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Exposing Holes In The Hurricane Center Reports

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posted on Aug, 19 2008 @ 08:20 PM
Anyone that knows me knows that for a few years I have been saying the National Hurricane Center official advisories are BS. Prior to Hurricane Andrew the NHC would use a value of 65% to 90% of flight level winds to determine surface sustained winds. Post Andrew and the move to political correctness (making storms look worse than they are) the NHC went to a system of using straight 90% to determine surface sustained winds. I have stated over and over that this doesn't work. I have used the lack of any supporting surface observations as evidence. Well I now have better evidence.

Yesterday on my climate blog I reported buoy observations as reported by the NDBC.

"Buoy" SANF1 which was near the center of circulation reported a sustained wind of 50mph but at 45 meters off the ground. SMKF1 reports 57mph at 49 meters.

KYWF1 which is right by SANF1 only reported a sustained wind of 19mph at the same time SANF1 reported 50mph. KYWF1 is at 6.4 meters. VCAF1 reported a sustained wind of 17mph at the same time SMKF1 reported 57mph. VCAF1 is at 6.4 meters as well. So there is obviously a significant drop in wind speed from 45-50 meters down to 6.4 meters.


The numbers came directly from the following data source...

At the time the buoy observations were logged the NHC was reporting the storm with sustained winds of 60mph. This storm passed right over the areas where the buoys were. The buoys were both on the strong side of the center of circulation. Sustained winds close to what the NHC reports were observed at 49 meters above sea level. Wind reports near the surface in almost the exact same locations were significantly less. This indicates a great deal of loss from 50m down to 5m.

There was a program on television about the tornado intercept vehicle that was able to get into a tornado and take a wind reading. Being able to match it up to radar readings taken from a truck nearby they were able to determine a loss of about 10 to 20% for winds at the surface. This is the difference between winds at the surface and winds just above the surface.

How can the NHC say there is a 10% loss from flight level when the loss from 100 meters and down is even greater?

With this storm over land I have hunted high and low for reports that matched what the NHC said. I find none. I have yet to find a wind gust equal to the sustained wind reports. Okeechobee, FL which was on the very right side of the eye reported a sustained wind of 38mph and a wind gust of 58mph. This was at the time the storm was reported as having 65mph sustained winds. Assuming the NHC actually found a FL wind of 65kts they would have reported sustained winds of 65mph (I say if and I'll show why shortly). If they used the 65% rule instead of 90% rule they would have reported sustained winds of about 46mph with wind gusts of about 60 to 65mph. That would have been believable. There would have been surface observations to more or less support that report. You will find this to be the case in about every storm. Take the FL winds and go with 65% and you'll find a real number that will be backed by surface observations.

The 49m and 6.4m buoys prove the NHC method doesn't work. The surface observations prove the NHC method doesn't work. If you go back to the old system and just use 65% as the rule you'll get accurate reports. There will be some exceptions where the dynamics of a storm might justify going a bit over 65%. Maybe to 75%. But for the most part I have found that 65% is the most accurate.

There was more I was going to add to this but after about 10 interruptions where I am I forgot what I was going to include. :-)

Oh yes here is a quote from a NHC discussion yesterday. They admit they fudge on the numbers.


posted on Aug, 20 2008 @ 04:06 AM
So Indy, where so you see us going from here? They seem to almost be admitting on the news they just haven't got a clue. but even the Navy site, which I have found to be the most accurate now has it still stying out in the ocean just long enough to hit back at a Cat1 around Daytona/Flagler.

As I live and manage properties in this area, it just seems like a big if as to what today and tomorrow brings, in what we might be facing at work today and tomorrow. This stall and the updates showing it coming back to shore fairly quickly and much south of yesterdays predictions is making it impossible to plan. (been waiting for you to check in).


posted on Aug, 20 2008 @ 12:30 PM
well, they're getting desperate, aren't they?

ciiking all their data will fall on their own big heads one day and sooner than they'd like to admit.

posted on Aug, 20 2008 @ 04:36 PM
This is getting ridiculous, it's only moving 3 mph. Just sitting here waiting for it to hit this morning, I mean this afternoon, I mean tomorrow morning, I mean tomorrow afternoon. Sheez.

I suppose by the time I wake up it won't be hitting till Friday. Last I read TS coming back ashore just south of Flagler Beach, but it just keep s changing. We will have a mess, not a catastrophe, but a mess. We just don't know when.

posted on Aug, 20 2008 @ 07:30 PM
The storm is certainly getting stronger. I've been watching personal weather stations on and you can see the pressure dropping on shore. So far the lowest I've found is 997.2mb from a PWS near Daytona. Conditions at DAB have been going down hill all afternoon. The wind will be more of an annoyance in my opinion. Unless you get gusts up to 90 or 100mph things should be fine. You'll get damage from the occasional tornado but mainly broken tree branches from the wind gusts.

