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accuweather hurricane season forecast....uggggh!

Is anyone else sick of reading these hurricane forecasts that seem to be dreamed up from who the hell knows where??

"Three major hurricanes will strike the United States this year, with the storm-battered Gulf Coast most at risk in June and July, forecaster AccuWeather predicted Monday.

The outlook comes after a record-setting hurricane season in 2005 that devastated New Orleans and other coastal cities along the Gulf, and dealt a heavy blow to the U.S. oil industry that sent energy prices to record highs.

"The 2006 storm season will be a creeping threat," said AccuWeather Chief Forecaster Joe Bastardi. He projected that five hurricanes, three of them with winds over 110 miles per hour, would hit the U.S. coastline.

"Early in the season the Texas Gulf Coast faces the highest likelihood of a hurricane strike, possibly putting Gulf energy production in the line of fire," he said. "As early as July, and through much of the rest of the season, the highest level of risk shifts to the Carolinas."[/b]


So, Accuweather, three major hurricanes will strike this year??? Not two or four or five but three. Oh and the first one will hit Texas and cripple oil production and refinement. What the hell man? At this point, how is Texas statistically more likely to be hit by a hurricane, especially "early in the season"???

I mean seriously, what value do these forecasts add to anything? To me the just serve to instill more fear into the already fearful American public. Buy, Buy, Buy your hurricane supplies and insurance policies all you good little Americans in preparation for a big bad hurricane season! Oh wait, I can almost see the subliminal Home Depot and Wal-Mart banner ads on accuweather.com! Oh, and buy some premium services from Accuweather to stay on top of this developing situation. As John Stossel would say, Give me a Break!

Also, what is meant by "the 2006 storm season will be a creeping threat". Maybe they forgot to spell check and it should have said creepy threat. Yeah, I think so. That seems more in line with the bogus nature of these sorts of forecasts.

For the record, I haven't read the meteorological reasoning (if any exists) behind Accuweather's forecast. I have, however, read what 95% of the general public will see......a general, fear mongering AP release that will no doubt be further sliced and diced by local media.

Comments anyone???
You're way off, its not their Wal-Mart and HD stock they are looking to move...its much worse. When Accu-Weather makes comments like this they move the oil markets to the tune of billions of dollars. You better believe that the management at succu-weather is highly invested in oil. Conflict of interest?

There's little science behind Accu-Weather's forecasts. They like to use weather analogs. They are convinced that what happened in the past directly relates to what happens in the future. Which may be the case, but with only a few sample years to test their theories its a reach.

Most of their forecast for 2006 comes from the weather in April. If it rains in Des Moines on April the 6th than New Englanders will get hammered by a hurricane. Or something like that. Didn't Joe B claim that the NE was going to have a cold and snowy winter because of the weather analogs to past active hurricane seasons? Well, they were wrong about that, but where's the accountability?
I could do a hurricane forecast, because if I was wrong I'd get to update it five times throughout the season like the experts do.
AW is not considered an expert source of any sort of forecast... Just like WalMart may not always have the best deals - but everybody goes there because they ARE everywhere!
AW is not considered an expert source of any sort of forecast... Just like WalMart may not always have the best deals - but everybody goes there because they ARE everywhere!

Haha...good point.
The actuall NHC 2006 outlook should be out on May 22nd. How can Accu?-weather have their outlook out a week earlier than the NHC, LOL?
I could do a hurricane forecast, because if I was wrong I'd get to update it five times throughout the season like the experts do.

Are you sure, I thought in the case of Accuweather they change the forecast AFTER it's happened, so they can say they nailed it. LOL
The present AccuWeather hurricane forecast is based on analogues from the past. This doesn't seem unreasable. We know previous El Ninos did "this" and La Ninas did "that". Pick your favorite teleconnection pattern: AO, NAO, PDO, MJO, PNA, ENSO among others. We generally know how these effect the atmosphere and have these indicies available for forecasting. Geologists have a term called "uniformitarianism" meaning the "present is the key to the past". One could say meteorologists/climatologists look at it the other way around: The past is the key to the future. The real science behind the AW forecast is buried in all those SLP charts from the 1900s. There may be some blend of teleconnection patterns and the THC that causes these multi-decadal swings and embedded crazy years (like 2005). Now there is a dissertation project for someone.

