Thursday, May 27, 2010

I Love the Hurricane Season Forecasts

NOAA came out today with our hurricane season forecast:  NOAA Expects Busy Atlantic Hurricane Season.

They have a few standard forecasts.  "More active than normal", "Extremely active", and "OMG!! Head for Atlanta!!"

Seriously, as one of the young engineers I mentor says, "This is the best job in the world.  You come out once a year and say how bad it's going to be and there are never any consequences!  No one ever gets fired for being wrong, no one ever gets ridiculed in the press.  It's the ideal job." 

Put on your big boy pants, I have some truth for you.  Forget what the Global Warming Believers say about these storms; there is no evidence of link between warmer temperatures and storm number or intensity, hurricane energy is actually declining over the last half century .  Hurricane activity goes in cycles, roughly 40 years long.  We are in the high activity side for the North Atlantic.  I think we went into it during the mid to late 90s.  By rough estimate, we'll have higher than normal numbers of storms for as much as another 10 years, all other things being equal.  And all other things are never equal.  2004 was the 6 sigma season here, we had direct hits from two cat 3 hurricanes in the same month, plus a few that passed close enough to give us tropical storm winds.  It has never happened in history and will probably never happen again.  We have not had a direct hit from a hurricane since then.  Last year we had a very strong el Nino start up, which tends to shear the tops off storms and keep them away from us.  That seems to be ending, so if I was them, I'd be forecasting a busier year than last year, too.  

To paraphrase Tam from a few weeks ago, "if you're prepared for the zombie apocalypse, a little thing like a few days of rain and no power doesn't mean much".

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