“Hurricane Maria is following Irma’s path”… Maria coverage picks up where Irma coverage left off.

Guest post by David Middleton

Hurricane Maria is a really bad storm.  This criticism of the media’s coverage of it is in no way meant to dismiss, disregard or devalue the harm that this storm will bring to many people.

With Irma we had variations of the following headlines:

  • Most Powerful Hurricane Ever
  • Most Powerful Atlantic Hurricane Ever
  • Most Powerful Atlantic Hurricane Ever… Apart From More Powerful Atlantic Hurricanes Ever
  • Most Powerful Atlantic Hurricane Ever… In This Particular Part of the Atlantic Ocean

Now we have…

Hurricane Maria is following Irma’s path and getting stronger

By Susannah Cullinane and Holly Yan, CNN
Updated 4:05 AM ET, Mon September 18, 2017

[…]

CNN

Screen capture of CNN video that accompanied the article:

Epic Fail

If their paths cross, they can’t be following the same path.

 

Maria_Irma_19_09_0800_e

And from the Beeb…

Hurricane Maria batters Dominica as category five storm

19 September 2017
From the section Latin America & Caribbean

[…]

Maria is moving roughly along the same track as Irma, the hurricane that devastated the region this month.

[…]

The Beeb

Dr. Jeff Masters’ Weather Underground has a very user-friendly collection of hurricane graphics (proof that climate is not weather).  Using a combination of Weather Underground and National Hurricane Center graphics, I put together a comparison of the paths of these two storms.  The lack of similarity should be intuitively obvious to the most casual of observers…

Maria_Irma_19_09_0800_a

Maria historical track and forecast models (5 AM EDT 19 Sept 2017) and Irma historical track.

Maria_Irma_19_09_0800_b

Previous image with National Hurricane Center’s 5-day forecast cone.

Why?  Why is there this obsession with Maria following the same path as Irma?  Yes… That was a rhetorical question.

Hurricane Maria’s Path: Is it On the Same Track as Irma?

Tropical Storm Maria – soon to be Hurricane Maria – is taking a similar path, at least so far, as Hurricane Irma. That has a lot of people in Florida and, especially, throughout the Caribbean, on edge.

However, is Hurricane Maria really taking a similar path to Hurricane Irma? The answer is yes, in its early stages (and you can see the forecast cones for both later in this article). However, the September 18 spaghetti and forecast cone models show that Maria may then veer to the north and miss the United States and Florida completely. Be aware, though, that these are just projections, and they also preliminarily showed Irma hitting the east coast or veering out to sea before she shifted course and struck the western coast of Florida.

[…]

Heavy

Maria’s path has never been similar to Irma’s.  Their paths couldn’t be much more dissimilar for “likely” paths of September hurricanes…

september

Prevailing tracks of September Atlantic hurricanes (NOAA).

Maria_Irma_19_09_0800_d

Irma and Maria tracks on September prevailing track map.

The paths of Irma and Maria are similar in the same way that the paths of interstate highways I-10 and I-20 are similar… They go from east to west and hit some of the same States.

 

Other “brilliant” headlines:

 

 

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133 thoughts on ““Hurricane Maria is following Irma’s path”… Maria coverage picks up where Irma coverage left off.

    • But you don’t understand! It isn’t the hurricane itself that’s important. It isn’t even thepath it follows.

      It’s the DRAMA!!! You have to have DRAMA! Without DRAMA! you don’t have much of a news story. It becomes just another hurricane and less interesting than Carla or Sandy or Katrina or Andrew or Camille or whoever is next.

      DRAMA! It’s what they live for!

      • in the media it’s definitely a category 6 near category 7 interthermonuclear dramaticane of unseen superlatives…

        they had 12 years to prepare a whole batch of them :)

  1. Everything is being played for emotional “punch” these days. That’s what you have to do to get attention and ratings–be more shrill and hysterical than the next source. I find that older people, who grew up thinking “if it’s on TV it must be true” are the most susceptible to this kind of brain-stem manipulation. Most people around me right now believe we are having unusual, unprecedented, and terrifying weather. And we live more than a thousand miles away from the hurricane-affected areas! Very, very effective fomentation of hysteria, thanks MSM! Time to ask in what way this serves society. I just tell people to turn off the box.

