The 2018 Hurricane Season is rapidly approaching and the National Hurricane Center will be implementing a new cone of uncertainty this year.
Through the years the accuracy for hurricane track forecasts have been studied and those track errors continue to decrease. This has led to a smaller cone of uncertainty over the past decade with another shrinkage of the cone coming for the 2018 season.
As has always been the case, track errors are much larger beyond three days and storms can still could end up outside of the forecast cone.
Brian McNoldy, a senior researcher at the University of Miami, also points out that the cone of uncertainty is not meant to show where impacts may be felt but strictly is forecasting an area that the center of the storm may be positioned. Hurricanes, especially major hurricanes, can have far reaching impacts well outside of the cone possibly hundreds of miles away from the center.
New #HurricaneSeason, new "cone of uncertainty"! The size of the cone represents a 2/3 probability of a storm center position using past 5 yrs of track error stats. It is NOT meant to show where impacts will be felt! Same cone is used for every storm & forecast within a season. pic.twitter.com/9yK5iz0fdG
— Brian McNoldy (@BMcNoldy) April 23, 2018