NOAA Still Expects Active Atlantic Hurricane Season; La Niña Develops


Contact:  Chris Vaccaro 202-482-6093 August 5, 2010

NOAA Still Expects Active Atlantic Hurricane Season; La Niña Develops

Image from NOAA/NESDIS - added by Anthony for reference - not part of original press release - click to enlarge

The Atlantic Basin remains on track for an active hurricane season, according to the scheduled seasonal outlook update issued today by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. With the season’s peak just around the corner – late August through October – the need for preparedness plans is essential.

NOAA also announced today that, as predicted last spring, La Niña has formed in the tropical Pacific Ocean. This favors lower wind shear over the Atlantic Basin, allowing storm clouds to grow and organize. Other climate factors pointing to an active hurricane season are warmer-than-average water in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean, and the tropical multi-decadal signal, which since 1995 has brought favorable ocean and atmospheric conditions in unison, leading to more active seasons.

“August heralds the start of the most active phase of the Atlantic hurricane season and with the meteorological factors in place, now is the time for everyone living in hurricane prone areas to be prepared,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the whole season – June 1 to November 30 – NOAA’s updated outlook is projecting, with a 70 percent probability, a total of (including Alex, Bonnie and Colin):

  • 14 to 20 named storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), including:
  • 8 to 12 hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher), of which:
  • 4 to 6 could be major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of at least 111 mph)

These ranges are still indicative of an active season, compared to the average of 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes; however, the upper bounds of the ranges have been lowered from the initial outlook in late May, which reflected the possibility of even more early season activity.

“All indications are for considerable activity during the next several months,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “As we’ve seen in past years, storms can come on quickly during the peak months of the season. There remains a high likelihood that the season could be very active, with the potential of being one of the more active on record.”

Be prepared for the hurricane season with important information available online at and at FEMA’s

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us at or on Facebook at


Ryan Maue adds some perspective to the hurricane season to date:  is the Accumulated Cyclone Energy through August 5th a useful indicator of the total season activity?  Not quite yet:  for 1950-2009 historical Atlantic activity, the correlation is still low (r = 0.47) between the ACE through August 5th and the entire season.  During the past 30-years (1980-2009) the correlation is (somewhat) better (r=0.63) but there are many seasons that have zero or very little activity at this point in August.

A reference bar graph whipped up from the HURDAT best-track archive of ACE shows the on average, only about 10% of the ACE is seen through August 5 (from 1950-2009).

Figure.  North Atlantic tropical cyclone accumulated energy (ACE) for the entire season (black bars) and values through August 5 (lime green portion of bar).

So far with Alex, Bonnie, and Colin, we have ACE of about 8, a far cry from the 71 from the record 2005 season.  With the seasonal forecasts from NOAA, Gray and Klotzbach at CSU, Accuweather’s Joe Bastardi, TSR, FSU COAPS, and the UK MetOffice ALL prognosticating well-above average activity, the Atlantic will need to start ramping up quickly.  With this season, let’s hope the consensus forecast is wrong!

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August 5, 2010 9:11 am

Wanna bet? 🙂

August 5, 2010 9:14 am

Everyone also forecast a big season in 2006, which didn’t happen.

August 5, 2010 9:24 am
August 5, 2010 9:27 am

As an experienced commodity trader (weather influences prices), I can tell you that NOAA’s seasonal predictions now have near zero credibility in this business. Flip a coin.

Nolo Contendere
August 5, 2010 9:28 am

Unfortunately, NOAA has been busily damaging their reputation with their active participation in the AGW hoax, so most of uis no longer take them seriously. They don’t have a very good track record on hurricane predictions in any case. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a goodly number of stroms the rest of the season, but my gut feeling is that the forecasters are wrong on the high side as far as total ACE goes.

Pamela Gray
August 5, 2010 9:31 am

The fly in the ointment would be the occurrence of Arctic Oscillation changes. This event can bring storms onto the seaboard instead of into the Gulf.