    • I find that older people, who grew up thinking “if it’s on TV it must be true” are the most susceptible to this kind of brain-stem manipulation

      Stereotypes and broad-brush statements like that are part of the problem. It’s not limited to a particular demographic. The vast majority of people don’t practice “nullius in verba.” It has always been so.

      I’m 63, Richard Feynman is my hero, and I’m a hard core skeptic.

      • Apparently millennials are cursing the older generation who simply don’t give a shit because they will be dead ( and oddly don’t seem to care for their families as grandparents traditionally have ? ).

        Younger generations have been brainwashed from the cradle with this AGW crap, if anything it is the older, wiser generation who tend to be more sceptical.

        I get the impression the median readership age here is definitely “senior”.

    • I will agree with you that everything is played for ratings. The problem is you have chosen the wrong group. As a current “older person” I watched TV and verified it with the newspaper – back when I watched TV and the newspapers weren’t just another source of shrill lies, never accepting what the talking heads said until then. TV was a quick source, it wasn’t the chosen media for truth. But with the lumping of TV, radio, and newspapers into the same conglomerates, you have to trust your intuition, not the news.

      We also weren’t running around wearing our emotions on our sleeves or as mottos on our shirts. It is the cellphone/facebook people that suck this crap up, not “older people.”.

    • YOU find! Could you please be more definitive about this study you have conducted? Please include graphs and statistics.

    • I find that younger people who have never learned anything are the most susceptible.

      Among scientists, the distinguished elders call BS on Mann, et al, while the young are forced to go along to get along and ahead.

    • “Goldrider September 19, 2017 at 7:25 am
      I find that older people, who grew up thinking “if it’s on TV it must be true” are the most susceptible to this kind of brain-stem manipulation.”

      Absurd!

      Us older folks grew up with Westerns, comedies, sitcoms, really bad weather forecasts, sixty minutia, absurd off the wall advertising claims as in where did you think “truth in advertising” laws came from.

      Television is rife with actors, actresses and glory hogs paid to tell us anything the writers desire.

      Ever hear of Jimmy Bakker? A televangelist, unfortunately TV was lousy with televangelists; most who could make Bill Clinton look prim.

      Your gross assumption is ridiculous, Goldrider.

    • Back in pre-Internet days, the saying was, “You can’t believe everything you read in the paper!”

      Every generation has its cohort of “they wouldn’t publish/broadcast/post it if it weren’t true” folks.

      Some people look for truth outside themselves. To some extent, this is true of all of us as social beings: we do have some need to fit in, so we look to see what sort of dress, speech, manners are most like our most familiar neighbors.

      As far as I can tell, some folks take this all the way and look outside themselves for everything.

      Others are more self-referential (which can also be taken too far). True skepticism is a challenging path, as it requires constant willingness to find oneself in the wrong. The payoff, of course, is that once we’ve faced up to being wrong, we then know better than we did before.

  2. I find that older people, who grew up thinking “if it’s on TV it must be true” Never saw TV until I was 7, never heard of such a silly concept.

  3. The thing following the same path seems to be the news stories. It’s strange that when we have so many different sources available that the mainstream media seems to be falling into groupthink. I think they can’t afford to pay for decent reporting any more and are reduced to copying other people’s stuff.

      • Well, yes — they could also just look at a couple of graphs and learn that CAGW isn’t happening, that if it were Paris wouldn’t make a dent anyway, etc. Or take a look through Galileo’s telescope.

      • Dr. Jeff Masters’ Weather Underground has a very user-friendly collection of hurricane graphics (proof that climate is not weather).

