Friday, November 30, 2007

[Jyo_hurricane] The Final 2007 entry - I hope!

Hello my friends, It's that time of the year... Welcome to the END of the Hurricane Season! (and welcome to all those who signed up in November!! - I bet you are wondering why now? :))

To summarize the 2007 season:  We had a total of 14 named storms and 6 hurricanes, because they have just upgraded Karen (anyone remember her?) in the post-season analysis to a hurricane (for less than 12 hours whilst she was over the Atlantic). That makes this an average year as far as the number of hurricanes, and slightly above average in terms of the total named storms, but still a way below average year if you take into consideration the combined duration and intensity of all the storms.

Once again, a certain well known company (to protect the innocent, let's call it Company A) lived up to it's nick-name (inaccuwea..cough cough). To recap: Before the 2006 season, their report said: "In terms of the number of storms, the 2006 hurricane season will again be more active than normal, but less active than last summer's historic storm season." 2006 had below normal activity. Before the 2007 season, their report said: "the Gulf and Florida face a renewed threat, and we will see more powerful storms across the board. We will not get anywhere near the amount of storms that we did in 2005, but it is the intensity of the storms we do get that will be of major concern.” With the exception of two cat 5s that remained in the Caribbean, all the other storms were far weaker than usual. In all fairness to Company A, they weren't the only ones making such grand claims. Unfortunately, this highlights the importance we put on early season forecasts, when we don't really understand the physical system at play. It is what the public wants to know, but it also causes life-threatening problems when those claims do not materialize because the public begins to ignore them, and then when something awful is going to happen they ignore that as well (as we saw with Katrina)  the-boy-who-cried-wolf-syndrome. Forecasting for the entire season is not a very scientific thing - so please treat any forecasts you hear for the entire season with a pinch of salt (unless it's my forecast of course ;) ), and don't get complacent - it's always good to be prepared!

On to other "news". In case you missed it, Herbert Saffir, the co-creator of the Saffir-Simpson that we fondly use to categorize hurricanes, passed away last week (Nov. 21). He was 90 years of age. The scale is based on how much damage is caused at certain wind speeds, which is why each category is not evenly distributed in terms of the wind speed brackets.

Finally, I would like to do my annual count of how many people are exposed to my emails/blog entries - can you send me a note if you forward these missives to anyone (spouse, sibling, cat, dog, the fish in the neighbour's pond), how many you forward to, and what state (or country) they live in? That would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks to all who have helped in bringing this to you - the computing wizards at CMS/USF, and to C. in Texas for maintaining the blog, and to my friends, family and colleagues for doing their best to keep me sane and retain a sense of humour ;)

Have a wonderful holiday season, New Year, etc etc...
That's all for now folks :)

Disclaimer... blah blah blah.... (see the website blog archives if you want to read it).

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