It’s that time of year – tropical model madness

When you hear the term models, what comes to mind?

Some think of fashion, some think of beauty and then there are meteorologists that just think headaches, lots of headaches.

Multiple times a day these “models” are run projecting out 16 days into the future but one must understand that once you get past 3-5 days in the science world, those models can be way wrong.

It’s even worse at this time of year because many times in the middle to longer range, “models” send some random hurricane into a major city. Since a major hurricane hasn’t made landfall in the United States in over a decade, you can see how often these models are wrong past five days.

The problem comes with the fact that these models are public domain and they can get spread like wildfire on social media. A cool looking image of a hurricane over any major city creates a social media buzz that every hurricane season seems to grow larger and larger.

Before we move into the heart of this hurricane season understand this, there is a difference between a forecast and a weather model. A weather model shared on social media past five days is there for shares, a forecast past five days is there to inform.

Remember back to those headaches we endure as meteorologists due to those “models”, right now is one of those times.

Two areas of interest have our attention in the tropics right now and our weather models are of no help.

One is old Tropical Depression #4 that continues to track west and is now approaching the Bahamas. It has shown signs of life but conditions are not favorable for development. Still, we must continue to monitor this system as it may eventually make it into the Gulf as a tropical wave by this upcoming weekend. What happens at that point? Too early to tell…

A second area we are watching is a tropical wave moving between the coast of Africa and the Caribbean. One weather model, the GFS, continues to indicate this system has the potential to intensify into a storm by the time it makes it to the Caribbean. That model is all alone in its projection so why even believe it?  Well, if you are there to inform you ignore it but if you are there for shares, you post it.

Remember, know the difference between a forecast and a weather model this hurricane season.

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