The National Hurricane Center’s 2022 Tech Improvements
Bottom Line: The most interesting aspect of NOAA’s release of its annual hurricane forecast wasn’t the hurricane forecast. It was the accompanying info about how it's making storm projections better. Anyone observing the NHC’s tracking in recent years has noticed that the cone’s gotten smaller, projections have gotten better and that they’re picking up on far more than they used to (which incidentally is what’s behind most of the increase in named storms in recent years – in contrast with the narrative advanced by those with political agendas). Anyway, here’s the breakdown of what’s set to get better this year according to NOAA:
- To improve the understanding and prediction of how hurricanes intensify, NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Lab and Pacific Marine Environmental Lab will operate five Saildrone uncrewed surface vehicles during the peak of the 2022 hurricane season and coordinate for the first time with uncrewed ocean gliders, small aircraft drone systems, and NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft to measure the ocean, atmosphere and areas where they meet.
- The Hurricane Weather Research and Forecast Modeling System and Hurricanes in a Multi-scale Ocean-coupled Non-hydrostatic model, which have shown significant skill improvements in terms of storm track and intensity forecasts, have been successfully transitioned to the newest version of the Weather and Climate Operational Supercomputing System, allowing for uninterrupted operational forecasts.
- The Excessive Rainfall Outlook (ERO) has been experimentally extended from three to five days of lead time, giving more notice of rainfall-related flash flooding risks from tropical storms and hurricanes. The ERO forecasts and maps the probability of intense rainfall that could lead to flash flooding within 25 miles of a given point.
- In June, NOAA will enhance an experimental graphic that depicts the Peak Storm Surge Forecast when storm surge watches or warnings are in effect. Upgrades include an updated disclaimer and color coding that illustrates the peak storm surge inundation forecast at the coast. This tool is currently only available in the Atlantic basin.
That’s a great update as it means all key aspects of storm info that matter to us are improving. It's worth mentioning that while top wind speeds draw the lion’s share of attention, over 90% of storm damage historically is a result of water. The key improvements with rainfall and storm surge are especially important upgrades.