Bastardi: 'potential nightmare.. a tropical cyclone coming at the outer banks on the July 4 weekend'

UPDATE: Latest GFDL model output suggests Bastardi could be right, see below.

UPDATE2: New information from Bastardi here shows 4th of July nightmare is shaping up to be true.

The Case for Rapid Development Feedback of a Potential Tropical Storm: Arthur.


NASA Satellite image of the disturbance off the east coast of Florida at 8:40am.

Guest essay by Joe Bastardi, WeatherBell Analytics.

In the old days, one never had to worry about anything but hitting the forecast.  But times have changed. With an agenda out there to take any weather event that attracts attention and turn into into a reason that an AGW driven atmospheric apocalypse is upon us, one has to make sure the physical grounds are stated before hand for why the event can occur.

We are faced with a potential nightmare.. a tropical cyclone coming at the outer banks on the July 4 weekend. I already have this as an 80 knot storm by July 4th, right on top of the North Carolina coast. That represents the mid ground of a fear this can be stronger. The post Sunday on on this outlined why.  To refresh your memory, a look at the ECMWF 200 mb pattern Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, indicates why this can deepen so much, and as a matter of fact is in a prime area to do so.

The Wed AM outflow channel is developing to the northwest,  with  north winds on the east side. The storm position is marked by the X on the map below:


Thursday morning:


Finally,  Friday morning…Even here it is still in the “upward motion” quadrant of the jet to the north (right  front entrance) though by this time the best conditions start to fade. But by this time the center has battered the outer banks.


The seawater, like the end game of the last AMO in the 1950s, is very warm along the east coast.



Again this warm seawater is a product of the natural cyclical function of the AMO in its mature stage.

You can read about that here:

As I posted on it, and the preseason forecast outlined our great concern about in close development/intensification this season, a product of the overall climatic pattern we are in (again similar to the 1950s).

Storms coming to the coast in their intensification stage will often use frictional effects to feedback and intensify. A large powerful , mature hurricane in the same position might weaken, its expanse  and interaction with the trough  causing an extensive area of rain cooled air to be pulled in to the storm. But a smaller storm may actually intensify, since it is not yet large enough to pull in the rain cooled air and the frictional affects, may tighten the bands up.  The large scale pattern that may weaken a major storm, may be conducive to deepening a smaller one.

Look at it this way.  If you have 2 people, one used to 3000 calories a day, one used to 1000 calories and they sit down to a  2000 calorie meal every day for a week, the larger person would lose weight, the lighter gain weight.  The common thread of this is rarely recognized in storms.  But the smaller the storm, the better the chance it can deepen. Think of Katrina approaching Florida as a small storm with ideal conditions for development.

She deepened right to the coast. But when she got very large, a cat 5, in the same place the much smaller Camille in 1969 was a cat 5, she started to weaken, while Camille maintained the core winds right to the coast.  My point here being that what is good for the goose is not always good for the gander, and this storm has alot going for it.

Lets take a similar example:  Hurricane Alex in 2004 which battered the outer banks and was worse than the forecast from official sources had,  with wind gusts over 115 mph reported.

The track of Alex in 2004:


Alex exploded in 42 hours from a  35 kt minimal TS  to  85 kt storm. Notice the similar 200 mb pattern:

00z  Aug 2  2004


00a Aug  3 2004


00z  Aug  4,2004


By the way, a storm in the article above, Gerda in 1969, also “exploded” up the east coast in spite of interaction with an approaching trough. A first, with smaller storms, these troughs help ventilate the storms in the northwest quad. The smaller the storm, the tougher the forecast situation.

In addition, El Niño seasons are known for in-close deepeners. The strongest May storm on record in 1951 was Able, in a warm ENSO.  Audrey was  the strongest storm on record in June, 1957. Interestingly enough, in El Niño seasons, many of the first storms are strong ( more examples Betsy, 1965,  Alicia 1983,  Andrew was coming off the 91-92 El Niño and 2004 was an El Niño season, the year of the aforementioned Alex!

But if this does explode (again we have been on top of this…) the first alert for the HURRICANE  threat on the outer banks to clients, then public followers, was Saturday), it has nothing to do with .04% of the atmosphere. It has  everything to do with the physical reality of the pattern,  which we have seen before. Since we see a similar set up, we have to be on guard against a similar event.

There is nothing mystical or magical about it. That it would grab headlines of a major resort area on arguably the biggest summer holiday of the season, means the threat  of spinning it  for an agenda is there. I cherish the day when  the only kind of spinning we have to deal with is what the atmosphere  does, not what people using the atmosphere for their agenda spin it for.

