Wilma and Franklin Are Funny In Different Ways

Forecaster Franklin of the National Hurricane Center, says, in the latest Hurricane WILMA Discussion,

AGREEMENT AMONG THE TRACK GUIDANCE MODELS…WHICH HAD BEEN VERY GOOD OVER THE PAST COUPLE OF DAYS…HAS COMPLETELY COLLAPSED TODAY. THE 06Z RUNS OF THE GFS…GFDL…AND NOGAPS MODELS ACCELERATED WILMA RAPIDLY TOWARD NEW ENGLAND UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF A LARGE LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM IN THE GREAT LAKES REGION. ALL THREE OF THESE MODELS HAVE BACKED OFF OF THIS SOLUTION…WITH THE GFDL SHOWING AN EXTREME CHANGE…WITH ITS 5-DAY POSITION SHIFTING A MERE 1650 NMI FROM ITS PREVIOUS POSITION IN MAINE TO THE WESTERN TIP OF CUBA. THERE IS ALMOST AS MUCH SPREAD IN THE 5-DAY POSITIONS OF THE 12Z GFS ENSEMBLE MEMBERS…WHICH RANGE FROM THE YUCATAN TO WELL EAST OF THE DELMARVA PENINSULA. WHAT THIS ILLUSTRATES IS THE EXTREME SENSITIVITY OF WILMA’S FUTURE TRACK TO ITS INTERACTION WITH THE GREAT LAKES LOW. OVER THE PAST COUPLE OF DAYS…WILMA HAS BEEN MOVING SLIGHTLY TO THE LEFT OR SOUTH OF THE MODEL GUIDANCE…AND THE LEFT-MOST OF THE GUIDANCE SOLUTIONS ARE NOW SHOWING WILMA DELAYING OR MISSING THE CONNECTION WITH THE LOW. I HAVE SLOWED THE OFFICIAL FORECAST JUST A LITTLE BIT AT THIS TIME…BUT IF WILMA CONTINUES TO MOVE MORE TO THE LEFT THAN EXPECTED…SUBSTANTIAL CHANGES TO THE OFFICIAL FORECAST MAY HAVE TO BE MADE DOWN THE LINE. NEEDLESS TO SAY…CONFIDENCE IN THE FORECAST TRACK…ESPECIALLY THE TIMING…HAS DECREASED CONSIDERABLY.

I do so hate the ALL CAPS, but three things are clear:

1. They don’t really have much confidence what this storm is actually going to do. A 1650 nautical mile gap in the five-day forecast is indeed rather heroic. [A nautical mile is 6080 feet or about 1853m.]

2. Forecaster Franklin really does have a wry sense of humor. He’s much more fun to read than the other forecasters.

3. Things have come to a pretty pass when one has a favorite National Hurricane Center forecaster.

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4 Responses to Wilma and Franklin Are Funny In Different Ways

  1. BroD says:

    Still, I’m pleased that Wilma seems to have leftist inclinations.

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  3. Joe says:

    I have been reading Weather Service forecast discussions for twenty years, and I would miss the all-caps format. Edward Tufte also points out (http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0001yB&topic_id=1) that nostalgia probably figures in to this. Even worse, in the early days disucssions were written with extensive use of word contractions. For example, ATTM was “at this time”, and ELY was “easterly”. Here is a partial list: http://www.gofir.com/aviation_weather_contractions.htm. The discusions could be virtually unintelligible to the casual reader. It really was meant for insiders, and it kept bandwidth low. In the 1990’s the extensive use of contractions (but not acronyms, evidently) was officially discouraged to make the discussions more readable by the interested public who could now access them over the internet.

  4. cb says:

    I think you’re selling AVILA short.

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