Category Archives: Tropical Storm Outlooks

So What About Hurricane IRMA?

Those who follow my blog know I’m more of a “snowstorm sorta weatherguy” than a “hurricane sorta guy”.  That said, I’d like to chime in on hurricane Irma.

First, hurricanes are tough to predict– the track or path is difficult to predict well into the future and the future intensity is even more difficult to predict.

Anyone who has listened to the news knows that Irma is a Category 5 storm and is likely to be a Category 5 or Category 4 by the time it hits Florida.   And yes, it does look extremely likely that it hit the southern part of Florida, maybe near the Keys, maybe near Miami and steer northward.

Here’s the latest as of today (Thursday) afternoon-  The National Hurricane Center maintains an track that is on the eastern side of Florida, maybe off the coast a bit.  They have maintained that track because Wednesday’s models were leaning towards a more eastern track.

Thursday’s models have changed a bit:

The ECMWF (European) model has the storm hitting the Keys and goes up through the center of FL with more of a delay.

The CMC (Canadian) takes it a bit faster and up through the center of Florida.

The NAVGEM (US Navy) model is still slower and takes a more western route through Florida.

The GFS model is still closest to the official NHC track, on the eastward side of Florida.

Historically, the ECMWF and the GFS are the most accurate for hurricanes.  Additionally, something called a “consensus model” has a good track record. 

Here is the current GFS Ensemble (statistical) paths:

GFS Ensemble Tracks


So there’s still uncertainty about the exact track, but a track that affects some or much of Florida is extremely likely.

The best information about the storm is from the National Hurricane Center



Followup and Update on Irma

It appears that the models have been incredibly poor predicting the track of hurricane Irma in the long term.  Consistency in predicting an east coast hit has luckily faded over the weekend.  Each successive model run has had Irma take a more southerly track.

So the concern about affecting Philadelphia and the Jersey Shore has disappeared.

Last night’s models now have Irma making the same general west then north motion, but much further south, south of Florida.   What a change! The only consistent part of the predicted track is a sharp right turn, this time affecting much of Florida.  Based on the predictions so far, it’s hard to hang one’s hat on anything right now.

Hurricane Matthew Update

As mentioned this morning, Matthew does not appear to pose a threat to the mid Atlantic area in the near term.

The trend for Florida is more ominous.  The latest GFS and Navy NAVGEM model, along with specific short range hurricane models, now have the storm moving up into Florida instead of staying off the coast.  This is a serious situation.  Please check  the National Hurricane Center for more updates on this storm.