Sunday, October 8, 2017

Lessons From Nate...

Nate is now just a tropical depression moving into northern Alabama on a wet trek to New England.  I always like to look back on tropical threats and see if we learned anything from them.   #1) Nate was the real deal Cat. 1 hurricane, but only to the east/right of his center line track.  Watching video from MS/AL shows a storm surge of 4-6 feet, far less than predicted.  Why?  Probably because he was moving so fast water levels were not allowed to build up as with slower moving hurricanes.  Landfall was just east of Gulfport so Biloxi, Pascagoula on over to Dauphin Island, Mobile Bay & Gulf Shores, that’s where the greatest impacts happened.  But all that I read indicate damage was minor with one survivor of many past storms saying…” there is a big difference between a Cat. 1 & a 5”.  So true.  In fact, did you know that the force from winds is an “exponential” function?  That means the difference between a Cat. 1 & a Cat. 3 is not just 3 times as strong, but 50 times greater force!  And in a Cat. 5, the wind force is 500 times that versus a Cat. 1!!!   That’s why you see so much more damage (like in Puerto Rico & the Virgin Islands) in the stronger storms.  Fortunately Nate never got greater than a Cat 1.   #2) It really matters what side of the storm you are on in these weaker hurricanes.  Nate was so one sided that those of us to the west/left of the track didn’t get much rain (barely an inch) and not enough wind to knock out power.   That’s why I refer to the center line track so much.  You can get damage to the left of the track, but usually it is way less.  #3) The NHC (National Hurricane Center) track forecasts were better than the American (GFS) and European models.  When I was on TV, I very rarely, if ever, would show the “spaghetti models”.   I would show the NHC track and give 2 different scenarios as to what I thought and why.  Back in my day (long ago!), the NHC track forecasts came with a warning that said…”for intergovernmental use only”.  In other words, don’t share with the public our thinking so as to not confuse anyone.   Now, anybody can see ALL of the models despite having little, or no training in meteorology.  To me this has resulted in confusion in the general public.   What is the point in weathercasters showing all the model “ensemble” runs?   Show the official NHC forecast track and then create graphics to show why or why not that might happen.   Worse yet, anyone can blog about what they think will happen despite having ZERO training.  The internet is full of wannabees.  I’m proud that I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology & Oceanography plus 45 years of actual forecasting experience.  I’m a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM) by the American Meteorological Society (AMS).  Perhaps you need to check out the weathercasters/bloggers backgrounds to see who really knows their stuff.  Nate was well forecasted by NHC and, yes they have to over warn the public since a slight shift of 30-40 westward in Nate would have meant far worse impacts here.   Before you say…”well I read on this website, so & so said this”  Check out who so & so really is.  Don’t just believe it because it’s on the internet.

 

Finally, the well-advertised cool front for the 10-11th isn’t gonna happen this week.  I really don’t see a strong/real cold front coming for at least another 7-10 days.  I have located the “Fat Lady” in Branson and told her to stay all week since her gig pays her more than I do!  Until the fronts start coming, the Fat Lady won’t take the stage.  Stay tuned!

3 comments:

Alice Clark said...

I agree with much of what you say here, but as someone who's been educated by you and your colleagues since moving to New Orleans, I appreciate seeing model runs--though I agree with you that they should not be shown without interpretation. If I want to see "spaghetti plots" on my own (and I do), I can go find them--ditto with NHC graphics. What I need is to see them in conjunction with your interpretations and experiences, to test and deepen my own thoughts. In that way I think your primary role is not only to inform, but also to educate, and I think you and your colleagues continue to do that pretty well.

Barry Lusich said...

Bob, thank you for the many years you have given us your knowledge and wisdom. I am from Mississippi and my family has followed and trusted your hurricane forecasts as long as I can remember in my 52 years of life. We follow your blog with every storm. Thanks and blessings for all you do and will do in the future.

Barry Lusich
Kiln, MS

Concerned said...

Well said and THANK YOU once again! :D