8/28/2004 FCST: Gaston (Atlantic)

Thomas Loades

Although not yet a particularly serious storm — at least in terms of winds and storm surge, but we can't rule out flooding — TD-7 is stationary about 140 miles off the SC/GA coast and it could develop into a tropical storm, Gaston, if this maintains. The storm is more or less boxed in by a broad area of high pressure, so this is likely.
 
Gaston is definitely strengthening...recon has found 59 kt flight level winds, so surface winds should be up to the 45-50 kt range (waiting for the new NHC advisory). Hopefully it doesn't sit and spin near the Gulf stream too much longer.
 
At 0500 EDT, Gaston's sustained winds were at 70 mph and a central pressure of 29.26 inches. The NHC is expecting that Gaston will make landfall on the SC coast around 1200 today, and that it would be a hurricane then. Look out, Southern Carolinians!!
 
Since Gaston is moving a little faster than forecasted, it's track is going to be farther north. This puts NYC under the gun for tropical depression conditions early Wednesday morning.
 
Satellite imagery shows a nice eye opening up just as Gaston moved ashore. If only we had a little more time at sea some real strengthening might have occured.
 
We started getting gusts yesterday morning around 11, with a tornado watch through 5:30pm.

Around 11:30 pm a friend of mine called and woke me up and we watched a very beautiful thunderstorm blowing by.
I had my camera out, but I've never taken pic's of lightning before and I don't think I've got the right camera for doing it at night, but I tried.

It's been gusting here all day today, I was surprised at the wind we've gotten. One of my roommates walked over to his brother's house and said that he was getting blown all over the place...walking.
 
Hehehe I just had to put this on here...

One of the drivers for the company I work for just came in from Raleigh and said that it's been raining so much he saw a tree full of frogs with life vests on.....
 
I'm sorry but the NHC dropped the ball on Gaston. The front stalled, the TD moved back over water and now it's back up to a tropical storm. Was anybody even watching it over land? The td looked like a pinwheel on radar, it still had tropical characteristics, and what about the wind observations?

Now there's a tropical storm a few hundred miles south of the most densely populated part of the country and there are no forecast products out. I am usually very defensive of the NWS, they provide a great service and do an excellent job at it. But the goal is to protect life and property. Sometimes you gotta go by your gut, and somebody at the NHC had to a have gut feeling this thing was coming back over water.

Since there are no products out at the moment I am forecasting Gaston to get even a little more organized over the coastal waters off Delaware. The cold front to the north has stalled or is moving very slowly. Gaston could hug the coast and even brush by eastern LI and the Mass Islands.
 
"Was anybody even watching it over land? "

As always happens when a tropical storm system is downgraded over land, the HyrdroMet Prediction Center (HPC) takes over and issues bulletins. They did so until TPC took back responsibility.

- Rob
 
The NHC wind swath graphic shows that Gaston never weakened to a depression or remnant low as originally thought, but remained a tropical storm all the way across SC, NC and VA. It had semblance of an 'eye', that is, precip wrapped all the way around a clear spot at its center of circulation, most of the time it was over land.
 
The problem is that it never should have been downgraded. Winds were TS strength, it was warm cored, it was always a tropical storm.
 
How was that a problem? HPC specializes in flooding rain, so it's possible they were the better lead agency anyways... The end result is that the public knew it was going to get wet, regardless of HPC or TPC generating the NWS forecasts.

- Rob
 
Rest assured, I could care less what the NHC does. My personal opinion was that it should have never been downgraded. The general public has a very poor understanding of meteorology. They understand that a tropical storm is more serious than a depression. Considering it was a tropical storm the entire time, the NWS would have done a better job protecting life and property by accurately representing this storm.

From the TPC website:

The TPC mission is to save lives, mitigate property loss, and improve economic efficiency by issuing the best watches, warnings, forecasts and analyses of hazardous tropical weather, and by increasing understanding of these hazards.

I'm sure the local WSFO's did a fantastic job along with the HPC. But according to their mission statement the NHC failed. They did not properly analyze the tropical weather. This was not a forecast problem, it was an analysis failure. The data was all there and they didn't use it properly.
 
Rest assured, I could care less what the TPC does. My personal opinion was that it should have never been downgraded. The general public has a very poor understanding of meteorology. They understand that a tropical storm is more serious than a depression. Considering it was a tropical storm the entire time, the NWS would have done a better job protecting life and property by accurately representing this storm.

From the TPC website:

The TPC mission is to save lives, mitigate property loss, and improve economic efficiency by issuing the best watches, warnings, forecasts and analyses of hazardous tropical weather, and by increasing understanding of these hazards.

I'm sure the local WSFO's did a fantastic job along with the HPC. But according to their mission statement the TPC failed. They did not properly analyze the tropical weather. This was not a forecast problem, it was an analysis failure. The data was all there and they didn't use it properly.
 
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