        For a long time weatherunderground was incredibly alarmist. The blog name is Category 6. However, I just took a quick peruse and maybe it’s sampling but the alarmism seems to have toned down a bit. I’m still not brave enough to turn the weather channel back on.

        The other weather underground chart I use to get confidence (or not) in the models is the historical paths. Not happy with this one now because florida is more or less centered in the spaghetti. The proof is going to be in the North turn. My pool screens are still flapping in the breeze.

  4. These morons are so pathetic. They are grasping at every little dust particle that they can. Eric Holthaus (climate fiction writer; failed meteorologist? – inquiring minds want to know!) just wrote:

    Hurricane #Maria has made landfall in Dominica, the first Category 5 hurricane in recorded history to do so. Records date to 1851.

    OMFG! UN-effing-PRECEDENTED! SAVE US ELON MUSK!

    • btw, “fastest intensifying hurricane” is the new “be afraid; be very afraid” talking point.

    • Hurricane #Maria has made landfall in Dominica, the first Category 5 hurricane in recorded history to do so. Records date to 1851.

      ~¿~
      Wasn’t Irma a Cat 5 pretty much the whole way through the Caribbean?

      Did it somehow MISS Dominica? If Maria were ‘Following Irma’s Path’ wouldn’t it hit the same places? That’s usually how paths work.

      This makes my head hurt.

      >¿<

      • MAria will intersect with Irma’s path… In the bass-ackwards world of journalism, an oblique intersection is the same path.

      • Mark, in all due deference to a Pulitizer Prize winning journalist, I do think I stated that my criticism of the piss-poor journalism was not in any way meant to diminish the plight of the people who have been or will be harmed by these hurricanes.

        There would be no need for me to post threads like this, if journalists would accurately and honestly report the news.

        Your “day-in-the-life” articles about medical professionals and their patients are examples of excellence in journalism. They give real-world meaning to Robin Williams’ speech at the end of Patch Adams. If only that excellence was present in Earth and Atmospheric Science journalism.

      • If the end result of what journalists write scares the heck out of the people in the path of an oncoming storm…..GREAT. When the people head for higher/safer ground as a result of what the journalists published……GREAT. Saving one life is worth any and all the scorn you can heap upon said journalist.

      • Mark,

        Human life often depends on journalists accurately reporting the facts.

        If the people of Houston had heeded this sort of journalism:

        If the end result of what journalists write scares the heck out of the people in the path of an oncoming storm…..GREAT.

        Harvey would have been a far worse disaster than it was.

      • “Human life often depends on journalists accurately reporting the facts.”

        LMAO, you’re funny, tell me when has a human life depended on what was reported in the National Enquirer?

      • ROTFLMFAO!!! Mark… I said (well, typed) “journalists”… Oh, I see your point… Maybe I should have typed…

        “Human life often depends on journalists accurately reporting the facts.

      • “Human life often depends on journalists accurately reporting the facts”
        and
        “Human life often depends on journalists accurately reporting the facts.

        Are identical.

        I guess you think repeating yourself changes something?

        Are you doing the same thing over and over expecting different results?

      • Generally speaking, the piss-poor STEM-related journalism has always preceded my posts which ridiculed the piss-poor STEM-related journalism..

      • I see your “point” now.

        “Human life often depends on journalists accurately reporting the facts”
        and
        “Human life often depends on journalists accurately reporting the facts.

        By placing “accurately reporting the facts” in bolded text, I was emphasizing that qualification, in response to this:

        If the end result of what journalists write scares the heck out of the people in the path of an oncoming storm…..GREAT. When the people head for higher/safer ground as a result of what the journalists published……GREAT. Saving one life is worth any and all the scorn you can heap upon said journalist.

        As a journalist, don’t you normally keep a record of the order in which things are said or typed?

      • It is very important to report accurate weather accounts via the media, to inform people of potential dangers. If every weather event is exaggerated and ends up not too serious. People lose respect for the information given and may ignore further warnings when they actually could end up being very serious.