Pamela Gray
August 5, 2010 9:34 am
Tom in Florida
August 5, 2010 9:35 am

Would the very short lived TS Colin have been counted or even noticed without satellite data?

August 5, 2010 9:36 am

my prediction is we will be average this year!

August 5, 2010 9:39 am

As someone who spent considerable time as a bureaucrat, I can assure you that any government employee with any sense is always going to predict doom and gloom over sweetness and light. If you go with doom and gloom and nothing happens, you get teased a little. If you go for sweetness and no hurricanes and just one of the b#st@rds shows up, you end up in the papers.
Easy decision.

August 5, 2010 9:45 am

I don’t think a lot of people are paying too much attention to this yet. I bet this changes soon (or at least I hope so) as the tropics are coming alive. The potential for a couple of monster storms to impact the US Gulf & Atlantic coastline’s, is definitely there. Time to pay attention folks.

Gary Pearse
August 5, 2010 9:46 am

I have to hand it to NOAA, they are gutsy in exposed situations like forecasting hurricanes where the numbers are in a couple of months – unlike the we-will-all-be-dead forecasts for the climate. I thought they would chop their forecasts down a lot more than they did.

August 5, 2010 9:47 am

They need to have a word with the UK Met Office, looks like a good time to give up the forecasting business.

August 5, 2010 9:49 am

What does ACE look like so far?

Steven Bellner
August 5, 2010 9:50 am

Isn’t every year “above-average?”

August 5, 2010 9:50 am
August 5, 2010 9:50 am

Tom in Florida:
Not only would Colin not have been noticed or counted 50 years ago; neither would Bonnie. The day Bonnie went through here was more calm and less rainy than our usual summer day.

August 5, 2010 9:57 am

Our advice: When drinking a cup of coffee or tea, do not stir it up too much, NOAA will appear and name it.

August 5, 2010 10:02 am

Joe Bastardi reminds us that La Nina years have a tendency of slow starts. He explains why in a video he posted today. A must see for everybody.
Another good thing about the video is that outspoken Joe reminds us that La Nina is a factor but not a cause of an active hurricane season. The most active recorded year was not a La Nina year. The last La Nina was a minor hurricane season.

MattN says:
August 5, 2010 at 9:49 am
What does ACE look like so far?
As of August 5, it is 7.395.

August 5, 2010 10:07 am

If the remnant low of Colin reforms into another closed low wouldn’t it get a new name also? Danielle…

August 5, 2010 10:08 am

When Colin reforms later in the week, will they count it twice?

John S.
August 5, 2010 10:10 am

I’ll trust Joe Bastardi at <a href="" before I trust NOAA.
Joe predicts an 18-21 named storm season.
Good enough for me.

Frank K.
August 5, 2010 10:13 am

stevengoddard says:
August 5, 2010 at 10:08 am
“When Colin reforms later in the week, will they count it twice?”
You know, I was wondering what happened to Colin…if you blink, you’ll miss these storms!

August 5, 2010 10:13 am

Well, Larry. It may be worth a thousand words, but what did you have in mind? Potassium levels measured in glaciers show that there have always been and will always be forest fires, regardless of prevailing climate. Was that your point?

Kevin G
August 5, 2010 10:17 am

If Colin reorganizes, it will not count twice or be renamed, it is the same system. However, if a system dissipates and moves in to the Eastern Pacific, and reforms, it will be renamed.

