(Weather Hobbyist)
Thu Oct 31 2013 05:25 PM
Are Seasonal Forecasts Worthwhile?

Regarding the post about seasonal forecasts...I do not think they are useful and not only because they are not accurate. Everyone, including emergency response teams and emergency managers should be prepared each hurricane season for a storm to hit. As we know, a quite season in terms of number of storms means nothing to those taking a direct hit from the one major storm that comes ashore. If anyone relies on forecasts of a busy season to prepare "more" than they would if there were a forecast of a quite season they are taking a big risk.

Ed DunhamAdministrator
(Former Meteorologist & CFHC Forum Moderator (Ed Passed Away on May 14, 2017))
Fri Nov 01 2013 01:29 AM
Re: Are Seasonal Forecasts Worthwhile

Note that 'storm preparation' and 'resource planning' are two quite different activities. EM folks never use the seasonal predictions when they are involved with an actual storm preparation. Resource planning mostly involves monetary probabilities for the movement of personnel, supplies and equipment into affected areas after the storm, or staging of equipment and evacuation of special needs folks before the storm. A busy outlook suggests the potential for greater seasonal expenditures than an outlook for a quieter season - its a cost-allocation exercise that has no impact on the actual EM response associated with a particular storm. However, if the seasonal forecast turns out to be way off base, then so is the resource planning exercise and that leads to questions about the value of the forecast. Its certainly true that the 2013 seasonal forecasts didn't have any meaningful value.

(Weather Analyst)
Tue Nov 05 2013 01:28 PM
Re: Are Seasonal Forecasts Worthwhile

I thought I remember that last year there was some discussion of Colorado State dropping the publishing of the seasonal forecast due to reliability probabilities being lower that expected. I think that is proving to be the case, but school is still out. There are so many variables such as a gaseous atmosphere and a liquid sea and a complete understanding of them is still a work in progress. Probabilities that range a little higher than 50/50 which is near where this part of the science is, I think, may have some utilitarian value in planning if only to trend toward caution in the face of a threat to public safety. But on a personal level it is nothing more than an interesting participatory sport. Kind of fun.

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