      • I had a Marine Science professor who would mark an answer completely wrong for misspelling words… LOL!

      • Luckily I had an aviation law professor who did not mark off misspellings. The logic was one could always hire a secretary. I go t an A in that class, had he taken off for misspelling it would have been a F.

      • I had a meteorology professor who marked off every case where I used “data” as singular.

        He was correct, of course. There is nothing more horrible than the modern abuse of Latin. The plural is the new singular — to wit not only “data” but “media”, “bacteria” etc. These fake singulars then engender fake plurals like “datas”, “bacterias”, “mediae”, and on this very site “ridiculae”. The Latin word “species” which is the same for singular and plural gets truncated to the spurious singular “specie”. And on and on “ad naseum.”

      • “There is nothing more horrible than the modern abuse of Latin.”

        And that’s compared to, say, testicular cancer and Cat-5 hurricanes in fly-over country?

        I jest.

        :)

        rip

      • Why would you think data is Latin? Originates there, yes, but it is definitely English.

        But if you want to increase your pain, remember that sauna’s plural is saunat when talking about a definitive set and saunoja when talking about some saunat. And, of course, the genitive is saunan, not sauna’s. Except in plural, when it becomes saunojen. Monty Python jokes on this science of foreign inflective grammar well when Brian tries to write Romans go home! Nonononoooo….

        I guess SAH-ooh-nah-s is just a good plural, after all.

        Do you want to know the genitive plural of 出租汽车? :) The whole idea of this is to keep the uneducated shutting up since they don’t know the language of the better people, Latin.

      • …. so I had my balls removed, got a LEGAL reason to get pumped up with testosterone and won the Tour de France.

        Hey, if I didn’t really have testicular cancer , I would have paid some quack good money for a positive diagnosis. If you want to win enough to win, you have to make sacrifices.

      • Greg September 19, 2017 at 2:10 pm
        …. so I had my balls removed, got a LEGAL reason to get pumped up with testosterone and won the Tour de France.

        Hey, if I didn’t really have testicular cancer , I would have paid some quack good money for a positive diagnosis. If you want to win enough to win, you have to make sacrifices.

        You have to be a Dodgeball fan to get this… ;)

  5. It’s Christmas in climate alarmism land but before we bolt to the human caused angle on this event we must consider the following.
    1. High variability of tropical cyclone activity at an annual time scale requires decadal or longer time scales.
    2. Tropical cyclone trends can only be studied as global averages of all seven basins because of high random variability at the basin level.
    3. An anthropogenic cause is indicated only if the rate of warming in SST can be attributed to emissions. Tropical cyclone formation and intensification are thought to be driven by SST.

    But there is no such evidence of anthropogenic cause.
    https://ssrn.com/abstract=3033001

    • Tom Trevor,
      Your professor may not have done you a favor in the long run. I once got into a spat with an editor at the aerospace company I retired from because she wanted me to change the verb agreement with “data” to be singular, in my annual report on my research. It did not end well with her because she was adamant that she was right. If you hire a “secretary” to make you look good, and that person is not any better than you, then you have lost your chance to look good.

  6. Those in the Midwest that bother to watch their local weather forecast have just been told that a huge High is moving into the region from the Gulf and the West. For the next week and a half, summer will return with temps nearing 90s. Maria is much more likely to follow Jose, get married, and honeymoon somewhere around Iceland.

  7. You should have said something about the winds. Max 70knots measured until now and in 60 miles from Maria’a center there is barely any wind. It is a very small category 1 hurricane, not a cat 5 monster.

    • Agreed. PR has plenty of NDBC stations. We will see the damage there matching the sustained winds recorded by those anemometers at landfall.

