TOM PETTY and the EUROPEANS …
Well I won't back down
No I won't back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down
No I'll stand my ground, won't be turned around
And I'll keep this world from draggin me down
gonna stand my ground
... and I won't back down
The WED 5pm official forecast track from NHC takes hurricane Joaquin into eastern NC then into se VA and up the Chesapeake Bay. This track is very similar to what we saw was hurricane Isabel in September 2003. so let me be clear about this -- I think the 5pm track ( as well as the 1am Wed official track) is complete bullshit . let me explain--
Here is the official 5:00 PM track from NHC and the previous official track from 11am.
As we talked about earlier ...we have two very distinct and very different possible solutions here. Scenario #1 lets call it the big disaster scenario - is based upon the GFS Canadian British Canadian models which all feat hurricane Joaquin hitting eastern NC / se VA this weekend. All these models have the hurricane paralleling the Southeast U.S. Coast tracking in a north direction ... THEN making s sharp turn to the LEFT or West to the coast which results in the hurricane hitting the eastern NC or se VA in a due east to west direction.
Scenario #2 is the European model which takes hurricane Joaquin out to sea south of Bermuda. Behind this system is a weak coastal storm devedlops on the southeast US coast which brings moderate rain to Virginia this weekend and heavy rain North Carolina.
As you can see NEITHER scenario shows a track anything like the track given by NHC at 5:00 PM or at 11:00 AM.
The truth is that the 11 AM and 5 PM official hurricane tracks are **compromises** between the 2 scenarios. The problem here is that because the two scenarios are diametrically opposed ... taking a compromise forecast track is a pointless exercise. Either hurricane Joaquin IS going to eastern NC / southeast VA ... OR it is going out to sea.
Consensus and compromise here does NOT work. And the truth of the matter is that whenever the weather gets really important / extreme ... compromise and consensus forecasts NEVER work because you are dealing at extreme events at the end of the bell curve probability.
Because this is a very difficult forecast and because there is no possible consensus or compromise ... NHC has to make it very difficult forecast. By taking this track NHC (National hurricane center) is making a forecast which has the least possible error as opposed to making the most accurate forecast. In either case was happening here is that NHC is forecasting not to get the scenario correct but forecasting to have the least possible error. In other words they are playing not to lose the game instead of winning it.
Now some people going to see these remarks and think that "DT is bashing NHC". I hope you do not see my comments in those terms. NHC has a extremely difficult and critically important forecast to make over the next two days that will affect millions of lives and cost billions of dollars --no matter what they do. If NHC waits to long ...people could be stuck on the coastal barrier islands of North Carolina or the congested areas of Southeast Virginia in long traffic jams as the storm comes in from the ocean. It makes sense for NHC right now to play the caution game and NOT commit one way or the other.
But that also means that people have to understand that the official track is a compromise and that it is unlikely to verify.
The regular or operational European model from early this morning continued to take the hurricane Joaquin out into the open waters of the Atlantic and did not show a hurricane hitting North Carolina and Virginia. As I stated above ..only the European model continues to show this. All of the other models .... whether they are hurricane models or the global models -- .continue to take hurricane Joaquin into the North Carolina southeast Virginia coastal areas as a major hurricane event in manner similar to ISABEL 2003
However we look at the European ensemble from WED morning it should be noted that there was a significant cluster - 12 of the 51 members- that took the hurricane into NC / VA. This led some meteorologists to speculate that the afternoon European model might offer a major change at midday and show a East Coast hurricane strike in around North Carolina and Virginia ( similar to what the British Canadian and GFS models are shown).
At Wednesday midday GFS Canadian British Canadian models all continued to show Joaquin making that sharp left turn and crashing into eastern North Carolina / southeast Virginia between Virginia Beach and Cape Hatteras. From there the storm would drop 10 to 20 inches of rain over much of Virginia and North Carolina ... as well as sustained hurricane force winds on the coast and gusts to 100 mph ...wind gusts up 75 mph inland and move in the direction of Roanoke or Charlottesville.
If those models are correct hurricane Joaquin would bring about essentially the same type of storm track and the same type of conditions as we saw with hurricane Isabel in 2003 over Virginia North Carolina.
However at mid afternoon the new European model came out and it did NOT change. That Model continues to take hurricane Joaquin in a ENE track out into the open waters of Atlantic Ocean passing close to or just south of Bermuda. It does not bring the hurricane the coast in any way shape or form.
This time the 12z European ensembles came out and they show a BIG change with most of them now supporting the regular European model and taking hurricane Joaquin out to sea. Very few members of the European ensemble now show a land fall in either Southeast Virginia or North Carolina.
In fact the European model allows the area of HIGH pressure over southeastern Canada to push further to the south which keeps most of New England dry and sunny this weekend !!!
In addition the new European model weakens the 2ndary coastal storm significantly and reduces the rainfall amounts this weekend across VA MD to a more manageable 3 to 6 inch rains in VA and MD It looks rainy and stormy but it is not a washout if the and nobody suffers a disaster flood. In North Carolina the upper low over Georgia brings heavy rain to North Carolina this weekend with amounts up to 10 inches.
WHICH SCENARIO? ??
Many keep asking why doesnt he European model see the blocking pattern? The answer is that the very question is wrong. Of course the European model "sees" the blocking pattern that is why it takes the hurricane out to sea and towards Bermuda. Clearly the European model which has a vastly superior model resolution over the other models is clearly " seeing ' something in the atmosphere over the Northwest Atlantic Ocean which causes the model to take the hurricane out towards Bermuda.
The GFS... Canadian British models which have substantially lower model resolution ..see this block in the atmosphere over the northwest Atlantic in a totally different manner and that results in those models slowly down so that the Upper Low over GA an " capture it" and pull it to the coast as some sort of weird Hurricane / Noreaster event
Keep in mind that the lower resolution models - the regular or operational GFS navy Canadian the British models -- are all run are significantly less refined resolution then the regular or operational European model.
Secondly let me point this out....the individual ensemble members of the various weather models are ALWAYS run at a lower resolution then the regular or operational run. That is to say that the GFS ensembles are run at less refined model resolution than the regular or operational GFS. This is also the case for the Canadian model ....the British model and the European model.
Therefore it should NOT should not be a surprise when the early Wednesday European ensemble individual members showed 12 of 51 members taking Joaquin into NC/ VA in a manner similar to the GFS Canadian British less refined Models
This supports my hypothesis that there is something different with the European high resolution model that the lower resolution models are not seeing
Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out
(and I won't back down...)
hey I will stand my ground
and I won't back down
Because of the amazing consistency and track record of the European model ... because the Wednesday afternoon European ensembles shifted east and NOT west.. I am beginning to think that the hurricane threat is not going to develop for the East Coast. I think the hurricane Joaquin is going to slide east out the open Atlantic Ocean. We still have moderate to heavy rain to deal with this weekend across much of Virginia and heavy rain and North Carolina but the RISK of the devastating late season hurricane coming in from the ocean ....taking a due east to west trajectory is looking less and less likely.