Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Tropics Quiet Today. Danger on the Plains from Tornadoes & Flooding Remain. Thoughts on How We Convey Real Time Weather Threats Referencing Article by Marshall Shepherd

A quick perusal of Spaghetti Models shows there are no hurricanes today.
There is not even the ghost of Subtropical Storm Andrea.
Nothing is expected to form in the next 5 days.
Okay in truth some convection does remain....
But it is not expected to reform so let's move on.

There are things to think on down the road.
Areas in the Caribbean that sometimes flare up in early June.
They flare up there and move North into the Gulf of Mexico.
And sometimes they flare up there and move into the E Pacific.

GOES16-TAW-08-900x540.gif (900×540)

Convection is congregating down there.
Again it moves into the Epac where a storm may form.

I could tell you models have been a little awkward lately.
A few keep predicting development down there.
Long range models are meant to be visited often.
They are for entertainment purposes only.
The system on the Plains is still dangerous ...
...and still on the move.
It's far from over.

With Memorial Day Weekend coming remember this...
It's a good time to start preparing for Hurricane Season.

Today's blog is about a look back at this week in weather.
The high expectations for long tracking tornadoes... 
... and the reality that tornadoes did happen.
They were not long tracking EF5 Twisters.
But they destroyed people's lives.
And yet people yelled "busted forecast!!"
The forecast for dangerous weather verified.

The problem is how we convey what is dangerous.
The problem is our personal expectation of dangerous.,
The dangerous situation there continues.
And hurricane season is just around the corner.

The article below inspired me to write this today.
I'll talk models and satellite loops tomorrow.
I want to revisit some tropical weather history...
History repeats, it's good to learn from history.

The link to this article is below.
It's an article worth reading.
It's especially valuable as we head into the Hurricane Season. This is an excellent article that should open up our minds as to how we perceive real time threats or feel the need to communicate "what is dangerous" to the general public again often in real time. As the 2019 Hurricane Season is around the corner I find the need often to remind you to prepare for hurricane season. It is especially difficult at times after someone somewhere puts out predictions on how this may or may not be a busy or quiet hurricane season. These often circulated articles announce that the water is cold in the Middle of the Atlantic Ocean or Saharan Dust is blowing in the wind keeping the hurricane season weak or El Nino may or may not be leaving written often to capture the public's attention and get retweeted online. Public perception of danger is sometimes mitigated or heightened by these headlines and often there is a "boy who cried wolf" issue that arises later in the season when a hurricane veers away from a potential landfall and stays safely out in the Gulf Stream only kicking up big waves at the beach or when long tracking EF5 tornadoes do not form and people in the warned area let their guard down.

Long paragraph I know, but this is seriously a problem in today's world where people scroll through tweets or images on Instagram. Back in the the day people would complain that television news people wrote hyped up headlines or news promos that were merely "sound bites" to get you to check back at 11 PM for the late news. This is really a communication issue as old as time as I am sure somewhere cave people argued over dramatic cave drawings of lightning hitting a horse that was way over the top and not realistic. No disrespect to cave people I personally always loved the GEICO cave guy the best!

It's a problem as old as time in ways, and yet in today's very fast paced world it has it's own new unique issues. In today's world we have issues not problems. After a Presidential election years back it was discovered that by releasing early predictions when the East Coast polls closed on National News it had negatively impacted voter turn out on the West Coast. Many interviewed said "why bother voting as we were told who won already" and that's sad but it happened. News stations then agreed they would wait until the polls in the Pacific Time Zone were closed before making early predictions based on exit polls. If you are expecting large wedge tornadoes to be on the ground wiping out towns such as Moore and no big, huge EF5 wedge tornadoes wipe out Moore or Oklahoma City then suddenly we read on Facebook, Twitter and in our multiple Whats App groups that the forecast was a bust. This irresponsible message mistakenly gives many in the warned area the message to "stop worrying about it" when tornadoes were indeed on the rampage late into the night and early morning hours. Then those same people online and go negative about the media delivering the message saying that it was all hype and nothing more. The truth is the set up was there, there was potential and it was a forecast that thankfully didn't verify in the way that many thought it would.

The proper reaction should be to be thankful it was not worse.
And to be aware it's an ongoing dangerous situation.
As Reed tweeted yesterday.

Again it was only a "bust" in that long trackers didn't show up.
Other destructive tornadoes showed up.
And the dangers continue.
We are very happy the set up busted.
Again the "set up" that the forecast was based on.
Perception here is the devil in the details.