    • Looks like YABP4 has blown away (or at least the anemometer is broken)? ://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/station_page.php?station=yabp4

      I’m not convinced that the low wind-speed readings on the ground demonstrate a CAT1, as you imply. Surely, the chances of the eye (and consequently the highest speeds) passing over any particular point (like a buoy or weather station) is small? Therefore, if they are using peak wind speed as the determination of the category, they will have to use some other measurement, height, modelling, estimation and classification to come up with a category, not just the highest sustained wind speed actually recorded by a ground-based instrument? Despite this, I suspect that I shall agree with you that, when all the data is in and properly analyzed, Maria isn’t going to turn out to be a major hurricane.

    • 42060 is in the eye now, wind is going down, pressure still falling. Max wind in the eye wall was 73.8 knots, 1-2 category. Pressure 956mb.

      • Are you sure that the eye passed “over” buoy 42060? Surely that would be too much of a coincidence. I had assumed that that eye would pass near the buoy, but not necessarily so close that the buoy was in the eye. PS, just for fun: The wind speed at station 42060 during Maria2017, away from the eye, is approximately given by p+q/(1+(t/a)²) where, roughly, p=15 miles per hour, q=55 miles per hour, a=7 hours, t=hours after 15:00 GMT. I don’t know if this empirical formula has any basis in physics!

      • “Maria’s eye passed over buoy 42060, min pressure 956mb, max wind 85mph = small category 1 hurricane. NHC lied again.”

        Nope it didn’t (and no they didn’t) – the buoy is drifting ….

        http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/nws_special/42060.txt

        “Station 42060 went adrift on 9/19/2017 and the last report from its moored position was at 1400Z. It is still transmitting valid observation data, which continued to be reported here, but not from the location above.”

        YYYY MM DD hh LAT LON WD WSPD GST WVHT DPD BARO ATMP WTMP DEWP VIS TIDE
        deg kts kts ft sec mb degC degC degC mi ft
        2017 09 19 19 16.2661 -63.2023 171 45.5 59.4 99.0 99.0 9999.0 999.0 999.0 999.0 99.0
        2017 09 19 18 16.2367 -63.1979 184 49.7 65.3 99.0 99.0 9999.0 999.0 999.0 999.0 99.0
        2017 09 19 17 16.2334 -63.2087 197 55.2 74.8 99.0 99.0 9999.0 999.0 999.0 999.0 99.0
        2017 09 19 16 16.2648 -63.2456 230 54.8 74.0 99.0 99.0 9999.0 27.0 999.0 27.0 99.0
        2017 09 19 15 16.3322 -63.2410 311 69.0 93.0 99.0 99.0 9999.0 26.7 999.0 26.7 99.0
        2017 09 19 14 16.3788 -63.2093 4 55.9 75.8 99.0 99.0 9999.0 26.6 999.0 26.6 99.0
        2017 09 19 13 16.3926 -63.1997 15 52.3 73.2 99.0 99.0 9999.0 26.2 999.0 26.2 99.0
        2017 09 19 12 16.3936 -63.2004 10 47.0 64.7 99.0 99.0 9999.0 26.4 999.0 26.2 99.0
        2017 09 19 11 16.3946 -63.2007 17 43.5 61.2 99.0 99.0 9999.0 26.6 999.0 26.2 99.0

        But still managed a gust to 93kts @ 15Z

        LOCATION of Maria at 18Z …16.6N 63.6W
        ” Buouy at 18Z 16.2367 63.1979

        Makes it 32nm away to SE of the centre at that time.

        http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCPAT5+shtml/191757.shtml

        “Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from
        the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to
        140 miles (220 km). During the past few hours, the eye passed just
        north of NOAA buoy 42060, which reported 1-min average winds of
        85 mph (137 km/h) and a wind gust of 94 mph (151 km/h).

        The estimated minimum central pressure is 927 mb (27.37 inches).
        NOAA buoy 42060 reported a minimum pressure of 955.7 mb
        (28.22 inches) as the eye passed.”

      • “Maria passed over the buoy, period. NOAA’s numbers are junk.”

        No it didn’t … else show me the numbers where the wind abatted in the eye.
        None there.
        Why don’t you go one further an say that NOAA ‘adjusted’ those umbers too.

