1 September 2011
NHC missed the Irene Forecast?? I Think Not.
Posted by Dan Satterfield
Every meteorologist/forecaster I know agrees that the NHC forecasters did an amazing job on Irene. Yes, the intensity forecast was a little high on the landfall forecast for N. Carolina, but the skill in intensity forecasts is still a much bigger problem than track and the 24 hour forecast was quite close. There are few weather obs on the outer banks and I suspect the winds were higher than recorded anyhow.
Get used to flooding in hurricanes, the atmosphere holds 4-7% more water vapor in the warmer world of 2011 than that of 1911. That said, this would not be a good time to cut stream gauges that forecasters use to make flash flood warnings.
No one would be that crazy, right.
Given that Irene was a strong tropical storm at landfall the NHC didn’t have really another choice than to leave the storm a category 1 storm if they wanted to protect as much lives as possible. If Irene was downgraded when somewhere between the Outer Banks of North Carolina and Coney Island we’d’ve sean much more fatalities because of people are stupid. If Irene was downgraded at that moment there would’ve been walkers and joggers all along the East River and the Hudson to look the neatly waves and still more surfers and canoe paddlers would have drowned in rivers and bays. Undoubtly without Irene announced as a category 1 hurricane several hundred people would have died.
The only problem with that is: the next time such an event will happen this trick won’t happen anymore and one reason for this is the press which after the hurricane hype is now hyping the bashing of the NHC forecasters and the next time people will not follow evacuation orders and they will want to ride out even when a category 3 ‘cane is plowing right through the Central Park. At least unless the next comparable event will happen earlier than most people have forgotten how all came.