There is a why before the what in a case like this if it does deepen, and it has nothing to do with global warming/climate change/AGW.

UPDATE: Latest GFDL model shows the speed, position, and central pressure forecasts for Friday, July 4th.

GFDL 2014-07-01 at 8.49.44 AM


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Q: Why are Weathermen anti-AGW? A: Because Weathermen, unlike Climatologists, are held accountable for their predictions.
Weathermen are the Scientists; Climatologists the Believers. Climatologists are like Creation Scientists: anyone who casts doubt on their dogma is branded anti-science.

Thanks for the explanation. We are northwest of the OBX, so we may get rain, but from the looks of it, not much wind. It will be interesting to see how it develops.


Been following Joe B. for nearly a decade now, starting on accuweather now wb. I respect the man as one of the best long ranger forecasters out there. He’s without peer WRT pattern recognition. I can also tell you that he’s a storm monger. His record when it comes to specific storm prediction is spotty, always erring….and I mean always….on the extreme side. Of course he might well be right. Just suggesting you factor that in…

Eustace Cranch

I’d hate for this to ruin folks’ 4th at OBX, but if it can bring some much-needed rain to Central VA (and other nearby areas) it won’t be all bad.

@Eustace – it was all bad – not a drop around here (but a few blocks away they got a brief shower). It could have been worse. But Arthur was more hype than storm.

Bill Illis

I remember hurricane/not hurricane Sandy which hit New York being first brought up on WUWT five days before anyone even talked about its potential. I immediately went to the model forecasts and saw that yeah there was a potential for a left-turn hurricane to hit NY based on on the forecast pressures. I think it was the weatherbell guys who made that forecast. Listen up.

The way the Outer Banks stick out, they are a hurricane magnet.
Recently the National Park Service mentioned they were going to move the stones that were at the base of Cape Hatteras’s original location before the lighthouse was moved. Environmentalists said this was because of sea-level rise. As if any barrier island is static until recently.
Blackbeard the pirate patrolled these waters because he knew how dangerous the waters were due to the sand bars. Blackbeard knew the sand, the pirate hunters did not. The warm Gulf Stream current builds in the sand, storms remove it. There is a town called Nags Head. Locals would tie a lantern around a donkey, which they called a nag. Ships would see the lantern and think it was a distant lighthouse and sail toward it. The ships would crash on the beach and the locals plundered the ship. The recently re-opened Boddie Island lighthouse was once an island separate from the Nags Head community and was once adjacent to the ocean. Not anymore. There is an inlet called Oregon Inlet. The inlet was formed after a powerful 1846 hurricane. The first ship to discover the new inlet was named Oregon. The state constantly dredged Oregon Inlet to keep it safe for ships to pass through. The never ending cycle of the Outer Banks is hurricanes and Nor’easters destroy and the Gulf Stream both builds and destroys.
I love the Outer Banks. Our family used to camp at the base of Cape Lookout lighthouse, back when it was owned by the Coast Guard and the only way to get there was your own boat. The only services provided were toilets, no showers and no electricity. The sand fleas were terrible. But what an experience, to sleep under a working lighthouse and nobody else is around. There is a lot of interesting history on the Outer Banks.

Dick Storm

Bob, Have a great 4th in Myrtle Beach. Give our best to Frank for his Birthday. I am forwarding a Joe Bastardi (Weatherbell) long range weather report, just FYI. Likely to be far enough north to not cause you a problem, but, for what it is worth, Dick

95% chance it goes zipping out to sea and leaves New England alone, but I always stay on my toes, wary about the 5%. In the 1950’s New England got clobbered a lot more than has happened this warm AMO, and I’m not sure our luck can hold.
Keep an eye peeled for any “pumping up” of the high ahead of the storm, and any secondary low pressure along the front west of the hurricane, or any 500 mb strengthening of low pressure west of the storm as pressures further north in the upper air trough weaken. If that stuff starts to happen Wednesday or Thursday then Arthur could pull a 1954 Carol.

If this storm does rapidly strengthen and hit the Carolina Coast hard, I am sure CBS News will have a special on The Inconvenient Truth!


Thank you for the information Joe. I hope everyone on the outer banks is paying attention!!!

Bill H

Looking at prevailing patterns im not so sure about this prediction.
Still fairly new at this type of weather predictions. IMHO there appears to be way to much wind shear even though the pressures appear to be in the ball park.

The “Atlantic Tropical Weather Outlook” at indicates high (i.e. 80%) chance of a tropical depression (or worse) forming. The disturbance is currently approximately 80 nautical miles east of Vero Beach, Florida.
The main webpage is Note that for ease of memorization redirects to it.

