Friday, June 3, 2011

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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.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

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Somewhat Cooler Today.

Massachusetts Suffers First Tornado in Three Years.


Thursday, 6/2/2001, 9 AM EDT


Yesterday, a number of tornadoes struck Massachusetts, causing four known fatalities, and serious damage to 19 communities. (New York Times).

The Northern Plains Low will move into Canada pulling its Cold Front from the Rockies into the Upper Mississippi Basin by tomorrow. This will produce rain, and perhaps thunderstorms, from California, through the Rockies, into the High Plains, behind this front. Higher elevations may see snow. To the East of the front, showers and thunderstorms may develop over ten Missouri Valley into the Great Lakes.

Flooding remains serious in Montana, with the Fort Peck Dam set to release record amounts of water by Saturday. The Red River may exceed its record Flood Stage.

Red Flags are currently posted in seven States, with several Eastern States as possibilities later today.


The Tropical Disturbance in the Gulf has been given a 0% chance of developing into a tropical cyclone at this time.


More details: see Stormcast

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

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June is bustin' out all over:
Tropical & Severe Threats Today


2:05 PM EDT 6/1/2011To quote this famous song from the time-honored Rodgers & Hammerstein musical Carousel, the 2011 Hurricane Season has arrived in timely style. The National Hurricane Center has identified a developing surface low pressure system, listed as "Invest 93L", off the Georgia - Carolina coast a low (20%) probability of becoming a tropical cyclone.
TRACK AND IMPACTS: Lead Forecaster Matt Bolton in Central Florida is keeping watch in facebook on the western moving energy of the system as it bisects the state. The westward motion is due to clockwise air flow from the high pressure system over the Eastern U.S. The Florida coast from Jacksonsville south to Cape Canaveral  will receive strong gusty winds,  heavy downpours. and increased swells along the coast from eastern Florida to Georgia. and Our multi-state Tropical Team will continue to monitor NHC advisories and the potential for what this system  could do upon reaching the Gulf of Mexico. Rapid updates are posted in our Tropical Zone on facebook.                                         ANALYSIS: The system is moving into an environment which could lead to  restrengthening once over the Gulf. Current observations from a tropical analysis system called CIMSS show upper level "divergence" (a measure of air movement away from a location) at higher values near the area of central dense overcast. Upper level divergence and anticyclonic flow is crucial for a tropical cyclone to retain in order to create the "exhaust" mechanism  to complement that converging air at the circulation center. (Forecaster Foot and the Tropical Team).
SEVERE WEATHER THREAT: MID-ATLANTIC  11:34 AM 6/1/11: While near record heat continues to dominate the Mid Atlantic region today, our team is keeping a close watch on the potential for scattered strong to severe thunderstorms later today. Although the atmosphere is extremely unstable, weak wind shear may be the limiting factor for a widespread severe weather outbreak. Stay tuned to your local NWS Forecast Offices in the Mid-Atlantic or Mid-west regions for any watches which may be issued this afternoon. (Forecaster Jason and the Severe Weather Team)

Our Forecast Team is on the move


In between the severe weather updates, end-of-school year ceremonies and team expansion, your Foot's Forecast Team has been preparing for a busy summer of multi-state collaboration. As you can see below, we have been a tad busy. Before all the excitement kicked in this week, some members of the Maryland Team gathered at Forecaster Greg Jackson's home on Sunday 5/30 to celebrate his graduation from North Carroll High School. (L to R: Aaron Salter, Diandre Williams, Connor Meehan, Greg "Winterman" Jackson, Dakota Smith, Emily Rund, Mr. Foot).

So when will YOUR name be counted among this innovative group of students, enthusiasts and professionals? Wait too long and someone else will take that dream job you've been imagining. Before even bigger news about our team breaks in July, if you've been thinking about applying, now would be a good time. Contact Director of Team Operations Aaron Salter (aaron.salter@footsforecast.org) for details or visit our Application page in the left column. 

What have we been up to lately? 

A quick read on recent activities in our team - with 40 members it would be difficult to feature everyone at the same time, so in another next week we will highlight the work of those not shown here today. 


Forecaster Jason M. in Calvert County, MD has been confirmed as our Lead High School Student Coordinator for the Tropical Team, joining Meteorology student and Tropical Team Leader Daniel Ross of Georgia Tech in Atlanta.  Jason will be presenting with members of the Maryland Team at the 25th anniversary conference of the MD Emergency Management Association in Ocean City MD on Friday 6/3.

Advisor Forrest from Atlanta, GA will be enjoying lunch with Central Florida Lead Forecaster Matt Bolton and his family in the Clearwater area on Thursday afternoon. 

Forecaster Patrick Ritsko from Penn State is heading to Florida International University on June 2 for a summer internship in the Keys, and will be collaborating with Mike Mogil on Weather Camp in Miami, and coordinating with the Southeast & Tropical Teams. 

Forecaster Dakota Smith from Penn State is heading to the marshes of Southwest Louisiana for a summer field internship studying climate change, soil horizons and impact on plant life. Oh the humidity! We hope you are ready for it, at least Patrick can jump in the Atlantic when it gets too hot!


Forecaster Mark Ingalls in Washington State has made some encouraging connections with government meteorologists with Environment Canada, among college students in southern Canada and broadcast meteorologists in several cities. We are also in contact with professors from universities in several provinces including British Columbia, Albert and Saskatchewan.

Affiliate Forecaster Joe Puma from metro Chicago will soon be heading to DC for an internship with NCEP, and will make an appearance at the Howard U Weather Camp-- as well as hang out with the Maryland and Capital Teams, learning how we  "frisbeecast" here in the East.

Advisor Mike Mogil from How The Weatherworks will be attending a June 30-July 1 Climate Change conference with University of Oklahoma Meteo grad and Weather Camp Instructor Greg Blumberg. A member of our MD or Capital Team may also be attending.

Forecasters Jolene Wagner of Hanover, PA and Stephanie Fritch of Harford Co, MD both with degrees is Atmospheric Science, will be part of our on-going coverage of Central PA and the 
Eastern Shore of MD and contributors in the Mid-Atlantic Severe Weather Page.


Advisor Brad Lear has been a mainstay in all of this team activity for many months, quietly making sure all the forecasters' work in Facebook is reposted on the main site. 

Advisor Mr. Foot will be joining preservice teachers and fellow graduate students from Towson University as part of a 12-day Tropical Field Ecology course in Costa Rica. Let it be know that the 
competition will soon be on between Mr. Foot, Dakota in Louisiana, Patrick and Matt in Florida and 
Daniel in Georgia to see who can record the longest period of highest humidity.

And finally... on May 13, members of our team completed a successful three-month collaborative project working with professors from Towson University to submit a $1.2 million dollar grant proposal to the National Science Foundation. Foot's Forecast is a contributing member of the grant proposal with Towson, the Shriver Center at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, How The Weatherworks, several television stations and other corporate partners in the Maryland area. This summer, the multi-university/corporate grant team will prepare a coordinated, project-wide press release announcing the full partnership.