I'm not a big AW fan. I don't like how they treat and pay staff, I don't like their lobbying, and I often don't like their forecasts. I do like Joe Bastardi even though I think he has a big head. I my gripes with NWS too. I don't like their hiring practices, don't like the beaurocracy, don't like the politics, don't like the lack of individualism, and sometimes don't like the forecasts (which can be harmed by any of the above). It seems that criticizing private firms are fair game while criticizing the government is not. Both public and private have flaws, some shared and some not. I have no objection to critique on either so long as it is constructive. Constructive crticism is what improves products and performance. In this business you really don't learn until you bust. If you ignore that bust and nobody gives you hell about it than you have no reason to improve. Both public and private mets need to be willing to accept this criticism (just like athletes, politicians, movie producers, and Walmart managers). You live and learn. It is easy to get defensive instead of focusing on the customer concern. Final note on this: Public and private forecasters may not play for the same team but they still represent the league. Keep this in mind when sending someone to the guillotine for public execution. I've done this in the past and regret at least some of it.

Discloser: I work for a private met firm in North Dakota

Now what I found interseting buried in the AW logic behind the forecast:
...The climate cycle of the 1930s to 1950s was characterized by many hot, dry summers centered over the central Plains of the United States, with expansion northeast toward the Great Lakes and Northeast as the summer progressed. But with extremes, either hotter or colder, during the summer in the nation's midsection relative to the East Coast, the threat of hurricane activity appears to increase on the Eastern Seaboard. While the colder years such as 1960, 1985, and 1996 did feature significant East Coast storms (Donna, Gloria, Bertha and Fran), the hotter pattern that appears to be setting up across the Plains this year identifies some startling analog years (1938, 1944, 1954, 1955, 1991 and 1999), including 1954. During that year across the midsection of the nation, April was very warm with a turn to colder weather in May followed by the return of warmth for June. The first two have set up this year, and the warmer pattern is already starting to take shape for the last week of May. (For example, Kansas City was 7.7 degrees above normal in April and is 1.5 degrees below normal so far in May). The 1954 hurricane season is significant since three hurricanes made landfall on the East Coast (Carol at the end of August on eastern Long Island, Edna in the second week of September in southeastern Massachusetts, and Hazel in mid-October in the Carolinas)....[/b]
AW is essentially forecasting a death ridge to build in June. If that happens I'll see you all in NoDak for summer chasing.
Really... AW can't bust. As the saying goes... any PR is good PR. Even if the forecast gets blown away, no one will remember (clients at least) that Accuweather busted the hurricane forecast. Or if they do... they'll just say oh... that's nature. If the hurricane forecast does playout somewhat similar to their forecast, however, I'll promise we'll hear no end to it. And somebody help us if it ends up better than the gov forecast... AW has no problem biting the hand that feeds them.

I think we all realize the gov has its issues too. My lack of respect for AW comes from their blatant attacks against the gov and their ability to "forget" their mistakes. Lets face it... in a perfect world Accuweather wants the gov to provide them all the data (tax payer money), cover every topic that could result in lawsuits (warnings, watches, etc.), and have everyone pay them x amount of dollars to find out what the temperature for today will be. While I have no issue with making money (hey this is capatalism), I still beleive the gov has an important role in providing our citizens with general weather information. AW will say that they don't want the gov to expand their role in forecast information, this is just a blind for their real want (see above). I've worked at a private sector weather company... the type of products they offer are highly specialized, and I don't see the gov infringing on the large majority of their operations any time soon.

"How can Accu?-weather have their outlook out a week earlier than the NHC"

Because AW is not connected to the NWS - they can do it whenever they want (that's the advantage to being in the private sector.)
For the record, I haven't read the meteorological reasoning (if any exists) behind Accuweather's forecast. [/b]

Looking at the map, it would appear that a lot of their reasoning is geographical rather than meteorological. It's simple: most hurricanes making landfall on the US East Coast are moving northwestward. So pieces of the eastern seaboard that run from the SW to the NE, i.e. coastal areas that face the southeast, are more likely to take a direct hit from a hurricane. And indeed you see on the AW chart that the areas of "very high risk" are simply those areas of the east coast that face the southeast. Note that these areas also stick out a bit into the Atlantic, so they are closer to the gulf stream and thus a bit more likely to face a unweakened storm.