August 5, 2010 10:22 am

My comments last night from Tips & Notes:
Wow – that’s a simple update. The latest Colo State Klotzbach & Gray hurricane forecast is out and is essentially unchanged from their June 2nd forecast. Hmm, completely unchanged. They’re still predicting 195% of average activity and note that The 2010 Atlantic basin hurricane season had approximately average tropical cyclone activity, based on the ACE index, during June and July.
(In my parallel universe, the hurricane season doesn’t start until July. Maybe mid-July. Maybe August. And things don’t get exciting until September.)
They are also still predicting a very active Carribbean.
The source of the August forecast is data newer than the June forecast, of course.
The two key predictors for a strong season are the June-July SLP [sea level pressure] (10-25°N, 10-60°W) and June-July SST (sea surface temp) (5°S-5°N, 90-150°W). [Note – there’s cool water on the Atlantic map, but it’s north of Cape Verde storm spawning grounds.] A predictor calling for a weaker season is Pre-1 August Named Storm Days – South of 23.5°N, East of 75°W (0 days).
So watch and wait….
They’ve started shortterm forecasts too. For the next two weeks, see
We expect that the next two weeks will be characterized by heightened amounts (130 percent or more) of activity relative to climatology. This period typically has only about 1/3 the activity of the peak couple of weeks in September.

Jim Arndt
August 5, 2010 10:22 am

This is from Ryan N. Maue’s 2010 Global Tropical Cyclone Activity Update
“Colin and Bonnie both go into the books as a couple of the weakest, shortest-lived tropical cyclones on record.
August and September will have to be record activity for the hurricane forecasts to pan out in the North Atlantic ”

Rick K
August 5, 2010 10:34 am

NOAA predicting hurricanes in summer? Incredible! What next?

August 5, 2010 10:34 am

If the models are correct in the hurricane season forming late (october-november) because of La Nina, it means that the Eastern Pacific is likely stuck in it’s present reversal (the Pacific NW high is presently a low).
Local meteorologist scratches head nightly on news, as the 3rd week of delta breezes coming through SF Bay Area are highly unusual.
But then, if you examine what has transpired in the Western US the last 3 years, the weather patterns have been getting stuck more than they have been moving along.
About a year ago, someone mentioned a meridonial flow vs zonal flow.
Poor old zonal flow it ain’t what it used to be.

August 5, 2010 10:36 am

Comments on other comments:
Enneagram says:
August 5, 2010 at 9:11 am
> Wanna bet? 🙂
No – its remarkable seasonal forecasts can hit the side of a barn. Too many things can change mid season.
stevengoddard says:
August 5, 2010 at 9:14 am
> Everyone also forecast a big season in 2006, which didn’t happen.
It took me years before I even bothered to look at Bill Gray’s forecasts. Even when they blow it, I find their analysis before and post mortem afterwards fascinating. Then again, I have lived in areas mildly affected by Atlantic hurricanes my whole life.
My memory is fuzzy, but 2006 may have been the year an El Nino formed and wiped out the second half of the hurricane season. (One reason I don’t bet on seasonal hurricane forecasts!)
Steven Bellner says:
August 5, 2010 at 9:50 am
> Isn’t every year “above-average?”
In 1995 the AMO flipped and we entered a new period of high activity, similar to that in the late 1930s to mid 1950s. It will be a few more years before the AMO flips back and we enter another stretch where each year is more likely to be below average.
cotwome says:
August 5, 2010 at 10:07 am
> If the remnant low of Colin reforms into another closed low wouldn’t it get a new name also?
No, it will still be Colin. Klotzbach & Gray refer to it in their two week outlook. I haven’t paid any attention to Colin, I don’t even know what longitude it’s at. In some big years everything seemed to want to bounce back – a storm could be shredded by windshear back to a tropical wave and still managed to come back. In lame years it seems a struggle to make it to TS status and then they fall apart.

John Blake
August 5, 2010 10:39 am

Cooling sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) precipitated by La Nina episodes generally result in fewer major storms because less hot air spirals up to draw relatively cold air-masses underneath. Over-simplified, perhaps, but as PDO et al. enters a pronounced chill-phase, odds are that 2010’s six-month hurricane season will be relatively muted. The fact that NOAA continues to push discredited projections, as the agency has for some years now, contributes to a sense that such official bodies prefer Warmist propaganda to any objective or even rational assessment of Earth’s global trends.

August 5, 2010 10:40 am

my money is still on the monkey… Dr. Hansimian.