        Went from 017 deg 43/61 @ 11Z to 004 56/76 @ 14Z (time when NOAA said it went adrift)
        to 311 69/93 @15Z.
        You don’t need to be Met-man (I am BTW) to see that those direction show the eye passing to the NE of the buoy.

  8. Under-educated journalists doing what they were trained to do. They also think the global average temperature is following the same path the models predicted. Close enough for propaganda work.

    • Gary, they aren’t “under-educated,” as they know what they are doing and why. They just don’t care about accuracy.

    • One almost longs for the day that the garbage in the media was only there due to under-educated journalists.

      Now, we have under- (and un-) educated movie stars, “singers” and media “celebrities” who further cloud the waters with their earnest pontifications, which are never, of course, related to hyping an upcoming movie…

      Just ask !Dr. Jennifer Lawrence, she of the two solid years of home schooling leading into a modelling career.

  9. You may have missed this beauty…last evening during the 6 p.m. CNN News with “Blitz Wolfstar” there was a box inserted on the screen under the banner “Breaking News”. The box contained an infrared sat loop of Maria as she approached the Leeward Islands. The sub-headline was “NEW CATEGORY 4 STORM APPROACHING U.S.”…with the center of the storm roughly 1,200 miles from Miami at the time!!!

    • That’s why I thought: they cross at Haiti. I suppose the important divergence is Irma going East (recorded) at this point but Maria going North (forecast).

  10. David,
    One must always keep in mind that the ‘news’ media are in the business of selling advertising, which is dictated by the size of their readership. Thus, they have to write headlines that make potential readers buy the print version, or click on the website link. Accuracy is of far less concern than getting the rubes to pay to enter the tent and ogle the bearded lady.

    • That’s very true… And… If the media didn’t have a penchant for exaggerating & fabricating and being functionally illiterate in STEM-related subjects… I would have a lot less to blog about… LOL!

      • The BBC have joined in. “The storm is moving roughly along the same track as Irma, this season’s other category five hurricane.”
        “The new storm is proving particularly treacherous as its strength can change dramatically in a matter of hours.”
        No Maria is not “changing dramatically in a matter of hours”. It’s the estimates (or the way they are spun, cherry-picked and despun) that are treachorous.
        Hurricane Maria regains strength after battering Dominica
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-41323272 (downloaded 201709191816).

  11. “The paths of Irma and Maria are similar in the same way that the paths of interstate highways I-10 and I-20 are similar..”

    While the gist of the story is correct, the above example was a bad one. I-10 and I-20 merge in West Texas, and so it can be said they follow the same “path” from there to Los Angeles. (I know the road in that section does not have a dual designation.)

    • Well… the paths of Irma and Maria will also, if only briefly, “merge.” The difference is that Maria will continue on to the north after crossing Irma’s path… ;)

    • Some people have missed the obvious connection. Neither the interstate highway system nor hurricanes would exist without humans and their motor cars. Yes, you heard it here first. Hurricanes and the US interstate highway system are inextricably linked.

      Now, where are those post modern academic paper generators. I feel a grant application coming on.

  12. Ah, but you’ve neglected to account for the fact that IRMA contains four of the same letters as MARIA. In this post-Normal world of chem lab assistants made Pope, pretty movie stars uttering ugly, misinformed climate prognostications, and Leftist politicians spewing Lysenkoist drivel, that should be a significant consideration.

  13. I was wondering why my friend on Saturday night was so worked up. He was in a panic that Tropical Storm Lee (he meant Maria) was going to hit us. I tried to calm him down but he kept insisting it was following “the same path as Irma.” I tried to explain to him that the steering currents over the Atlantic were always changing and that storms only a few days apart could follow different tracks. This did not seem to mollify him. Now I understand that some screaming headline had put the notion into his head that Maria was locked on to the same course as Irma. Of course, everyone in south Florida is on edge about any system to our east right now.

