn't get down to my sister's place on Bellaire...
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733. Patrap
10:34 PM CDT on July 11, 2007
Used to tie up ships at Cargill.long time ago.
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732. StormThug
10:31 PM CDT on July 11, 2007
im in gramercy about 30 miles west of kenner
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731. Patrap
10:30 PM CDT on July 11, 2007
New Orleans,..Kenner., near Lake.
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730. MrNiceville
3:29 AM GMT on July 12, 2007
Patrap - where are you in La?
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729. Patrap
10:29 PM CDT on July 11, 2007
Its 10:28 CST..later on east coast..23:28
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728. MrNiceville
3:28 AM GMT on July 12, 2007

Just got very quiet there - guess everyone is watching satloops of Man-Yi...
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726. Patrap
10:27 PM CDT on July 11, 2007
Im on the hi-gain Houston..go ahead
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725. MrNiceville
3:26 AM GMT on July 12, 2007
Did everyone leave??
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724. MrNiceville
3:14 AM GMT on July 12, 2007
From the good Major while I was out...

Latest I heard is that it is picking up speed as it goes toward Okinawa but that will make it downgrade a little before it hits them. They are closing up shop today at about noon which is a few hours from now. Window for us may still be Saturday afternoon.
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721. Patrap
9:53 PM CDT on July 11, 2007
The forecast package will change as the Typhoon nears.
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2:51 AM GMT on July 12, 2007
Statement as of 3:05 PM EDT on July 11, 2007

... Record high temperature at Key West...

The temperature at Key West International Airport has reached 94
degrees today... as of 300 PM. This breaks the record high
temperature for the date... which was previously 93 degrees last set
in 1883. It is also the first time the temperature has reached 94
degrees in Key West since July 31 1991.
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719. groundman
2:48 AM GMT on July 12, 2007
Posted By: Blink at 2:44 AM GMT on July 12, 2007.
The current wind speed is 120knots. 933 mb. Keeps getting stronger.

It's also over 90 degree plus water. Okinawa's forecast for Sat. is:

Thunderstorm. High: 89░ F. / 32░ C. Wind West 26 mph. / 43 km/h. Chance of precipitation 100%.

From what I see their winds will be higher.
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718. Blink
2:43 AM GMT on July 12, 2007
The current wind speed is 120knots. 933 mb. Keeps getting stronger.
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716. weatherblog
2:36 AM GMT on July 12, 2007
Man-Yi is starting to re-organize.

I beileve this now could become a cat 5. I hope the best for the people who may get impacted by Man-Yi.
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714. stormwatcher247
2:33 AM GMT on July 12, 2007
Is this the calm before the storm?
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713. MrNiceville
2:28 AM GMT on July 12, 2007
brb - gotta go pick up daughter...
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712. Patrap
9:31 PM CDT on July 11, 2007
The Southeast and east facing Pacific side has the brunt to deal with ..Link
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711. NHCDirector
7:30 PM PDT on July 11, 2007
yes it is
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710. bobcane
2:24 AM GMT on July 12, 2007
Komatsu lives in Fukui on the west coast. Maybe they are not so concerned for the areas north and west.
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709. Patrap
9:28 PM CDT on July 11, 2007
Domo Arrogtto,..Griff
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708. Patrap
9:27 PM CDT on July 11, 2007
Good read on the situ in real time Niceville..thanx
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707. Grifforzer
2:26 AM GMT on July 12, 2007

Man-yi is noted on the news...
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706. MrNiceville
2:16 AM GMT on July 12, 2007
Agreed - have used it several times in the last week here...

As to preparedness, Japan knows how to deal with these storms. My buddy at Iwokuni said that they still haven't heard much - just the chatter that they get out of Okinawa, which isn't alot as they're busy getting prepared.

Okinawa fares well in these storms too. They've built their infrastructure to handle typhoons. All buildings (modern - excepting air control towers and the like) have a low wind profile. Friends of mine here at Eglin confirm that they'll just button up and let it pass...

As to response on the sites out there - sorry - NMCI (aka EDS) has the contract for all Navy/Marine IT infrastructure. They are paid billions of dollars and they can't figure out how to plug in a CAT-5 cable correctly. Expect that once there is some infrastructure damage, the sites will be gone for weeks.

To quote my buddy (a Major in the USMC):

[his words italicized, my explanations in square brackets]

"Perhaps if we had those jerks from SPAWAR
out here to fix our WX radar, then I might know a little more.

I just hope it doesn't hit us. We have even less of a COOP [Continuity of Operations] plan here than we did at RES [Marine Forces Reserves, New Orleans], Pre-Katrina, and we know how much a pain-in-the-ass THAT was."

He's referring to the fact that we were sent from NOLA to Kansas City, MO as an alternate site for three months. It took almost 15 days for NMCI to stand up a network for us - in the interim, we took the initiative and cobbled together a link into the legacy network with the help of some of the cable TV folks up there...
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705. sporteguy03
2:25 AM GMT on July 12, 2007
89 ░F / 32 ░C
Mostly Cloudy
Humidity: 73%
Dew Point: 80 ░F / 27 ░C
Wind: 28 mph / 44 km/h / 12.3 m/s from the ENE

Wind Gust: 36 mph / 57 km/h / 15.9 m/s
Pressure: 29.50 in / 999 hPa (Falling)
Heat Index: 106 ░F / 41 ░C

Wow Patrap that some high dewpoint and heat index I guess 95 degrees in Orlando is not so bad then, lol
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703. bobcane
2:23 AM GMT on July 12, 2007
I live in estern central FL and the heat index here near the ocean is 91 deg. on my rainwse.
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702. Patrap
9:23 PM CDT on July 11, 2007
Okinawa Wunderground page...Link
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699. Patrap
9:16 PM CDT on July 11, 2007
pressures down..wind up..Bad trends
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698. sporteguy03
2:19 AM GMT on July 12, 2007
Wow 95 degree heat Index at 10:19pm in Orlando.
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696. weatherblog
2:16 AM GMT on July 12, 2007
already did, Patrap.
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695. bobcane
2:14 AM GMT on July 12, 2007
My friend Komatsu Sen was pushing me to complete a quote for him because he had a Monday meeting at Mitsubishi. I told him I thought MELCO would be closed Monday so there was no need to rush. He asked me back why I thought they would be closed. I mention the typhoon and he was completely unaware. I could see it in his surprise when he looked it up with the link I sent to him.
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694. Patrap
9:16 PM CDT on July 11, 2007
Okinawa Wunderground page...Link
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693. Patrap
9:14 PM CDT on July 11, 2007
Just click the minus symbol and he dissapears folks..Its easy
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692. NHCDirector
7:14 PM PDT on July 11, 2007
hi all
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691. MisterPerfect
2:13 AM GMT on July 12, 2007
I wonder if a Typhoon can irritate seismic equipment?
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689. bobcane
2:11 AM GMT on July 12, 2007
Yes Arough, leave please!
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688. Patrap
9:11 PM CDT on July 11, 2007
No,,the Japanese have a great Warning system.

Best tell him to stay tuned. And learn to look at th e weather. I find that very hard to believe. The Japanese are very typhoon savy
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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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