Monday Tropical Outlook Part 2

Tracking the computer models today provides a good example of why caution is needed in long term forecasting. The models have done a pretty good job over the past couple of days in dealing with the development of Depression #4 (perhaps “Dean” in the near future). The longer term portion of the computer model forecasts have been consistent in running the storm through the northern Caribbean and into the Gulf of Mexico. The two most recent computer runs are shifting the track considerably to the right(north), taking the storm just north of Puerto Rico instead of south. The graphic below shows the NHC 5 day track forecast and this adjustment.

The graphic below shows the latest GFS model for August 22. The storm position is east of the Outer Banks, wedged between a large area of high pressure over the Atlantic Ocean and a ridge over the northeast and Mid Atlantic states. This scenario would probably keep the storm out to sea.

Computer model are a wonderful tool for the forecaster, providing insight into the potential workings of the atmosphere. Different models come up with different solutions and forecasters look for some sort of consensus among the models when building a forecast. More than likely, no one model holds all the answers and the further out in time any model runs, the more error prone they become. We will probably see a number of changes in forecast track and intensity before the storm plays itself out. It will be interesting to watch.

John Collins


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