  14. David Middleton,

    “The paths of Irma and Maria are similar in the same way that the paths of interstate highways I-10 and I-20 are similar… They go from east to west and hit some of the same States.”

    Great analogy! :

  15. No, you don’t understand. Irma broke trail, the same as a snowmobile does through snow, making it easier for others to follow in the same path. Simple physics. Plus, the hurricanes following that path don’t need to expend as much energy breaking trail, so will be even bigger, badder and meaner than ever. Again, simple physics. Sheesh.

    • Wow, it really is worse than we thought. Who ever would have thought that sharknado was a documentary warning us of future dangers? Come back Al Gore. Come back Mann-o-matic. All is forgiven.

      • Thanks, Forrest.
        I never noticed before that most hurricane tracks look sort of like a hockey stick.
        (Or maybe the hook they used on the “Gong Show”.)

    • Bruce, just the opposite. All hurricanes are cooling events. They dissipate sea surface energy over the path of the storm. Following storms will have less energy available from the cooler surface, so will be weaker.

  16. They all start somewhere over by Africa, sort of, and head west, sort of, and then eventually go over somewhere, more or less, and then go north, usually more or less, and get stronger or weaker or stay the same as they go. So yes, it followed the same path.

  17. They couldn’t use the superlatives and personifications and hurricane hype and spins that were “projected” for 12 years. They got a bit constipated and ached to get them out.
    This year has been sort of a laxative for them.
    We know what laxatives produce.

  18. Maria eyewall sustained winds are 64 knots, based on the NDBC buoy 42060 anemometer. No other reliable surface measurements available. NHC claims of Category 5 are totally bogus.
    Most likely that Maria will be a small Category 1 hurricane at PR landfall.

    NDBC station YABP4 (Yabucoa) will be near landfall, with anemometer height 10 meters. The sustained winds recorded at that station will likely be Category 1, with area surface damage that matches.

    Google street maps of SE PR show villages with a lot of concrete walls and roofs for housing. Plenty of palm trees to use as wind speed indicators. Lots of above ground power poles, some wood, some concrete. I’d say that PR building construction practice is better than Florida in regard to tropical cyclones.

      • After Irma, I asked here, and of my local NWS office, why the NHC had still not released actual, measured surface sustained wind speeds (from Harvey or Irma), especially considering that this is the sole criterion for their categorization. I still have no satisfactory answer; after some research, a few excuses, and a bit of prevarication, the NWS office wrote, “we don’t know”…

      • I can’t quite work out how the raw data is used to derive the advisory ratings. There are three separate measuring systems for the recon aircraft:

        1. A flight level wind speed measured as 30 second average and peak reading over a 10 second interval.

        2. A surface estimate from SFMR radar which measures emissivity of the surface. The principal being higher wind speeds result in more froth on the surface which can be measured across 6 separate GHz+ bands in the radar.

        3. A dropsonde measurement which is jettisoned from the aircraft and falls over a 3-4 minute interval transmitting slices of data until it hits surface.

        For all interested in monitoring the flights and their data you can check out: http://tropicalatlantic.com/recon/ which can be imported into google earth or viewed in browser on map.

        The dropsonde data seemed like it should be most accurate but I’ve seen other comments suggesting it uses the GPS co-ordinates to infer wind speed and direction which seems fraught with potential inaccuracies. One of the drops from AF303 earlier today occured in the eyewall but the final resting place of the sensor was about 10 km away. Hard to calibrate the flight level readings when the plane is travelling the opposite direction of the dropsonde you are trying to calibrate too.

        I’m actually surprised that the raw data is so readily available as comparing plane readings with surface stations like Yabucoa or Lime Tree Bay (http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/station_page.php?station=LTBV3) with overlays of the GOES 16 images where you can see and measure proximity to eyewall is showing a big disconnect.

        I’m not advocating the advisories should be ignored but it seems a worthy task to independently derive the official sustained winds from the raw data and compare against direct surface measurements rather than simply using the largest peak recorded value from the three separate systems.

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