This kind of stuff does not take a lot of genius to figure out, and it's not what I would call forecasting. If they have an alternative explanation for the seemingly precise positioning of their east coast high risk areas, I would like to know it.
Frankly, I think the Old Farmers almanac could do a better job than Inaccu-Bungle, although I don't put much faith in it either. Yes I do get tired of Inaccu-Bungle, especially in the last year or so. I removed all access to them from my sites and computers after SB 786 came out. I use NWS stuff almost exclusively, simply because I think it's a better product. Yes, all forecasts have issues from time to time, but I'll put NWS data quality and accessability above Inaccu-Bungle any day.

Damon Poole
When Accu-Weather makes comments like this they move the oil markets to the tune of billions of dollars. You better believe that the management at succu-weather is highly invested in oil. Conflict of interest?

This is a great comment. I've always thought of Accuweather as the FOX NEWS of the weather world. I mean come on, look at the layout and style of their graphic above...."Hurricane Risk 2006" in big blood red at the top. In my view, if this conflict of interest is indeed true it helps to solidfy their likeness.

Has anyone seen the Southpark episode about Global Warming causing the beaver dam to bust? It has definite parallels with this topic. The Fox News style anchorman reports that billions have been killed in Chicago. When the anchorman asks if him if he actually has seen that many dead he replies "No, that's just what we are reporting". This accuweather forecast is similar. "Hurricanes are going to hit Texas early in the season, New York City has a very high "risk" this year..." blah blah blah. They are just going for the headlines/shock and awe and NOT for an accurate, meteorologically sound forecast.
I wasn't referring to AW...I was referring to the guy in Colorado who releases his "official" tropical forecast every year, then gets to update it five times as the reality of the season unfolds. Be quite easy to "forecast" accuately when you get five mulligans as things evolve.
So you'd rather, as new information comes in, NOT modify your forecast? I know some people do that while chasing to make them "hard core" -- but if I see a no-storm day become a high risk, I'm not going to sit home because that wasn't my "original" forecast!

I can't imagine any meteorologist not amending their forecast just because 7 days ago I said it was going to be sunny and now it's going to be raining. That makes no sense...
I gotta agree with Shane on that. I mean, it is one thing to give a legit forecast......it is another thing to throw a dart in March or April no less, about how many hurricanes there will be AND intensities. Man, I can do that and I know Jack about tropical forecasting. That is not forecasting. That is pure speculation. Just like AW. Look how far off the "Doctor" was last hurricane season. He wasn't even on the same planet.
So one bad season means "don't do it again"? He's had a very successful record, and I can't imagine how you can say "don't forecast" is better than what he provided.
Quite simply, my point is: don't issue a forecast months in advance...wait. Because it's going to be adjusted anyway, right?

Example: I say there's gonna be tornadoes on June 4-5 and 13-14. I'll adjust that on June 3 when I get the new model runs. If I was serious, everyone would be thinking "whatever" and when I adjusted it on June 3 they'd be thinking "wow, what a genius."
...who releases his "official" tropical forecast every year, then gets to update it five times as the reality of the season unfolds. Be quite easy to "forecast" accuately when you get five mulligans as things evolve.[/b]
I'd like to see folks try that with storm chase forecats. Forecast once before you hit the road, and then no more updates. :)
Obviously forecasters get to ammend/update their forecast as time progresses, however I think the application is a bit different here. Other long range meterological forecasts generally don't claim the kind of precision being displayed here, especially for something so dynamic. Obviously as the anticipated event period gets closer more details or ammendments are made. In this case there doesn't appear to be enough supporting facts for the localized predictions being made.
Their "forecast" is nothing more than pure speculation. They have no clue how many strong hurricanes there will be and where they will hit. It is like a chaser saying in January that there is going to be 4 high risks in 2006 and 9 moderate risks. The high risks will be most likely in NE Kansas and Western Oklahoma with the moderate risks in the lower plains.

