7:17PM May 11, 2018

WILDLY INACCURATE HURRICANE SCHEME… I’ve seen this image circulating this week wide and far across social media – problem is, it’s highly misleading! For the second year in a row, the month of May has brought out some of the most inaccurate, “FAKE NEWS” posts I’ve ever seen about an early season hurricane supposedly affecting the southeastern United States. A few thoughts on this…

HYPERBOLE ALERT… While the model image circulating isn’t “fake news,” as it is off the long-term GFS, rumors of a “category 3, monster, crippling hurricane” have been greatly exaggerated. Wild, pre-hurricane season nonsense really is running rampant. I saw a beautiful analogy earlier… Just because a person has a car (forecast model runs directly off the Internet) doesn’t mean they know how to drive it (make a real hurricane forecast).

CONTEXT NEEDED… The image you see attached to this post is one screenshot of the Global Forecast System (GFS) from one of the model runs a few days ago. We get new data from the GFS four times per day, and often in the long term (7+ days from the model run initiation), the data varies considerably. This model run happens to be from Wednesday, May 9 showing the data valid for Tuesday, May 22, a whopping *13* days out! Could this scenario happen? Sure, but the odds at this point of a “category 3, monster storm” are just not there. What really bothers me about images being circulated like this with no real context is that vast majority of folks don’t have a clue they’re looking at one idea (one run) from one model. It’s VITAL to look at many models, each day. The fact is — some models do “better” than others for certain places on a day-to-day weather basis, but there are disparities and other local factors that a meteorologist must take into account when making a forecast. One model image versus a true forecast are two very different things. If you see a wildly inaccurate model post like this being circulated, take it with a BIG dose of skepticism.

ODDS OF A GULF STORM… While the GFS has pretty consistent in painting a long term picture of a late May tropical system “somewhere” over the ocean near the southern United States, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to happen. The GFS is designed to “promote” cyclonogenesis in this timeframe. Again, this is one idea from one model. Sea surface temperatures across the northern half of the Gulf remain below 81° in most spots, meaning the water temperatures support just isn’t there for a strong storm. Overwhelming odds are AGAINST tropical storm formation this month. Could it happen? Yes, it could happen, but that doesn’t mean a tropical storm/hurricane is likely to happen, unlike what some of these crazy, fear mongering social posts would have us all believe!

APP… I’ll have more details about your local forecast and tropical updates throughout the upcoming hurricane season (that starts June 1) in the all-new, version 2.11 of the RedZone Weather app. Be sure to visit the Alerts tab (bottom right corner of the RZWeather app) and tap that large, yellow “Alert Settings” button to set up the push notification alerts you’d like to receive from me. Tropical alerts are generally involved in the Medium Level and Low-Level Alerts.

Have a great weekend!

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