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Azores #96L fails to complete transition into a Sub-Tropical Storm. Elsewhere, weak low pressure in Caribbean may linger into next week.
Days since last H. Landfall - US: Any 43 (Nate) , Major: 61 (Maria) Florida - Any: 71 (Irma) Major: 71 (Irma)
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Ed DunhamAdministrator
Former Meteorologist & CFHC Forum Moderator (Ed Passed Away on May 14, 2017)


Reged: Sun
Posts: 2565
Loc: Melbourne, FL
Are Seasonal Forecasts Worthwhile?
      #94901 - Thu Oct 24 2013 11:27 AM

In another Forum, Robbissimo asked some excellent questions that are certainly pertinent to this season:

"I would still like to hear your take on the 8th Anniversary of Wilma, specifically whether predicting the weather and hurricanes in particular is a worthwhile endeavor. Seriously, would anyone have predicted we'd go eight years without a single hurricane? Is it that unusual?"

All good questions that I'm sure others have also considered. The short answer is 'No', I certainly would not have predicted an 8 year hurricane drought for Florida and it is rare to go that long without a landfalling hurricane in the state. Here is a link to a Met Blog that I posted in early May of 2012 that chronicles other long stretches without a hurricane in Florida:

Florida's Next Hurricane

The 'Outlook for 2014' in the 2014 Storm Forum explores the probability that the 2014 season may be even quieter than 2013.

Predicting the weather in general and the characteristics of a specific hurricane is a most worthwhile effort. Any type of warning (Hurricane, Tornado, Flood) usually means that deaths and injuries are reduced.

Meteorology is the youngest natural science - perhaps with 150 years under its belt as a science. Compare that with astronomy with 5,000 years. Weather prediction has improved considerably, but we are still learning about the atmosphere and how to predict its changes. With the exception of summertime showers, local weather forecasts are much better than they were 50 years ago. New technology (radar, satellite, computers) has helped to make forecasts better. Does a forecast for 100% chance of rain fail to verify every now and then? - yes, but the science itself is still young. Do seasonal rainfall/temperature forecasts have merit even though their accuracy is limited? - yes, because agricultural and transportation interests, et al, can use them for planning purposes (and often save money as a result). Do seasonal hurricane forecasts have merit? - I think so, although after this season I'm sure that there will be a considerable amount of discussion and research (and soul-searching) related to that topic. Insurance companies don't really use that data as much as the public is lead to believe - but Emergency Management folks do - again, for resource planning purposes. It doesn't always prove very useful for two reasons: 1) the old adage that 'all it takes is one bad storm during an otherwise quiet season', and 2) the outlook can be way off base (like this year) - which takes us back to 'the science itself is still young'.

To continue to make the forecast and to then have some significant forecast failures usually motivates the science to seek answers in an attempt to improve the next forecast.
ED


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