What We Don’t Know About Hurricanes

By virtue of the environment necessary for their formation and the latitude at which they travel, hurricanes are mostly slow movers. Sometimes they progress at walking speed. Other times they spin in place or loop around their own path.

That slow speed makes forecasting very difficult. The slower the environmental winds are carrying you, the more likely it is for something weak… something we may not see or properly model… to affect your path.

With all this in mind, it’s no surprise hurricane forecasts are less than ideal. The photo on the left represents most of the tropical prediction models for Hurricane Dean. Maps like this are generally called ‘spaghetti plots’.

Notice how they’re in reasonable agreement early on, but diverge as time goes by. That’s a lot of ‘maybe’ in the predicted Gulf Coast landfall.

During the day, Monday, the first shots of Dean’s damage on Jamaica will become available. I expect to see major destruction on the immediate coast.

2 thoughts on “What We Don’t Know About Hurricanes”

  1. I found this post online:

    You can view the latest storm models using the KMZ files below. They show you the latest model data from the NHC’s “aid_public” directory…

    Full Model plots…


    “Spaghetti” Model plots…


    The new HWRF model is among the models that you might see. Only models available at the time are in the files.

    I will be adding more features in the future, but I’m not sure if I will have them complete this season. When I finally release the new features, I will update the network links to notify you of where the new plots will be available.

    If you want to see an example, you can view this non updating example:


    When the above file does not have active storms.

    Edited by TropicalAtlantic (07/11/07 01:44 AM)

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