August 5, 2010 10:53 am

It would be much better for the devastated Florida economy if they would cite the extended solar minimum as reasoning for fewer hurricanes. The economy and real estate is a disaster. I don’t expect another severe hurricane season till we get a solar max similar to the last. That seems to be at least a decade or two off. Some people here are praying for another Andrew or Charley just to drum up work. Odds of that happening dwindle each year the solar minimum continues.

August 5, 2010 10:54 am

My horse is also Dr. Hansimian. I hope he is doing well, he might be our best climate predictor for the future!

August 5, 2010 10:56 am

Jim Cantore ain’t got nothin to do. Boo Hoo.

Jim Cripwell
August 5, 2010 11:04 am

ACE to date. Alex 7+; Bonnie ~0.5; total ~8. If Colin reforms, it will still be Colin. Average ACE for NA ~100. 2005 ~250. Anyone seen a new prediction for the ACE? Before it was between 250 and 275.

August 5, 2010 11:11 am

Based on known real science I would tend to agree with those predicting a busy 2nd half of the hurricane season.
BUT, what about poorly known science?? So far this solar minimum the hurricane seasons have been below normal in spite of all other indicators. If this season comes in at even the average it would again indicate that the conventional indicators are missing something. I would point to the still quite low AP index. Yup, I tend to believe that electromagnetism has a bit to do with hurricane development.
This page has some interesting theories and data on hurricanes and tornadoes:

David, UK
August 5, 2010 11:17 am

“Other climate factors pointing to an active hurricane season are warmer-than-average water in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean…”
Slightly O.T. – I’m sure I’m not the first to ponder on this; but given that since coming out of the mini-ice age the world temperature has gone up and down and up and down – but generally (on average) *up* at a fairly constant rate regardless of CO2 levels, surely one could pick any point in time (randomly) and find plenty of geographical locations somewhere or other with examples of “highest temperatures since records began” – as well as plenty of examples of “lowest temperatures since records began” – just like today? My point is, has the exercise been done, and can it be shown that today really is not anything special compared to the rest of the post-mini-ice age record?

David, UK
August 5, 2010 11:18 am

Dang, it all ended up in itallics (as opposed to just the quote at the beginning) – maybe the mods could kindly fix my last comment?
Sorry for the trouble.

Henry chance
August 5, 2010 11:22 am

Dr. Hansimian
Which one? Dr Joe Hansimiam or Dr James Hansimiam?

Mike Ford
August 5, 2010 11:44 am

It was not Tropical Storm Colin. It was Thunderstorm Colin. Just like Bonnie was Thunderstorm Bonnie…barely.

August 5, 2010 11:52 am

“………said Jane Lubchenco”
I am not interested in what that woman says.

August 5, 2010 11:58 am

David, UK says:
August 5, 2010 at 11:17 am
David, have you seen the Dr. Robert Carter’s videos on Youtube?
He is a nice man with his head in the right place. He may sound a bit angry in this video, my opinion is he has every right to be angry . The anger is towards the International Panel of Climate Crooks, the IPCC;
(Four parts, here is part one;)

Kevin G
August 5, 2010 11:59 am

John Blake, please stop, you sound like you have no idea what you are talking about. There are weak teleconnections between El Nino/La Nina and the Atlantic atmospheric circulation patterns that could influence SSTs in the Atlantic Basin, but La Nina is a condition where Tropical Pacific SSTs are below normal. This has nothing to do with “less hot air spirals up to draw relatively cold air-masses underneath” or whatever you are talking about as far as the Atlantic hurricane season is concerned. The main influence of ENSO on the Atlantic hurricane season is the presence of a shear environment, not SST.
And I wouldn’t go so far as to say NOAA puts out “discredited” forecasts. These come from CPC and NHC, whose primary task is to make short-term climate predictions based on current and near-past conditions and trends, and NEVER have I seen CPC or NHC steer into the “Global Warming is causing more frequent and intense hurricanes” camp….these are spurned from other NOAA offices and external institutions. Thus these generalized insults about tropical storm forecasts are unfounded. You mine as well label every 5-day or 2-day forecast from TV or NWS meteorologists or elsewhere as discredited. I am not going to sit here and tell you that every CPC 3-month or even 6-10 day forecasts, or NHC hurricane outlooks ever verify, but these are the last organizations in NOAA that want politicization to influence their forecasts. If you’ve ever actually interacted with any forecasters (which I doubt you have), you’d see that they take their job very seriously and honestly try to put out the best products they can, because they know they will have a large impact.