Bill H

I guess the big question is what about the forming High pressure above Georgia? Will this pull the depression apart or will it feed it? It appears to be pulling it apart.. Time will tell…


Look like the disturbance is too close to land this time. Zygrib, another model for sailors, have it at about 30 knots with gusts at 40 knots when leaving the coast on Saturday heading northwest. This is however only one of this ‘computer games’ we learned not to have too much trust in after crossing the pacific last year. What they did best was tracking strong winds and storms. Weaker winds was about 10 % right !! not much. Usually overestimating to more wind than we got when the prediction was below 20 knots.

Rud Istvan

Hope you Are wrong, but suspect you are right.
We moved from South Florida to alternative base in NW Chicago suburbs last Wed, and this evening confronted weather warnings about possible 2″ hail and tornados. It is booming as I type. Just the same as in the 1980’s when I first moved from Germany to Chicago.
Weather is definitely a B*tch. Climate change, not so much. I could tell you about the time we barely made it back to the marina off Lake Mixhigan in my 37 foot sailboat before 85 mph straight line winds hit over a 4 July weekend… Let’s see, back in was it 94 or 95? The grown and married kids would know, since their memories are undoubtdly etched sharper.
Outer Banks folks, head to safety. it ain’t climate change, just weather. the warnings from better weather predictions save lives. Climate predictions don’t.

Robert of Ott awa

Does this mean Obama and the Warmistas are hopirng for bad news?

Alan Robertson

Hey Joe,
What would we do without you? Thanks so much for another greatly informative article.

mark from socal

The weatherman here this morning mentioned a storm off mexico. Will that one make it up north very far? Bring some rain in the form of monsoons? We sure need some rain.

Mac the Knife

Sheee-yit, Joe!
I sincerely hope it doesn’t develop as you have outlined (and supported with very good comparative data…).
Divine intervention?

Gary Pearse

I gather from recent work on ‘cycles’ that they have fallen out of favor by alarmists and sceptics alike ( analysts like Willis and others) . I had been using the 60 year cycle to “forecast” for recurrences and found it more reliable than the stuff climatologists have been forecasting. Cases in point: we heard ad nauseum during the recent Texas drought, floods on the Red River of the North a few years ago, western wildfires, cold in the Pacific NW, that they were the “worst in 60 years or so”.
During much expounding here on WUWT about hurricanes (and tornadoes I believe) in decline as a debating point against CAGW’s forecasts of expected increases, I cautioned that the 60 year cycle for the mid 50s would soon be upon us and we should be predicting increases ourselves to take the steam out of the CAGW crowd when inevitably we had another spate of these things so we weren’t playing catch up and having to argue this stuff belatedly. Anyway, one robin doth not a spring make, but I’m noting that Bastardi is talking about “… a product of the overall climatic pattern we are in (again similar to the 1950s).”If this turns out to be a big storm and it follows the track expected, put me down for some busy hurricane seasons over the next year or two. Emboldened, I might dig out my other predictions for the present decade on other extreme weather topics like floods, etc.


It all depends on the color of the sky in the morning.


Here is a totally cool thing thunderstorms can do – they produce gravity waves in the atmosphere seen by airglow.


I’ll be on Ocracoke Island from the 20th till the 27th this month. I love that place.

Thomas Weaver

Is there any possibly that this storm could move northward and inward hitting D.C.?


This storm is of purely non-tropical
origin. The baroclinic transition has
been forecast beautifully by the ECMWF model.
Such storms rarely exceed minimal
hurricane intensity.

Jeff Alberts

Jeff Glassman says:
June 30, 2014 at 6:02 pm
Q: Why are Weathermen anti-AGW? A: Because Weathermen, unlike Climatologists, are held accountable for their predictions.
They are? By whom?

Jeff Alberts

Oops, messed up my blockquote. 🙁


I used to go to Nags Head and Kitty Hawk and also down to Emerald Isle for years and years as a child. Each summer we would find the houses on stilts would be shifted from the beach side to the other side of the street. This has been the norm for my last 50 years and I’m positive for hundreds or more years before. I can’t think of much new. Been thru hurricanes down there too. God bless the Outer Banks…I will remember them always. Y’all take care and keep safe no matter when the bad weather hits. I miss those places so much. Weather will always be weather and don’t mess with mother nature…..

Bastardi is just parroting MODELS, just like everyone else. I saw this days before.


p.s. cause you can’t change mother nature… warming is a myth….but then we all know that!!!


Thomas Weaver says:
June 30, 2014 at 9:45 pm
Is there any possibly that this storm could move northward and inward hitting D.C.?
I wish, but during the 4th of July weekend the bums would all be out of there.

