New hurricane scale might change the way we measure dangerous storms

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Aug 22, 2015
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Hastings, Nebraska
Honestly I personally believe that we need to base our Hurricane ratings more so off of the damage. I do not believe damage should be the soul base but it definitely should be considered.
 
Apr 14, 2011
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Alexandria, LA
Honestly I personally believe that we need to base our Hurricane ratings more so off of the damage. I do not believe damage should be the soul base but it definitely should be considered.
The only problem with that is, you don't know what the damage is until after the hurricane is over. Largely, the point of classifying hurricanes at all to begin with is to give people an idea of the level of potential danger ahead of time so they can prepare.

I think the Saffir-Simpson scale is generally fine, because wind is a very good predictor of damage potential. Perhaps it could be enhanced by adding a pressure metric. Right now, I believe the category is chosen solely via measured wind speed; with a new pressure metric, which provides a predictor of potential storm surge severity, a category can be chosen if either the wind speed OR the pressure justifies it. In much the same way that a thunderstorm can be classified as severe based on wind speed OR hail size OR the presence of a tornado.

One of the biggest problems with AccuWeather's new hurricane scale is that the metric is completely proprietary and hidden from the public. So AccuWeather will tell you a hurricane is "category 3" (or whatever - who knows what their type nomenclature will be), but won't tell you why it's a category 3 as opposed to category 2, or 4. Whereas, anyone who has access to the NWS's wind-speed measurements (which is "everyone", because the data is open and free to the public) would be able to tell for themselves what Saffir-Simpson category the storm is without the NWS needing to tell them because the scale itself is public-domain; and that also means the NWS can never unexpectedly go "we've decided to make this one a category 3 for mysterious undisclosed and arbitrary reasons, just trust us".
 
Give me a break. This is the same attempt to legitimize some form of wacky new meteorology scale or ranking to make a corporation seem official and better than the NWS. TWC did the same idiotic thing by naming winter storms so people would feel some connection and keep watching. This, in addition to the silly "torcon" system that only serves to confuse people. Nice try.
 
Oct 10, 2004
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Madison, WI
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I think the Saffir-Simpson scale is generally fine, because wind is a very good predictor of damage potential. Perhaps it could be enhanced by adding a pressure metric. Right now, I believe the category is chosen solely via measured wind speed; with a new pressure metric, which provides a predictor of potential storm surge severity, a category can be chosen if either the wind speed OR the pressure justifies it. In much the same way that a thunderstorm can be classified as severe based on wind speed OR hail size OR the presence of a tornado.

One of the biggest problems with AccuWeather's new hurricane scale is that the metric is completely proprietary and hidden from the public. So AccuWeather will tell you a hurricane is "category 3" (or whatever - who knows what their type nomenclature will be), but won't tell you why it's a category 3 as opposed to category 2, or 4. Whereas, anyone who has access to the NWS's wind-speed measurements (which is "everyone", because the data is open and free to the public) would be able to tell for themselves what Saffir-Simpson category the storm is without the NWS needing to tell them because the scale itself is public-domain; and that also means the NWS can never unexpectedly go "we've decided to make this one a category 3 for mysterious undisclosed and arbitrary reasons, just trust us".
Pressure and surge were initially part of the Saffir-Simpson scale*, but were removed because storms kept producing pressure and surge values that fell outside, sometimes far outside of the expected ranges for their wind speed category (think Katrina, Ike and Sandy for their enormous surges with comparatively weak MSW at landfall). Thus the SSHS became the SSHWS. Even then, it didn't account for the impact of rain-induced freshwater flooding which can be catastrophic long after the storm weakens to a remnant low if it stalls and has access to enough moisture.

I agree there is a need to better convey the relative risk of all hazards associated with a landfalling tropical cyclone, I just don't think "Accu"-weather's proprietary scale is the thing to do it.

*Kind of like how path length and width were originally supposed to be part of the Fujita scale rating, but in practice only the damage rating was widely disseminated.
 
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Jun 1, 2008
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Storm surge watch and warning program is a good start, already from the NWS. Definitely need a way to convey to the public all of the dangers of tropical cyclones. Water kills more people than wind. Total energy is not bad, but hard for the public to understand. Might be best for internal discussions. Since every storm is unique, might have to settle for two scales. Keep one for wind. Use one for surge. Keep the impacts statements robust. Also personalize the risk message.
 
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Jan 18, 2009
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Something else to consider on this that was brought to my attention from a fellow weather enthusiast. I understand Barry Myers is Trump's candidate to head NOAA. His brother Joel Myers is co-founder of Accuweather. "Supposedly" Barry has completely divested himself from Accuweather, yet if he were to head NOAA, could he do it objectively? Food for thought. My apologies for going off topic.
 

rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
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Lansing, MI
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Storm surge watch and warning program is a good start,
We’re not sure on that - studies on its effectiveness have not been performed yet. The feedback from the Internets was mixed.

Since every storm is unique, might have to settle for two scales. Keep one for wind. Use one for surge.[/QUOTE]

That won’t work since it misses the inland flooding threat. And the tornado threat. So you’d need 4 scales.

There’s really no evidence that the current system doesn’t work. This appears to be a marketing grab just like TWC and storm names. Let them do what they want.

And John - Mr Myers has not been nominated for that post. His nomination expired last year.



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
 
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rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
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But that leaves out inland flooding, which as we saw this past year is far worse than surge or winds. There's NO way that the public is going to understand "Hurricane Joe is a Cat 2 wind / Cat 4 surge / Cat 1 flood / Cat 1 tornado" storm :) Let's just leave it like it is since the public DOES seem to understand in general based on the lives saved.
 
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Apr 14, 2011
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Alexandria, LA
"Supposedly" Barry has completely divested himself from Accuweather, yet if he were to head NOAA, could he do it objectively? Food for thought. My apologies for going off topic.
Short answer: No.

Long answer: Nooooooooooooooo.

As a member of NOAA "advisory boards", Barry has already interfered with several attempts by the NWS to make its (tax-payer funded) data more accessible to the public. As the head of NOAA, Barry Myers WILL take active steps to make NWS's data less accessible. He wants the public to have to pay AccuWeather for forecasts and radar data, period. He's never once suggested that he has ever changed his mind about this.

Enjoy your convective outlooks and mesoscale discussions while you still have access to them.