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Storm #Arlene still firing convection near the center today while spinning fish
# of days since last Hurricane Landfall - US: Any 233 (Matthew) , Major: 4235 (11 y 7 m) (Wilma) Florida - Any: 270 (Hermine) Major: 4235 (11 y 7 m) (Wilma)
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Ed DunhamAdministrator
Meteorologist & CFHC Forum Moderator


Reged: Sun
Posts: 2565
Loc: Melbourne, FL
Matthew & Models
      #97099 - Sat Oct 01 2016 02:26 PM

Hurricane Matthew, in three hours, has gone from a movement to the west to movement to the south to movement to the east - and thats not a wobble but rather a cyclonic loop. It can imply many things, one of which is that total dependence on model output is not the best way to make a forecast. Upper level steering currents still control Matthew's movement even though those currents are weak. If Matthew simply sits and spins in a loop for awhile, upwelling will eventually weaken the hurricane. A loop also delays Matthew's track - no matter what that track eventually turns out to be. The 01/12Z GFS seems to have a good handle on the future of Matthew. It starts by stalling the system for a few hours (its difficult to graphically define a tight loop) and then takes the system north - east of Jamaica - and into the high mountains of eastern Cuba Tuesday morning. The model then takes Matthew through the southern Bahamas and well to the east of Florida on Thursday followed by a possible threat to eastern North Carolina next Saturday and New England on Sunday, October 9th. Given Matthew's current looping delay, high pressure over the continental U.S. will have time to build eastward and reduce, but not yet eliminate, the likelyhood of a threat to Florida.

To repeat something that I've said before, the model is not the forecast - it is just a guide that is used to make the forecast. The models on this particular storm have not performed well. They missed the rapid intensification cycle that took place Friday evening - they missed the extended movement of the hurricane to the west southwest and even southwest at times - and they missed the cyclonic loop currently underway. These changes, whether subtle or sudden, are still difficult things to forecast and its important to remember that models are simply software programs that were developed by scientists. Just like weather forecasts, they are not perfect and precise and they were not intended to be - to base your forecast entirely on model output means that bad forecasts will occasionally be made.
ED


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