August 5, 2010 12:02 pm
August 5, 2010 12:06 pm

Am I mistaken or has NOAA changed their closing line: “NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.”
Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that they were very boastfully stating “NOAA understands and predicts…”?????

August 5, 2010 12:13 pm

Pardon my ignorance but could this year be different than most La Nina’s? It seems to me that the jet stream has a much greater north-south component that it has had in recent years. This is seen in the extremes of the heat and cold aroun the globe. If the jet stream reaches further south than normal, is it likely that we’ll see tropical lows and tropical storms developing that get blown apart before they can really get up to speed. Could this greater than normal north-south amplitude of the jet stream be due to due to unusual arctic conditions? I’m don’t know, I just asking.

August 5, 2010 12:26 pm

How much are you getting paid for this blog? You just said more in 2 paragraphs (and clearer as well) than all of NOAA did in all their ramblings. My first question was answered before I could ask it – by you!

frederik wisse
August 5, 2010 12:29 pm

Being a skeptical observer at the side-line I noticed that the first storm of the season cooled the waters around the yucatan peninsula to values well below the average sea-surface temperatures measured during the last decennia . What is happening at the same time ? A strong influx of cooler than average sea-surface water south of west africa at the same time reaching now well into the atlantic ocean and moving further westward out of the africa surroundings . The african La Nina ? Moreover the area with a sea-surface anomaly of more than 1,5 degrees is slowly but securely shrinking without any influence of a strong mid-atlantic storm . Now what is new ? GFS on its newest northern hemisphere temperature anomaly projections is forecasting together with excessive heat for russia also temperatures around the west african basin of around 10 degrees fahrenheit below normal and this for a longer period of time . Since hurricanes are powered by high ocean surface temperatures together with high temperature differences in the atmosphere itself , my forecast of two months ago still stands , only some storms , next to no hurricanes and no mayor hurricanes . In fact any day the season progresses the chances of hurricanes to develop are becoming smaller while the conditions will slowly but securely get more unfavourable . Much of the african heat , a mayor katalist of the atlantic hurricanes ,
is nowadays exiled into russia , where the longer nights will slowly but steadily radiate this heat into the outer space around the earth . This same heat previously for a large part absorbed by the ocean waters cannot do two things at the same time ,
is also responsible for a relative cooling of the oceans . Any neutral observer studying the daily oceantemperature anomalies by unisys can follow this event .
By russia taking the heat the us could escape the doomsday prophecies ?

August 5, 2010 12:38 pm

Their ultimate computer model: A self indulging model.

Paulo Arruda
August 5, 2010 12:40 pm

Enneagram says:
August 5, 2010 at 12:02 pm

August 5, 2010 12:47 pm

frederik wisse says:
August 5, 2010 at 12:29 pm
Your observations are very interesting. A few months ago, El Nino, curiously crossed the equator, going northwards and, as there would be no continent in between crossed southamerica and reached the Madeira island where it provoked a big flood.
Unisys map looks truer than Noaa’s, but after Climate-gate only God knows what the real SST are. If really cold, as you say, then there won’t be any real hurricanes.

August 5, 2010 12:51 pm

Paulo Arruda says:
August 5, 2010 at 12:40 pm
Just waiting for the Ski Samba!

