Friday, June 3, 2011

Our Team's 2011 Hurricane Forecast


June 3, 2011 (first published 5/22/2011) Foot's Forecast projects 15 named storms in 2011, 7 to become hurricanes and 4 of those to become "major hurricanes" on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, with winds of 111 mph or greater. Regarding landfall, we project that a total of 6 named storms will make landfall in North America, including 2 hurricanes and 1 major hurricane. These specific predictions are within the projected range of Atlantic Basin tropical activity as presented in NOAA's 2011 Hurricane Season Forecast.


RATIONALEAmong the factors we believe will influence the outcome of the 2011 hurricane season include changes in the current La Nina temperature cycle of the central and eastern Pacific. If La Nina continues to rapidly warm towards neutral for much of the summer, we believe this may inhibit significant tropical development through the middle of the tropical season. For instance, Florida could be at risk for the first half of the season, but any tropical cyclones in the Gulf may not be able to strengthen above category 1 due to increased shear. However, if by middle of the tropical season (by September 1) the 3-month Oceanic Nino Index (ONI) levels off to neutral instead of continuing to warm, we hypothesize this may permit one or more long-track Cape Verde systems to reach North America due to reduced shear in mid and upper levels.


Verification of 2010 Hurricane Forecast

Forecast issued May 28, 2010 - Baltimore, Maryland | TROPICAL ZONE | FACEBOOK

Summary report of the 2010 season by the Brownsville NWS Office


5:45 pm EST 11.30.2010 Prior to start of the 2010 Hurricane Season, our Tropical Team predicted for the Atlantic Basin a total of 19 named tropical systems (NTS), 10 of which would become hurricanes, and 5 would be major hurricanes. As of November 30, 2010, observed results show exactly 19 named tropical systems, twelve of which have become hurricanes, and five systems reached to Category 3 major hurricane status with winds at or above 111 mph.


Our team also delineated the hurricane forecast month-by-month, with the original graphic in the section below. Note that the official Atlantic basin tropical cyclone season continues to November 30 each year. If additional systems develop, will revise our grading scheme with final results. Preliminary verification for the baseline predicted tropical cyclone events shows these results, in a % deviation/academic grading format as follows. The screen shown here was part of a TV news spot featuring the Maryland Forecast Team by CBS Channel 13 WJZ in Baltimore, MD on July 1, 2010.



Named Tropical Systems: Predicted/Observed- 19/19; 100% of predicted

Hurricanes: Predicted/Observed: 10/12; 120% of predicted

Major Hurricanes: Predicted/Observed: 5/5, 100% of predicted


1. Report published: May 28, 2010


Our original projections as shown below were developed by
members of the 2010 Tropical Team, including Former Lead Forecaster Ryan from Baltimore County, Aaron Salter, 2011 Director of Team Operations and a senior in Environmental Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Daniel Ross, 2011 Tropical Team Leader and a Meteorology graduate student at Georgia Polytechnic Institute in Atlanta, GA; and Mr. Foot - Lead Advisor from Baltimore, MD.


2. Public presentation of forecast: June 4, 2010

Four members of our team presented this forecast to the June 2010 Conference of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency in Ocean City, Maryland. The presenters (L-to-R were Evan U., Mr. Foot, Ryan K., Aaron Salter (see June 4 in registration packet). The invitation was extended by Ms. Teresa Chapman of the Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management.


3. Team efforts featured in media: July 1, 2010

The Baltimore County Office of Homeland Security invited our student "Tropical Team" to develop a realistic scenario of a slow-moving Category 1 or 2 hurricane making landfall in the southern Mid-Atlantic, similar to the path of Hurricane Isabel in September 2003. This presentation on "Hurricane Omega" was the centerpiece of a tabletop exercise conducted by the county's Emergency Operations Center in Towson, MD on July 1, 2010 and led by Lt. Mark Demski, Deputy Director and Emergency Specialist Jay Ringgold.


Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith held a press conference following the exercise, publicly praising the student team members for their valuable participation in the safety exercise in support of improved preparation for a hurricane emergency. CBS Channel 13 WJZ in Baltimore featured the students' accomplishments in a short segment, shown on the 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm local news. The article was developed by Reporter Mike Schuh and titled: "Amateur Forecasters Create Hurricane Exercise."


On July 6, 2010, The Carroll Community Times also featured the tabletop exercise and the students in an article by Reporter Susan Ingram, titled: "Be prepared for hurricane season...simulation designed by students." It is interesting to note that on September 2, 2010 - Hurricane Earl followed an eerily similar intensity and track as simulated in the July "Omega" exercise. For that storm, County Executive Jim Smith (featured below) returned to the Emergency Operations Center for a briefing on the event. In comparing

the simulation to actual events, a second aspect of the July 1 tabletop exercise (a slow-moving tropical system delivering up to 12 inches of rain) also met with reality on September 30. In effect, the "simulations" of both a slow-moving and a heavy rain-producing tropical system ended up impacting Baltimore County in just 3 months following the exercise.



SYNOPSIS of 2010 HURRICANE FORECAST and OBSERVATIONS


1. Occurence Much above normal tropical cyclone formation in the Atlantic basin.

Observations:

The Atlantic basin seasonal average is 10-15 tropical cyclones*, thus the 2010 observed cyclone data is between 113 %- 170% of normal as of November 30, 2010.

Sources:

NOAA/NHC Tropical Cyclone Climatology

Pew Center on Global Climate Change

*The climatological average from 1850-1990 is 10 named tropical cyclones, the 1998-2007 average was 15 named tropical cyclones. Thus we presented a range of 10-15.


2. Intensity Five major hurricanes, two or more make a U.S. landfall.

Observations:

Five major hurricanes developed in 2010, none made U.S. landfall.


3. Risk regions Notable landfalls were projected for the regions of:

 Northern and eastern Gulf of Mexico from Louisiana to western Florida coast;

 Carolinas and southern Mid-Atlantic at risk for a direct landfall or secondary effects.
Observations:

While Florida to Louisiana did not experience significant landfalling systems, the Carolinas and the Mid-Atlantic did observe considerable secondary effects from Hurricanes Danielle, Earl, Igor and historical rainfall from the remnants of Extra-Tropical Storm Nicole.


4. Frequency Periods of high activity in July, from mid-August through September
Observations:
 June 2010: 1 named system which became a hurricane;
 July 2010: 1 named system which became a tropical storm; 0 hurricanes;
 August 2010: 4 named systems = 2 tropical storms, 2 major hurricanes;
 September 2010: 8 named systems = 3 tropical storms, 2 hurricanes, 3 major;
 October 2010: 4 named systems, all of which became hurricanes.

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