More Hurricane Center Tumult

Wow! Bill Roenza’s gotta go as the director of the National Hurricane Center.

I didn’t think so when I wrote an entry on Tuesday, but the Miami Herald has advanced its earlier story with additional comments from lead forecasters. There’s no internal confidence for Proenza from those guys.

‘I don’t think that Bill can continue here,” said James Franklin, one of five senior forecasters at the center. “I don’t think he can be an effective leader.”

Two others — Richard Pasch and Rick Knabb — told The Miami Herald that they concur.

”We need a change of leadership here at the hurricane center,” Pasch said. “It’s pretty much as simple as that.”

Part of what Proenza did was plead for a replacement for the soon-to-die Quickscat satellite. Then he quantified a value NHC’s accuracy would fall if Quickscat was gone.

I thought his number was way off mark then. The hurricane forecasters at NHC seem to agree.

Obviously, every piece of observational equipment is important, but by the time a storm threatens land there are better tools than Quickscat, which only covers a given area a few times a day.

If you’re NOAA, can you promote one of the insiders to replace Proenza (if he goes)? Doesn’t that just legitimize this mutiny?

This story’s not over.

Hurricane Center Disappointment

The Miami Herald has undertaken a multipart study of the National Hurricane Center and related tropical prediction facilities run by NOAA. I have just read whatever is already on line and I am shocked… maybe sickened is a better word.

Many things I thought were well taken care of, are not.

Equipment doesn’t work or isn’t designed correctly. Budgets are (in my opinion) improperly allocated. What should be considered incredibly important is allowed to take a back seat.

I know some people at NHC. They are impressive. But, predicting tropical weather is complex. A full data set is incredibly important.

Katrina was a forecasting success, but there have been so many forecasting errors. Forecast errors are costly in dollars and lives.

Here’s a good starting off point, but this story is divided into a bunch of pages and will continue through this week.