Roger Knights
August 5, 2010 1:05 pm

Enneagram says:
August 5, 2010 at 9:11 am
Wanna bet? 🙂

You can bet on the number of named storms this season at our old standby,

Frank K.
August 5, 2010 1:09 pm

A blast from the past:
Global Warming and Hurricanes
Judith A. Curry
Georgia Institute of Technology
Testimony presented to the Climate Change Hearing,
House Committee on Government Reform
20 July 2006
From page 9…

“Based upon the hypothesis of natural variability being the cause of the high
hurricane activity in the North Atlantic since 1995, there have been several predictions of a forthcoming downturn in hurricane activity: Goldenberg et al. (2001) imply a downturn in 10-40 years; and Gray (2006) anticipates a downturn in 3-8 years associated with a global cooling. By contrast, based upon the historical data record in the North Atlantic, an increase of 0.5oC (1oF) in tropical sea surface temperature implies an additional 5 tropical storms per season (Figure 9), and
hence global warming will result in an continued increase in the number of North Atlantic storms and hurricane intensity globally.”

August 5, 2010 1:14 pm

Yeah right, like they can predict how many hurricanes we’re going to have.

Al Marinaro
August 5, 2010 1:26 pm

The somewhat irregular Quasi-Biennial Oscillation rising so fast is going to have an effect on the Shear Levels/SLP status in the Atlantic Basins as well, especially prolonging the season into the fall as the QBO should easily get into positive territory. It still looks like a late start to the season, as well as a late finish into fall. One of the wildcards should be how SAL dust will effect our coming Cape Verde season, the last few seasons the SAL has been puting the kibbosh on these so-called “Busy Forecasts”.

David Spurgeon
August 5, 2010 1:36 pm
Rhoda R
August 5, 2010 1:46 pm

Folks living along the Gulf Coast (or any hurrican prone region for that matter) should always be ready when the waters warm up. Remember Hurrican Andrew? The ONLY hurrican that year. Wendell Malone – the potential for a monster storm is always there – so what else is new?
I’ve lived along the Gulf Coast since the 80’s. As near as I can tell, once a certain minimal water temperature is reached you can have a hurrican – higher water temperatures don’t seem to have that much of an impact. On the other hand, the DEPTH of the temperature seems to be important. Have you ever noticed that the hurricans that have to travel over the Floridian trench seem to drop a LOT of energy? Ivan, Opal, Katrina were all Cat 4/5 storms until they churned up all that cold water and dropped at least one categoruy. So, before I ‘panic’ about hurricans, I want to know that the water temperature is warm to an unususal depth.

August 5, 2010 2:13 pm
August 5, 2010 2:17 pm

David Spurgeon says:
August 5, 2010 at 1:36 pm
It’s just depressing seeing all those tropical depressions disappearing….

August 5, 2010 2:31 pm

In a contest between NOAA and a chimp, I will vote on what the chimps says every time.

Jim Johnson
August 5, 2010 2:33 pm

“I have to hand it to NOAA, they are gutsy in exposed situations like forecasting hurricanes where the numbers are in a couple of months – unlike the we-will-all-be-dead forecasts for the climate. I thought they would chop their forecasts down a lot more than they did.”
And what if NOAA predicted nothing at all, but the weatherpersons just kept us informed of any development as they usually do? Why absolutely nothing different would happen that would not have happened anyway!
Is hurricane forecasting really just a waste of time, money and effort? Have satellites just eliminated the need to forecast hurricanes?

August 5, 2010 2:38 pm

Frank K. says:
August 5, 2010 at 1:09 pm
“Based upon the hypothesis of natural variability being the cause of ”
Huh? How can a hypothesis be a causative agent? Oh I guess she means “natural variability” is the cause. Is this so called “natural variability” some kind of energy, or what is it exactly that it can change hurricane activity?

August 5, 2010 2:50 pm

Is hurricane forecasting really just a waste of time, money and effort? Have satellites just eliminated the need to forecast hurricanes?
Jim, I think so to both.
They can’t even predict where one will go, or strengh.
At one time they had the “cone of death” for Andrew stretching from New York to Rio and it was less than 200 miles from Miami.
Coming out with their predictions, and then being wrong so often, just make them look like fools.
Then no one pays attention to them.