RE: Jeff Alberts says:
June 30, 2014 at 10:10 pm
Jeff Glassman says:
June 30, 2014 at 6:02 pm
Q: Why are Weathermen anti-AGW? A: Because Weathermen, unlike Climatologists, are held accountable for their predictions.
“They are? By whom?”
Are you kidding? Weatherbell is a private sector company. If they are not better than the government, who will subscribe?
Second, you ought check out the comments over at their site. Joe gets pounded even if he predicts six inches of snow and there’s only five. “There is no wrath like the wrath of a schoolboy when school isn’t cancelled.”
Lastly, Joe holds himself accountable. There was one hurricane (Rita?) that Joe saw way ahead of anyone else. It was a wave way back towards Africa and he had the headline, “Houston; we have a problem.” However he racked himself over the coals because of some error right at the end. (It hit the western suburbs of Houston rather than the eastern, or some such thing.)
Considering Joe and Weatherbell did such a fine job of seeing Sandy would hook east and be big enough to be a problem, (seeing that solution before some long range models even had Sandy on the maps,) I tend to respect and listen when he speaks.
Is he always right? No, but if you need to always be right you need a safe job, such as counting sheep.


Kevin Martin says: “Bastardi is just parroting MODELS, just like everyone else. I saw this days before”.
Anyone can say that, but Joe has the track record.
I await you putting out weekly forecasts as Joe does. Please post the link.

RE: Kevin Martin says:
June 30, 2014 at 10:33 pm
“Bastardi is just parroting MODELS, just like everyone else. I saw this days before.”
What model was that? It sure wasn’t the GFS. The GFS had a hurricane hitting Florida in two weeks, over and over, for nearly a month, and then when Joe came out with his first hints trouble could be brewing, it was the first time the GFS didn’t have a hurricane hitting somewhere in two weeks.
I’m serious. I saw some models had a weak low off Florida. Which one had a hurricane? I saw the European did, but wasn’t that 12 hours after Joe?
I think you just wrote that because you know saying that to Mr. Bastardi is like waving a red cloth in the face of a bull. I sure hope you’re a good matador.


Kevin Martin is obviously just another ethically challenged wannabe with an inferiority complex and a poor understanding of online business models..
@Kevin Martin: Rather than attempt to advertise your rent-seeking infosite here by denigrating a competitor, I suggest you just drop your prediction into Drudge’s tip box. But being as your rent-seeking infosite requires member access to see what passes for your work product, that approach would fail as well.
That said, I might pay good money to watch a clearly superior weather scientist like JB face jump all up into your peace – if that can be arranged on your rent-seeking infosite…
You could do quite playing the fool to JB’s straight man. Give it some thought!


Thank you for the heads up. This would directly impact my family. I have forwarded this to the potentially impacted family members and urged them to be prepared.
The extra time is greatly appreciated.


Kevin Martin,
Bastardi has been doing a good job with weather for over 25 years that I am aware of.
Best wishes learning marketing and manners, not to mention meteorology.

I think the most important question is: how will Ovomit, Al Snore and the rest of the AGW profiteers spin this storm to fit their agenda.

Kevin Martin says:
June 30, 2014 at 10:33 pm
Bastardi is just parroting MODELS, just like everyone else. I saw this days before.

Where? On Bastardi’s last Saturday morning video summary? Because that’s where it first came up.


Caleb says:
July 1, 2014 at 1:39 am
RE: Jeff Alberts says:
June 30, 2014 at 10:10 pm
Jeff Glassman says:
June 30, 2014 at 6:02 pm
Considering Joe and Weatherbell did such a fine job of seeing Sandy would hook east and be big enough to be a problem, (seeing that solution before some long range models even had Sandy on the maps,) I tend to respect and listen when he speaks.

Probably because he evidently follows ECMWF which predicted ‘Sandy’ had a 25% of hitting the greater NY area 8.5 days before landfall, (before Sandy was even named).

The sun is now said to be in a lull as to sunspots/has been a while now, yet it is a fact Canada and other cold climates have been experiencing, & continue to, later snowfalls/earlier spring snow melt. Canadian farmers welcome the increased growing season. AGW, there are about 600 million vehicles worldwide. Average car engine operating temp is 190F. Average 26000 planes flying through the lower atmosphere putting out about 1200F – 2400F engine exhaust temps. Burning of gasoline, higher ozone in troposphere, predicted doubling of ozone in this century. Ozone retains heat. Of course, activities of man have altered troposphere mix of gasses, the lie in AGW is that it is caused by CO2. But then PEAK OIL is real, as big oil goes for the last drops, unconventional oilsands that can never replace conventional oil because it cannot be extracted & processed fast enough to meet USA daily oil demand. Venezuela, Canada & Saudi Arabia are where the three largest known oil reserves exist, & mankind has already located and exploited all giant land oil fields. How do gov’ts break news of PEAK OIL to public, do it by way of CO2 because most all efforts to reduce CO2 involve use of less energy, much of that being supplied by petroleum. Peak oil perspective as backdrop, one can navigate correctly & know THERE WILL NEVER BE A RETURN TO GLOBAL ECONOMIC GROWTH & China can never become a USA for lack of petroleum, not for lack of fiat currency to buy the stuff.


