I’ve Got Sandy On My Mind

Here’s my problem with Sandy. I can look at all the computer runs and sense something’s wrong. Too many things are happening I’ve never seen before. You’d think in nearly 30 years here I’d seen it all.

I spoke to Bob Hart on my way home. He’s a professor at FSU. No one knows more about tropical weather. His mind is very attuned to math and physics which eliminates some of the interim steps folks like me have to take.

He was born to be a teacher. We’re lucky.

Bob said there were some storms in the 1800s that produced what is Sandy’s worst case scenario.

There’s a reason stuff like this happens infrequently. A huge number of conditions must come into alignment. If one or two aren’t as forecast it all goes to hell! With Sandy this far away in time and distance there’s no parameter that’s not suspect.

Neither Bob nor I want to believe Sandy could strike Connecticut.

We talked about the weaknesses of models.

Well, he talked. I listened.

Tropical systems are really small compared to the weather we most often see. The computer models are often too coarse to understand the complexity of these tightly wound storms that mathematically can fall between the cracks.

Sometimes tropical storms induce feedback loops. That’s a condition that overwhelms the model’s algorithms and allows the condition to grow out of control. It makes the model output suspect at best and poisoned so much it has to be discarded at worst.

To those who think meteorologists love big storms. No.

I’ll be busy for the next week.

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