August 5, 2010 2:57 pm

I don’t think there will be many twisters until our unpredictable sun starts to get a bit more active. Twisters need a strong electric current to fuel then as well as heat. The sun just isn’t producing enough dense solar wind at the moment, but this may change.

August 5, 2010 3:24 pm

Everybody else is throwing their predictions into the basket, this was mine the same day NOAA first came out with their predictions.
4-10 named storms
5-7 Hurricanes
2 Cat 3+ Hurricanes
I seriously doubt that Colin would have ever been classified as a TS by aircraft. Is NOAA making these initial classifications solely via satellite?

David Spurgeon
August 5, 2010 3:45 pm

Latest on Colin:

August 5, 2010 4:02 pm

Anybody know how to contact Purchasing at NOAA? I want to sell them another box of caveats.

Jose Suro
August 5, 2010 5:07 pm

OK I’m going to rant. I’m a tropical fish. I’ve lived between 18 and 27 degrees N all my life. I was a pilot for a while so I know weather and keep track of it even more now that I do photography. Why? As Clyde Butcher said, “Clouds are Florida’s mountains”.
I have one statement – Hurricane seasons are unpredictable, period. Get some high winds in the African dessert, and some of that Sahara sand makes you wash your car every day for a month in the tropics and all the predictions just went in the trash. Seen it, done it.
Actually, I have two statements. The other is that people who are responsible for saving thousands of lives with their short term forecasts should not be in the seasonal forecast business. This creates prejudice, the latest two examples being Bonnie and Colin, basically two rain events that did not deserve a name. We get more wind and rain from local sea breeze thunderstorms every day here in Florida. Lat night was .7 inches of rain in 45-minutes….
This infuriates me to no end. They need to prove their long range divinations right and therefore call everything in sight. It keeps insurance companies happy. Since 2004, my home insurance has gone up ~$5,000 per year from the pre-2004 premiums. Nice!
As for 2004 and 2005, never seen anything like that in 50 years, which common sense tells me I won’t for another 50. Insurance companies measure flooding potential in flood years, for example, a 100-year flood event can go this high and so forth. They don’t do that with hurricanes. Why you ask? The short answer: The Hurricane Prediction (DIVINATION) Center. How long have I’ve been watching them? FOREVER!
Now they can get tracks pretty good, if the the winds are right, and that’s it. And if a coast is somewhat parallel to the track all bets are off. They can miss by 100 miles in less than 5-hours (Charlie – 2004).
Divination is for sorcerers, not for people responsible for thousands of lives. My advice, stick to what you know, and keep you mouth shot on everything else. Always worked for me.

August 5, 2010 5:09 pm

Eyeball only and some imagination at work but in the graph above, is there a possible and approximately 50 year long cycle of hurricane strength and frequency effect being indicated in that graph?

August 5, 2010 5:40 pm

“I seriously doubt that Colin would have ever been classified as a TS by aircraft. Is NOAA making these initial classifications solely via satellite?”
Yes, they did. There was a radarsat pass that saw some closed winds around the center at just above TS strength. They used that as sufficient proof to declare it a TS…regardless of how bad the IR sat image looked (Lack of cloud circulation aloft or at the surface). They admited it was a small storm but I think they jumped the gun a bit in their declaration of a TS with all of the bad environment it was about to encounter.
If anything go on & make it a depression but don’t name it based soley on sat info unless it is unequivical (sp?) until a recon flight can take a look up close & personal.
Just my thoughts,

August 5, 2010 7:52 pm

JKrob says:
August 5, 2010 at 5:40 pm said:
… They admited it was a small storm but I think they jumped the gun a bit in their declaration of a TS with all of the bad environment it was about to encounter.

I use to live in Melbourne, FL (even in 2004), and at one point I asked one of the guys over at the NWS just why they would call a marginal storm a TS, the answer I got back was “That if we don’t, the islanders won’t get out of the way fast enough.” It’s no wonder their predictions have gone to pot with that mentality.

August 5, 2010 8:09 pm

Anybody got the number of NOAA Purchasing? I want to sell them a new box of caveats.

