The Hurricane Center Did A Terrible Job On Ida

I was just having a discussion with a friend about Hurricane Ida. It’s difficult to remember a tropical system this poorly forecast.

Here’s what the Hurricane Center said in their technical discussion Friday night:

ALTHOUGH WATERS ARE WARM OVER THE NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN…VERTICAL SHEAR IS EXPECTED TO HAMPER MUCH INTENSIFICATION OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS. THE GFDL AND HWRF MAKE IDA A HURRICANE OVER THE CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO…A SCENARIO THAT DOES NOT SEEM PLAUSIBLE IN THE FACE OF WESTERLY SHEAR THAT IS EXPECTED TO INCREASE TO 50 OR 60 KT BY DAY 4.

ida-wind-fields.gifSo much for plausible! Ida was forecast to be a tropical storm now, not a powerful hurricane.

A blown forecast like this, even though the storm is far from the mainland, changes how preparations are made. When the forecast is less dependable storm preps become necessary earlier and for more storms.

Bad forecasting is costly.

That being said I can’t tell you who forecasts hurricanes better. I’m not sure anyone does. The Hurricane Center is stocked with very bright people. Most of their lead forecasters are PhDs.

I don’t know how well, or even if, NHC does post storm analysis. In cases like this I’d like to see some outside agency or (more likely) the academic community take a gander and see if there’s anything that should be done differently.

More accurate forecasting of tropical weather systems is a money saver, plain and simple.

3 Responses to “The Hurricane Center Did A Terrible Job On Ida”

  1. Lou says:

    Obviously wither their models were wrong all along or the storm did something unpredictable…I know Gov. Jindahl has declare an emergency for the entire state…

  2. Geoff Fox says:

    Kyle (and others),

    Please don’t get me wrong. These are our finest tropical weather forecasters. However this season I am forced to question a larger percentage of their forecasts and classifications than normal.

    A baseball player in a slump can often benefit from outside analysis and advice. Maybe this is the path NHC should take?

    I can guarantee you this: Whoever was responsible for the non-hurricane forecast late last week had a horrendous weekend. No one who forecasts is happy on a blown call–I speak from personal experience.

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