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#Fred still Weakening Quickly in the far eastern Atlantic. Nothing else on the immediate horizon.
Number of days since last Hurricane Landfall in US: 425 (Arthur) , in Florida: 3600 (9 y 10 m) (Wilma)
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Ed Dunham

The Erika Enigma

Posted: 05:57 PM 27 August 2015
At 27/17Z, TS Erika was located at 16.5N 63.5W and at 27/19Z Erika was located at 16.6N 63.6W - pretty much a dead stop, i.e., slow drift to the northwest, however at 27/21Z the center was located at 16.8N 63.8W - still moving to the northwest but the forward speed is increasing. With convection displaced to the southeast, positions were easy to determine based on the exposed, but still well formed, LLCC. As noted elsewhere, convection was firing on the eastern edge of the center but it is now firing over most of the center and the displacement continues to the east and southeast.

Over the past couple of days the forecast models have been of very little help in determining both the future intensity and the forecast track of this sheared tropical cyclone - both the early and the long range models have been all over the place with this system. Some of this erratic model output has surfaced in the NHC forecast which at times has seemed to be just as erratic, but if you live by the model.... To be fair, they have to come up with something every six hours whereas we have no such requirement.

When dealing with the tropics there are times (frequent times actually) when persistence is not only the best solution but often the only realistic solution so before I chastise the NHC too harshly I'll wait awhile and see how this all plays out. When forecasting hurricanes, the hardest thing to do is to have patience - when something is expected to happen but it doesn't, if you force yourself to wait a little longer the event that you expected, i.e., a turn to the northwest or something like that, eventually will. In other words the forecast idea was generally pretty good, but the timing was off.

Where is Erika likely to go - and will Erika survive to do it? Right now there are many options and all of them are realistic based on where the tropical cyclone is and what the environment looks like and how that environment is expected to evolve. Erika could get sheared apart and become an open wave. Erika could hit Puerto Rico and fall apart or survive and just miss Hispaniola. Erika could hit Hispaniola and end the storm track. Which one is the likely solution? Right now I have no firm idea - so I'll be patient for a little while longer. At Erika's current speed I certainly have enough time to do that. Erika still has to deal with a significant amount of windshear but, since the shear is primarily in the upper levels of the atmosphere, the system has been dealing with the shear rather well so far and it will probably continue to do so as long as the LLCC remains intact.
ED
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Ed Dunham

2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season

Posted: 03:19 PM 09 April 2015
The CSU initial forecast for Atlantic basin tropical cyclone activity in 2015 has been released with the following lead-in comments: "We anticipate that the 2015 Atlantic basin hurricane season will be one of the least active seasons since the middle of the 20th century. It appears quite likely that an El NiƱo of at least moderate strength will develop this summer and fall. The tropical and subtropical Atlantic are also quite cool at present. We anticipate a below-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States coastline and in the Caribbean."

As of the end of February an El Nino is in place and it is expected to increase in strength with at least a moderate El Nino quite likely for the entire Atlantic hurricane season. Some of the forecast models including the ECMWF suggest that a strong El Nino event will occur. Since the end of November, 2014, SSTs in almost all of the Atlantic tropical basin have declined considerably with anomalies greater than -1.5C in some areas in the eastern Atlantic and the western Caribbean Sea. This significant shift downward in tropical Atlantic SSTs will produce another year of decreased activity in the basin and it also reduces the likelihood of any early season storms. The CSU forecast numbers are 7 tropical storms, with 3 of them becoming hurricanes with one hurricane becoming a major storm. This is one of the lowest CSU tropical cyclone forecasts that I have ever seen them issue. They also expected an ACE of 40 and a seasonal activity level at 45% of normal.

CSU lists 1991 as one of their analog years, however, with such a rapid decline in the overall Atlantic tropical SSTs, I believe that 1969 and 1991 are no longer valid analogs. My new analog years are:

1. 1977 - Atlantic activity was 6/5/1 ....... EASTPAC activity was 8/4/0
2. 1959 - Atlantic activity was 10/6/2 ...... EASTPAC activity was 15/5/3
3. 1953 - Atlantic activity was 13/6/4 ...... EASTPAC activity was 4/2/0

The updated averages for these analog years is 10/6/2 - which is close to my current forecast of 9/6/2. (updated on 5/30 to 8/3/1)

TSR also issued its updated forecast for the Atlantic basin and lowered their forecast totals to 11/5/2 with the following comments: "The TSR forecast has been reduced, since early December 2014, due to updated climate signals indicating that the tropical North Atlantic and Caribbean Sea in August-September 2015 will likely be cooler than normal and cooler than thought previously. Should the TSR forecast for 2015 verify it would mean that the ACE index total for 2013-2015 was easily the lowest 3-year total since 1992-1994 and it would imply that the active phase of Atlantic hurricane activity which began in 1995 has likely ended. However, it should be stressed that the precision of hurricane outlooks issued in April is low and that large uncertainties remain for the 2015 hurricane season."

As the season gets underway, keep an eye on the level of activity in the EASTPAC. If it starts to look like the Eastern Pacific is going to have a busy year, then 1953 can be discarded as an analog year for the Atlantic - which means that the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season could be mighty quiet - especially if the tropical Atlantic SST cooling trend continues into the Summer.

Remember that you can post your own forecast of seasonal numbers in the Storm Forum until the season starts on June 1st.
ED
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Ed Dunham

End of an Era

Posted: 02:40 PM 01 September 2014
It is beginning to look like the era of 'high spin cycle' tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic basin that started in 1995 has run its course with only three named storms recorded through the end of August. There were hints of that demise last year with a below normal level of hurricane development, i.e., only two Cat I storms - the last time that the Atlantic only had two hurricanes in a season was 1982. The last time that a season had three or less named storms by August 31st was in 1994 - the last year of the previous 'quiet cycle' in the Atlantic.