if the storm does develop and either brushes the coast or does significant damages, Obama will tour the area and proclaim yet another crisis – this time to climate change. Maybe even his family will travel with him since it is a vacation area?
Oh, and state he’s implementing a carbon trading scheme for Al.

In defense of Joe’s over-forecasts, this is what you have to do when there is the possibility of an extreme event. The public is more tolerant of false alarms than they are of missed extreme event. It’s a classic forecasting balancing act: trying to maximize the probability of detection (POD) and minimize the false alarm ratio (FAR).

Jeff Alberts

Caleb says:
July 1, 2014 at 1:39 am
RE: Jeff Alberts says:
June 30, 2014 at 10:10 pm
Jeff Glassman says:
June 30, 2014 at 6:02 pm
Q: Why are Weathermen anti-AGW? A: Because Weathermen, unlike Climatologists, are held accountable for their predictions.
“They are? By whom?”
Are you kidding? Weatherbell is a private sector company. If they are not better than the government, who will subscribe?

Apparently you’re just talking about hurricane prediction, not general weather prediction. I have yet to see any weather prediction more than 24 hours out that’s much better than consulting entrails. Also, we’re apparently only talking about Mr. Bastardi, not “weathermen” in general as I quoted. They get the weather spectacularly wrong on a regular basis, but I don’t see anyone being held accountable.


too many abbreviations for me to understand what he was talking about.
[Reply: Try this. ~ mod.]

Later today, I’ll publish a post about the sea surface temperatures off the east coast of the US to stem the anticipated nonsense. I just finished the graphs. There’s nothing unusual.

RE: Phil. says:
July 1, 2014 at 5:40 am
Hi Phil. Nice to hear from you.
I haven’t the history at my finger tips. For all I know you could be right. (More often than not you are.) However a 25% chance eight days in advance is not certainty, in the la-la land of long range models. Not that they don’t sometimes amaze me by seeing changes I can’t see coming a week ahead, but other times they get things really wrong. (This summer, for some reason I don’t understand, the models have been scoring poorly.) (They do get graded, just like weathermen do.)
One thing that I enjoy is to go visit the sites my fellow weather geeks rave on, just after a model produces a major snowstorm for the east coast, seven days in advance. It’s like strolling around in a loony bin. Funniest are the fellows swaggering around saying, “I told you so,” like it is a done deal. It isn’t. Sometimes the very next run of the model has no storm at all. The comments get even funnier, then. However I myself keep quiet. I value my hat too much to risk a hundred bullet holes.


Question for meteorologists: What does SST anomaly map tell you? I would expect the difference between air and SST of the present day to be a bigger factor than SST vs history. Is the lack of SST vs air maps because we don’t have a way to measure this?


Bastardi’s site Weatherbell is amazing. Between him, Joe D and Ryan M those guys have some serious firepower when it comes to meteo. I will speak personally, I used them for my plow business two years in a row and I was very happy. I did not purchase the commercial myself but rather the lower membership. This gave me access to the premium site and all their posts as well as the Forum which had some really great talent posting there as well.
I have listened to JB since forever at various stops he has made in his professional career. And you can say what you want about his overzealous nature when it comes to snow (he’s a snow goose) but the man has serious talent with regard to recognizing potential trouble spots. He made a call on Sandy that could have been the whiff of the CENTURY (but he was right) and it took enormous courage to make that call. If I had listened to the local yahoo’s I would not have been ready for it at all. And this past winter he got the prolonged cold and big impact storms right (was he perfect, hell no, it’s the weather!). When all my fellow plow guys were running out of magic salt I still had my back up supply!!! Why? Because I knew winter wasn’t over, it was gonna still be snowing and cold as heck!! I only knew that because I listened to what I heard on his site. 2-3 steps ahead of your competitors? You betcha!
So when JB says watch out, watch out. Doesn’t mean he has a hotline to the Big Fellow, just that he’s humble enough that He see’s fit to give Joe insight now and again.

James at 48

Some of the drunken weekend warriors are already trickling into the area. Yes, this could be a real nightmare for emergency response workers.