Friday, March 30, 2018

National Huricane Conference...

Just returned from the annual National Hurricane Conference held this year in Orlando.  I’ve been going to this conference for over 30 years and was pleased to see over 1700 folks registered.  However, the number of broadcasters might have been 25 with 15 of those from Florida.  Compare that to 20 years ago when over 100 broadcasters along with their station’s live trucks beamed video back to their home markets.  It’s discouraging to see the lack of interest from the broadcast community since, after all, they are the ones to relay the info from NHC to you.   I always wanted to know the forecasters at NHC plus I felt a personal relationship with the Director would benefit me/you IF a storm came our way.   It’s a different breed of broadcasters now and I can’t see how that is for the better.  Kudos to all the emergency managers attending since they are the ones who have to order/carry out evacuations.  They feel it’s important to keep getting continuing education, and so do I.   I remain a hurricane consultant to Ch. 8 for the 2018 season and will never feel like I know everything.  David Bernard joined me and I feel we have the most knowledgeable & experienced team in New Orleans and we will continue to work hard to earn your trust.


Here are some tidbits from the conference.   The 2017 season was a stellar one for NHC as their track error for all 17 storms was the lowest ever.  Back in the 70s, the average track error at 72 hours out (3 days) was 300+ miles, but in 2017 the average error was only 80 miles.  Granted, most of the storms were well behaved with Lee being the exception.  That reduction in track error means less coastline has to be evacuated.   Another startling statistic is of those 17 storms, 3 were Cat. 4s within a 26 day period.   How unusual  was that?  Well, consider the previous 56 years  had only 3 Cat. 4s combined!  2017 was the 7th most active season ever so it’s no wonder that many of the preseason  forecasts are calling for fewer storms closer to the long term averages of 12 storms, 6 being hurricanes and 3 major.   I’ll have more tidbits during the coming days.


We flew back over yesterday’s storms making for a bumpy ride at times.   Our weather for this Easter weekend couldn’t be much better with cool nights and warm, sunny days.  Long term model guidance continues to indicate more cold fronts will be coming well into mid-April.   For folks farther north, that might mean more snow storms.  For us, it just means don’t put away all your sweaters just yet.   Stay tuned!

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