In the 45 seasons from 1950-2014 there were 17 seasons that only had three named storms by August 31st, so its not an unusual event, but it is unusual that the last one was 20 years ago. At the other end of the activity spectrum, in 1995, 2005, 2011 and 2012 there were 12 named storms by August 31st. Here are the previous 16 seasons since 1950 with three or less named storms prior to September 1st along with activity totals for those years, totals for the following year, and hurricane landfall statistics for the 16 seasons:

Year - # by 8/31 - total activity - following year - U.S. landfalls - FL landfalls
1952 2 6/6/3 13/6/4 1 0
1956 3 8/4/2 7/3/2 1 1
1957 2 7/3/2 10/7/5 1 0
1961 1 11/8/7 5/3/1 2 0
1962 2 5/3/1 9/7/2 0 0
1963 2 9/7/2 12/6/6 1 0
1965 3 6/4/1 11/7/3 1 0
1967 1 8/6/1 8/4/0 1 0
1977 1 6/5/1 12/5/2 1 0
1980 3 11/9/2 12/7/3 1 0
1982 3 6/2/1 4/3/1 0 0
1983 2 4/3/1 13/5/1 1 0
1987 3 7/3/1 11/5/3 1 1
1991 2 8/4/2 7/4/1 1 0
1992 2 7/4/1 7/3/1 1 1
1994 3 7/3/0 19/11/5* 0 0

Average 2 7/5/2 9/5/2 1 0
(*1995 was not included in the 'following year' average since 1995 was the start of the active cycle.)

Note that although these were all slow starting years (and mostly quiet years), every season except 1994 had at least one major hurricane. Although these were mostly quiet years, only three of them did not have a U.S. landfalling hurricane, while in Florida only three seasons had a landfalling hurricane. In the following year, one season had normal activity while seven seasons were above normal and seven seasons had below normal named storm activity, i.e., no correlation to the previous year. On average, based on the 16 seasons that started with three named storms (or less) by August 31st, this season would be expected to have four more named storms - with a minimum of one more and a maximum of eight more.

Since the lack of activity cannot be blamed on an El Nino event (it has not yet started), it is increasingly likely that the period of Atlantic high tropical cyclone activity has ended. However, it is important to remember that the likelihood of a U.S. hurricane landfall is about the same (approximately 22%) during a 'quiet cycle' era as it is during an 'active cycle' era - and that is also true for a Florida hurricane landfall (about 5%).
ED
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Ed Dunham

Hurricane Arthur

Posted: 05:50 PM 03 July 2014
Kudos to The Weather Channel for deviating from the 'official' forecast earlier this afternoon. At 5PM EDT on July 3rd, NHC made an adjustment westward with the forecast track for Hurricane Arthur - and the actual track is probably going to be slightly west of that.

An upper level low located near 39N 58W at 03/21Z continues to retrograde westward. High pressure is centered south of the Great Lakes behind a cool front moving eastward through the Appalachian Range. Hurricane Arthur continues to maintain more of a north northeast movement and I would anticipate a track adjustment on a course a little more to the west with Arthur moving over eastern North Carolina just to the west of the Outer Banks as a Cat II Hurricane Thursday night into the early hours of Friday morning. As the front approaches the east coast, Arthur will be nudged into more of a northeast movement with the center passing just to the southeast of Cape Cod around midnight Friday night as a minimal Cat I hurricane undergoing extratropical transition.

Hurricane conditions likely over eastern North Carolina within 25 miles of the center track in the southwest and northwest quadrants and within 75 miles of the track in the northeast and southeast quadrants. Any hurricane preparations by those who are in or near the path of the hurricane should have already been completed. A fully transitioned strong Extratropical storm should pass over Nova Scotia on Saturday and over Newfoundland on Sunday.
ED
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Ed Dunham

Hurricane Supplies

Posted: 02:43 PM 28 May 2014
Its been a long time - over 8.5 years - since a hurricane made landfall in Florida. Have you checked your hurricane supplies lately? If you haven't, some items may need to be updated/replaced. Most folks (myself included) have a box of batteries in their personal home emergency kit, but its been so long since the last storm that the chances could be pretty good that those batteries may need to be replaced.

Have any canned or powdered foods exceeded their storage or use date?

If you have a generator, have you checked it out recently to see if it is still in good operating order? If you stored gasoline for that generator last year, its time to use it in a vehicle or other equipment and refill the gas containers with a supply of fresh gasoline.

If you put aside some medications/insulin etc., in a First Aid kit for use in an emergency when you might not be able to get to your doctor for a few days, are they still useable?

Do you still have a small analog battery-operated TV in your hurricane supply kit? If so, it will no longer work and you will need a digital TV replacement. There are some good ones on the market that will usually pick up a few stations with their built-in antenna.

If a hurricane reduces the IQ of your Smart Phone, do you have an alternate plan for getting in touch with co-workers, friends and relatives? A portable radio is valuable for getting storm updates, evacuation status changes and school and business closings/openings.

Don't forget to include the needs of your pets in your hurricane planning - especially if you need to evacuate when a storm threatens.

I have this uneasy feeling that this year someone in Florida is going to be thankful that they took the time to prepare for the storm.
ED
19.8N 30.9W
Wind: 45MPH
Pres: 1004mb
Moving:
Wnw at 10 mph
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