The pressure in the storm went from 997 to 993 mb in 3 hours. That isn't a massive drop but enough of one to indicate the storm is getting stronger. The signature on radar is improving as more storms are wrapping around the west side of the circulation. Wind reports from radar are indicating a stronger storm as well. So far the stronger winds aren't reaching the surface. I think the 65% rule will work nicely here. It would indicate sustained winds of 40 to 45 mph which I suspect would be possible right on the beach right now. There is no evidence of 60mph sustained winds. We aren't even hitting 50mph gusts yet. But the storm is now getting stronger and those winds may eventually start to make it down to the surface.

Rain. Rain, rain and more rain. That will be what makes this storm famous. I saw photos on that indicated Melbourne had received 25 inches of rain. I don't now how true it is but the pictures certainly tell a story of flooding.

Where is this storm going? Hard to tell. I wouldn't rely too much on the NHC track forecast as they have blown this badly for 2 days. It may ride the coast all the way to Jacksonville or it would turn inland next hour and that be the end of it.

Just be prepared for lots of flooding. Buy lots of mosquito spray and watch for fire ants floating in the water.

Don't take your eye off this storm though. It is over the water and it is moving slowly and it is getting better organized. Strange things have happened in the past.

posted on Aug, 20 2008 @ 07:43 PM
reply to post by Indy

If I understand you correctly, NHC is reporting storms worst than what they are. Here's what bothers me, would they report the opposite? If they would why ? Is it possible that the data they're recieving is corrupted somehow by a glitch in the system? (playing the devil's Advocate)

[edit on 20-8-2008 by Komodo]

posted on Aug, 20 2008 @ 10:19 PM
They are reporting storms worse than they are for attention I believe. Saying a storm with 40mph sustained surface winds has 60mph sustained winds. There isn't a glitch in the data. I wish there was. It is absolutely unreasonable in my opinion to think that flight level winds only lose 10% down to the surface. That just isn't accurate. Prior to the Andrew correction the reports were pretty accurate. If the NHC said a storm had 50mph sustained winds you could expect to go to the beach and find sustained winds like that. Of course you'd lose some of that as you move inland and the buildings and trees had a chance to disrupt the wind flow.

Best place to look would be the numerous buoys around the Atlantic and Gulf. With all the storms we've had since (and including 2004) there have been no buoy observations that have supported what the NHC has claimed. There have been no surface observations along coastal communities that supported what the NHC claimed. If the NHC said 100 mph with 120 gusts you'd be lucky if you got a gust of 90 to 95mph. Sustained winds would have been in the area of 70 to 80mph. This happened not as the exception but rather the rule.

If you read the NHC reports and you take what the hurricane hunters are finding at flight level and you go with 65% you have a very accurate reading of what may be found at the surface.

What these careless NHC reports are doing is creating a false sense of security for people instead of scaring people which I think was the NHC objective. What it means that you can safely ride out a category 3 hurricane like Jeanne.

Katrina made landfall in Louisiana with sustained winds of 125mph according to the NHC. You'll have to hunt high and low to find a reported wind gust of 100mph anywhere. I know there were some gusts to 100. Not sure any reached 110 mph. Those were the gusts. Those are a far cry from being sustained.

The problem is that the NHC took Andrew which was the freak storm and attempted to apply the measurements to all other storms. Andrew was a one of a kind. The worst winds reached the surface in a way unlike just about any storm before it. With Andrew the 90% rule would have worked. But you don't take the once in a lifetime system and attempt to apply what worked for it to all other storms. When you do you end up with the joke that NHC reports have become today.

Unless the dynamics of a particular storm are exceptional nothing above 70% (65% is best) should be used for figuring surface winds.

posted on Aug, 21 2008 @ 02:12 AM
Yeah, I noticed some discrepancies between personal WX stations and what the NHC deemed as Fay's sustained winds. I think we should call it NHC's 20% fear monger factor, so as to keep sheeple inside or spending more cash on gas, plywood, batteries and bottled water.

Perhaps the algorithms are correlated to the amount of Budweiser consumed by a given sector of the population in the cone of danger, whereas a Nola TD during Mardi Gras would classified as a Cat 5 with 175 mph winds.

Coming soon.... the black box ate my homework.

posted on Aug, 21 2008 @ 05:52 AM
Blast it - I need real answers here and I'm not getting them. If the winds get to only 45 mph out at Flagler Beach, they close the brigde and I can't get back home from work. It should have hit by now, but again it stalls. I can't get definitive info on the bridge situation and they definately need me at work (property management and all hell is breaking loose already), but they don't want me there if the bridge is going to close. Arrrrghhh! This is the most frustrating storm I've had to deal with!