No it was not hype that the possibility was there for long tracking tornadoes, but there was also the potential for short flare ups of multiple tornadoes everywhere and the ongoing inherent risk of flooding. In the same way that if someone else has surgery you may think of it as minor surgery if it happens to you it is major surgery. If your town was severely devastated by a short lived, strong tornado you will remember it forever and consider the forecast to not have been a bust for a particularly dangerous situation.

Oddly I think of a Derecho when I think of PDS.

Waveland Mississippi Before and After Katrina.

Waveland's destruction often gets forgotten in the greater picture.

Take a look back at Hurricane Katrina that tore through South Florida as the first in several tropical systems that year to visit Florida, however most people obviously only remember New Orleans when they hear the name Hurricane Katrina. After Florida .... Hurricane Katrina made a second landfall near Waveland in Mississippi creating the slowly evolving horrible levee failure in the New Orleans area. Perception is in the eye of the beholder or whose home personally was damaged. Yes, Katrina was a National Tragedy that made us rethink many things but it was a personal disaster memory for many people far from New Orleans. Hurricanes history teaches us that hurricanes often do that especially the big ones such as Betsy in 1965 and Andrew in 1992 that made double landfalls in both Florida and Louisiana as they traced a path around a very strong high pressure area in the Atlantic that steers them into the Gulf of Mexico for additional landfalls.

History does repeat sometimes doesn't it?
The exact details are always a bit different.

Lastly after the fact discussion on a storm being a "bust" is really not necessary as many considered the Hurricane Irma forecast for Florida being wiped off the map a bust because it didn't destroy Miami or Tampa, however tell that to my friend in Big Pine Key who lost the family home and was forced to demolish it's remnants recently. There is always so much hype online and on air regarding large targets such as Oklahoma City in Tornado Season or Miami in the Hurricane Season. While Category 5 Hurricane Michael was in the slow process of coming together down near the Yucatan and Cuba many meteorologists doubted online complaining the forecast was poor and that "this thing is never coming together" in the same way that model forecasts for huge flooding in Houston from Harvey were played down as "garbage runs" and "probably won't happen" and yet the forecast actually played out even worse than forecast. Many tweeted on Twitter how the landfall of Harvey near Rockport seemed not to be that bad.... in the same way back when people watching New Orleans survive the winds of Katrina better than expected went suddenly quiet when the water began to rise.

There is much to think on as we work our way through the rest of the Tornado Season and move towards the Hurricane Season. When a 7.0 earthquake in a large city is first reported by some AP reporter it usually reads "no deaths reported" and we should know that means "no deaths reported yet" as we should not believe everything we read and wait until the rest of the story plays out.

Why the NWS went with the PDS warning? I'm sure it was to err on the side of caution and with concern that a PDS situation could happen. Why the NHC went with upgrading to Subtropical Storm Andrea I don't know, but I am sure they had their reason. It's not my job to second guess these things I prefer reminding you that now is the time to prepare for Hurricane Season before a hurricane is knocking at your door and the store is out of toilet paper, tuna fish and peanut butter! 

Ask the people who were impacted by a compact, Category 4 Hurricane Charley that seemingly surprised them because the media seemed to imply that Tampa was under the gun and they were in the outer edge of the cone from the NHC. It was not a busted forecast as much as it was not properly communicated that the danger of any small town in that part of the cone in Florida was liable to get the brunt of the hurricane moving parallel to the coastline before turning in towards landfall. 

Something to think on and to remember. No forecast can be 100% correct in the details even though the forecast for dangerous severe weather or a land falling hurricane will verify. Are you prepared is the bigger question?

Read the article linked to above and remember this applies to hurricane season and dramatic warnings on dire danger about to happen and how a busted forecast can have a boomerang danger such as flooding or even worse ignorance of similar warnings the next time a hurricane is headed your way.

Knowledge is power. Find out what you personally need to do to prepare for Hurricane Season.

Besos BobbiStorm
@bobbistorm on Twitter and Instagram.

Ps... Some video below from a friend who passed away but is always remembered from Hurricane Charley. Again... just because Tampa was not the landfall the forecast was not a bust and .... remember that sometime down the road Tampa will get a landfall again as they did in 1921 when a Category 4 hurricane made landfall in October. That is not hype it is merely learning from history. Turn the sound of it you prefer on CycloneJim's video on Category 4 Huricane Charley. 

Tampa Bay 1921 Hurricane not Charley.
Video from Charley below.

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