Ed DunhamAdministrator
(Former Meteorologist & CFHC Forum Moderator (Ed Passed Away on May 14, 2017))
Sat Oct 05 2002 11:23 AM
My Viewpoint

Just some of my own thoughts on recent threads (with respect for those of others):

On Theology and Storms: A long time ago a wise old sage told me (at a bar) that three things should never be mixed in a conversation because of what he called the 'believability' factor. Those three things were weather, politics and religion. It was good advice. Andrew, Hugo, Mitch, Camille, Bret, Lili, Isidore, etc., were all significant storms that moved where they moved because of atmospheric dynamics that we do not yet fully understand. They intensified or weakened because of relationships between atmospheric and oceanic dynamics that we do not fully understand. Is it a 'miracle' that causes a storm like Cindy to remain at sea or a storm like Edouard to remain weak with little impact? I think not. The peoples of Nicaragua and Honduras may consider it a miracle that they are still alive, but otherwise they probably view Mitch as more like the Wrath of God rather than a miracle.

On Intensity: NHC (and any other reliable forecaster) will readily admit that intensity forecasting of tropical systems is poor at best - because of those dynamics mentioned above and our limited understanding of them. Sometimes in todays' modern world its easy to forget that Meteorology is the youngest natural science. As a science, it is only about 150 years old - and that may be stretching it. Compare that to Astronomy with over 5.000 years of accumulated knowledge and learning, and you'll see what I'm getting at. Probably the only 'miracles' here are when a 3-day intensity forecast actually does verify - however, some of us in the profession would be inclined to use the term 'luck'.

On Forecasting Seasonal Activity: Time for a little personal pain! I had to go back to one of the early posts in the Storm Forum to see that on May 2nd my seasonal forecast was for 12 storms, 7 hurricanes and 2 majors. One would think that after all this time I would learn to leave my original forecast alone (naw)! One of the golden rules of weather forecasting is that your first forecast is usually your best forecast and you really shouldn't mess with it. Good advice to give, even if I can't seem to follow it myself

On the Season: Sort of a mixed bag with some earlier season Tropical Storms to whet our tracking appetites and another super charged September that wore us all out! Another year of storms with multiple centers and zones of serious shear - even one with a 'split' personality (Kyle). Uncommonly cold SSTs in the eastern Atlantic basin; an early season where upper lows, especially in the Gulf, were so common that it was difficult to find a decent upper level high; an ITCZ that remained far to the south and in August looked more like March. It seems to me that the so-called October surge has already happened - in late September. Probably one more southern Caribbean event before the season comes to a close, and maybe, just maybe, an uncommon late season event in the Dec-Feb timeframe.

Tidbits: The tongue-in-cheek post on Louisiana Hurricanes (credit to Frank P.) had its origins around the first of September and was called "The Practical Hurricane Guide - Written by Floridians".

As of this posting, Tropical Depression Kyle was on his 60th Advisory - a few years ago, Hurricane Alberto had 78 - I'm sure there are others that exceed even that.

Enough for now - time for my regeneration cycle

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