They have enough trouble telling where a hurricane will hit 7 days out and at what strength let alone months before it even forms. They can make these wild guesses and if they are even partly right they will spout off about their incredible forecasting skills and if they are wrong they wont even mention their original forecast they will just amend it to fit and then brag about their skills. Anybody can do that. They did it a number of times last year.

If they are so good where was their long range forecast of multiple outbreaks in the Tennessee Valley this year and the lack of anything significant through May?? Their crystal ball ( more like magic 8 ball) must have failed them.

I wouldnt pay those chumps to tell me the time of day. they would get it wrong anyway.
I don't like AccuWx as much as the next guy, but let's try not to go overboard here. There are signals for anticipating some trends for a hurricane season, such as SST anomalies, global flow patterns (which are influence by el nino and la nina), etc. If we say that the tropics are 100% unpredictable in terms of forecasting seasonal trends, then we must apply that to all forecasting outlets. In other words, I better see some NHC bashing when they release their official forecast. Well, I actually don't want to see that, but people shouldn't complain that it is nearly impossible for AccuWx to forecast the season because there are no real 'indicators' without realizing that they are also accusing CSU and the NHC of the same.

Most of the forecasts started as a forecast relative to average. I'm sure a skilled meteorologist could sit down and spit out a forecast that is better than random and anticipates whether the reason will be below, near, or above the climatological average. Weak flow across the Atlantic basin and warmer-than-normal SSTs would be two indicators that, by the end of the season, there may be more-than-average number of tropical systems. In addition, convective events can be much more sensitive to very small changes in location and amplitude of various meteorological features. One event may be 'ruined' by cloudcover that doesn't clear out until 3pm, while another may be ruined because 700mb temps are 1.5C higher than forecast, which capped off the environment. The tropical systems, especially when averaged over the course of the entire season, seem to be less sensitive to these very small variations. So, I think it's easier to forecast an under-near-above average tropical season many months ahead of time than it is to forecast any individual convective event (like tornadoes in Oklahoma on May 30th) that far ahead of time. I can liken a forecast of weaker-than-normal flow over the Atlantic (favorable upper-level pattern) and higher-than-normal SSTs to having knowledge that dewpoints in the plains will be higher than normal and that there will be persistent southwesterly flow aloft on the east side of a western US trough (favorable upper-level pattern).... We can anticipate the flow and SST anomalies in the tropical Atlantic with some skill, and we base the forecast off of that information. If we knew the large-scale, mean flow pattern would be favorable across the US, and we could anticipate that Tds would be higher-than-normal, than it would be a reason forecast to anticipate a more-active-than-normal chase season. The problem with chasing, however, is that the signals over the mid-latitudes in spring can be quite a bit weaker than the signals over the low-latitudes of the Atlantic during the summer and fall.

Again, I'm no fan of AccuWx, and I find their occassional anti-NHC tones deplorable at times. However, I do think it's only fair to realize that their forecast may not be an absolute crap shoot. As someone else noted, some of their map looks like it's nearly entirely climatological, since it's common for tropical systems to hit, for example, southern Florida and the outer banks of NC. So, I think some of that is climo-based. But hey, climo IS A forecast tool. If it wasn't, none of would say "wait until May" when the setup looks like garbage in April. Again, I question their motives for this "product", and I fully expect an onslaught of "I told you so" should their forecast verify (with absolutely no mention of it should it not verify).
I've noticed that no matter what the forum, an AccuWeather/Joe Bastardi tropical forecast always sparks a firestorm. Floating one of their long-range tropical forecasts on a weather message board = lighting a cigarette while filling the car with gasoline. :D

The fringe benefit, I suppose, is very lively discussion!
I'd like to see folks try that with storm chase forecats. Forecast once before you hit the road, and then no more updates. :)

I've done that more times than I would've liked to. Once in a while it works.
I like to see Dr. William Gray's analysis every spring. Not using his guesses as gospel, but more as a guideline to what kind of season it looks to be (active, quiet, normal, 2005, etc). He is passing the torch to one of the guys he has been mentoring. Philip (forgot his name, it is unique) will be the man now, as Dr Gray is going more into global warming after 34 (?) years in Hurricane prediction. Read about this the other day.

Max Mayfield is the Hurricane Authority (not TWC as they have been pimping, when did they start with that?). Max comes on TV, I listen!