Like yesterday all the beachside banks & most buisinesses were closed, and actually it was fine for me to be at work all day. Today another big question mark, depending on when it starts moving again. The winds are bad around my home (heard some trees falling around me in the middle of the night, but so far none towards the house). My city has a swale system (as oppossed to sewers for road run off) and it seems pretty affective as the canals they empty into have plenty of capacity, so I'm not worried about flooding here, even with a stall over the area, but I think this storm will tell.

Biggest problem so far is the pup, who refuses to go anywhere but the backyard even if I give him permission to go on the covered patio and he wouldn't go for 24 hours so far

[edit on 8/21/2008 by Relentless]

posted on Aug, 21 2008 @ 08:19 AM
Well, got the day off and probably tomorrow too! Woohoo!

Called boss to say the time got away from me but I was headed in and she said the heck you are. They are getting 50 mph gusts and that storm is just sitting there. A1A has closures (it runs right along the beach and has eroded out in the past - yes, the road itself).

So Flagler Beach is taking a pounding, but nothing life threatening at the moment.

Small chance it will gain slight stregnth just sitting there over the ocean before landfall, but I guess we have to wait till it moves again to know anything.

posted on Aug, 21 2008 @ 08:39 AM
It seems to me that until Brevard and other counties started severely flooding, that many people weren't taking Fay seriously. I think that happens in general, particularly with low-level Cat 1 and TS. I think the NHC sometimes will take the recon data and take the worst case, and report that, for two reasons: 1) To allow states/counties/countries to utilize that data for the purposes of initiating watches and warnings, and 2) to get people's attention in order to get them to respond/take responsibility for their own safety..... along those lines might also be to spur closures, if gov./school administrations are on the fence. Better to err on the side of safety, especially with a fickle Fay who seems to be bumping up against the low above it and dealing with weak steering currents.

The NHC doesn't really need to sensationalize for attention, I don't believe.... besides, news feeds are already doing a swell job of that.

Agree with you that they shouldn't get carried away with it..... as you said, a false sense of security. With Fay, until she scoots onto Georgia or whereever she's headed, I support them not bringing down the sustained winds. Plus, let's not forget that tornados can [and have] be spun off of her.

Good thread. cheers!

[edit on 21-8-2008 by argentus]

posted on Aug, 21 2008 @ 08:43 AM
reply to post by Relentless

Yep, FB sure is getting it again. I hope A1A holds, and you don't loose all your sand again, although you really didn't get much of it back from last go-around did you?

Be safe

posted on Aug, 21 2008 @ 09:10 AM
Combined plots of windspeed, gusts and air pressure from DataBuoy Station 41012 - near St. Augustine:

posted on Aug, 21 2008 @ 03:06 PM
Currently in the eye and nothing is going on. Wonder if the outgoing will be less strong than the incoming since it's now back on land.

No, FB didn't get much sand as far as I know from the last great erosion, only what htey had to to get the roads back then. The beaches below us lost EVERYTHING they had restored sand wise in this one, and the amounts were huge $$$$.

posted on Aug, 21 2008 @ 03:55 PM

Originally posted by argentus
I think the NHC sometimes will take the recon data and take the worst case, and report that, for two reasons: 1) To allow states/counties/countries to utilize that data for the purposes of initiating watches and warnings, and 2) to get people's attention in order to get them to respond/take responsibility for their own safety.

Is taking 90% of FL and reporting it as sustained really worst case? I mean why not just report the storm as a Cat 3 hurricane? Stranger things have happened right? Their duty is to report the facts and not take liberties with "what ifs?"

1) The counties are able to utilize their own resources and plan according to facts. But it it hard to plan according to facts when the information you are being presented as fact is anything but fact.

2) People aren't going to pay attention to the boy who cried wolf. People will eventually figure out that the NHC fudges their numbers and evacuation orders will be treated as "wolf." Eventually the worst case scenario will come true and many people will die because of the recklessness of the NHC reporting.

If your computer models indicate a thunderstorm is capable of producing a tornado with 125mph winds do you report the thunderstorm currently has 125mph winds? Or do you report the thunderstorm has for example has strong winds to around 50 mph but is capable of producing a moderate tornado? The NHC and NWS both need to quit being so openly dishonest for the sake of attention. No good ever came from crying wolf.

I could start a completely different thread dealing with the NWS and all the times they cry wolf.

BTW I wouldn't drive over one of those causeways in high winds. Those bridges make me nervous in gusty conditions. It isn't the fall I fear. It is hitting water in my car :-)

posted on Aug, 21 2008 @ 11:47 PM
You guys need to Trust your self in your own ability to read Radar and Animated progression of the is 2008. and ATS...

Current radar for just that region.

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