David W
August 5, 2010 8:27 pm

Before you start criticising NOAA on their classification of TS Colin, you should probably find out exactly what their TS classification criteria are and on what basis Colin might have met that classification.
Its not not enough to go on satellite appearance alone and say because it looked like such a crappy storm they got it wrong. Tell me on what basis Colin failed to meet the criteria for tropical storm status (albeit very short lived for now).

Tom T
August 6, 2010 7:48 am

Considering their computer models were dead on wrong about the oil spill reaching North Carolina, why would anyone believe them? Except they decide which storms to name.

August 6, 2010 9:08 am

David W says:
August 5, 2010 at 8:27 pm
Its not not enough to go on satellite appearance alone and say because it looked like such a crappy storm they got it wrong. Tell me on what basis Colin failed to meet the criteria for tropical storm status (albeit very short lived for now).

Per the NHC: Tropical Storm. A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind speed (using the U.S. 1 minute average standard) ranges from 34 kt (39 mph,17.5 m/s) to 63 kt (73 mph, 32.5 m/s). … [M]easured or estimated as the top speed sustained for one minute at 10 meters above the surface.
So, wind speed alone apparently. Of which the NHC estimates the speed by radar, and confirms by aircraft. A quick look around shows that the average error on wind speed via radar is about 2.5 m/s.

Dave A
August 6, 2010 9:58 am

Most bureaucracies intentionally or otherwise will fudge on the “more” side to prevent anyone from pointing fingers at them. I work in the forest in northern Canada and fire suppression crews classify fires they’ve put out as “active” for several days. They do this so that on the off chance a fire flares up again, they do not appear negligent. A similar strategy would seem to be at work here.

August 6, 2010 10:37 am

The problem with NOAA forecasts is NOT with the three forecasters who actually work there, it’s with the 4,627 Editors-in-Chief at NOAA and on up the food chain (aka – Political Appointees) who are trying to re-make NOAA into the Obama administration’s National Office of Arab Appreciation in order to beat out those quacks at NASA who got such a big jump on them. It’s politics, not science. A $2Billion survey run by the White House with kids under 18 indicated a better impression was made saying Noaa rather than Nasa.

August 6, 2010 12:49 pm

“NOAA Still Expects Active Atlantic Hurricane Season; La Niña Develops”
They’ve been incorrectly predicting an active season every year since 2006, followed by repeated downgrades throughout the season. Pretty soon their doom and gloom predictions will be right – if you keep predicting doom, once in a while you’ll be right, like a broken clock. But not this year.

Dennis in Ohio
August 8, 2010 4:58 pm

I am tired of having tropical depressions and weak storms given any notice at all – most of them never even come up to a common thunder storm in the Midwest in overall damage or intensity. The actual facts of these graphs and charts is that we are in a usual cycle of inactivity, no doubt influenced by low sun activity over the last decade. As for the forecasts, they are rarely right – even blind squirrels sometimes find a nut, etc. If you’ll look at the average 14 day forecast on any forecast service and then look at the actual weather, it is RARELY correct beyond the next three or four days. How anyone with a straight face can put out a long range forecast is beyond me. So, you have a few “hot” years and then they’re all supposed to be hot going forward? Same logic as having a few busy hurricane seasons and then expecting all future ones to be busy also – as usual, MGW cannot survive statistics – they must be buried someone. For the record, I enjoy seeing Jim Cantori strapped to a pole whereever the eye is supposed to make landfall.

Tropical Doldrums
August 20, 2010 10:33 am

Never could understand the loss of the phrase at NOAA , “If it looks like a duck…and quacks like a duck…then it must be a duck”. Why not just forecast persistence? Just a observation loooking out through the glass house.

August 22, 2010 1:19 pm

For those tracking tropical Atlantic weather, see “Meteorology for South Florida and the Caribbean”, “Images from the GOES East Meteorological Satellite (GOES-12)”, at
There’s much more in the page, including forecasts, enjoy!

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