About Mark Sudduth

Greetings! I am Mark Sudduth, the founder and editor of HurricaneTrack.com. The site began in 1999 as a way to post info concerning tropical storms and hurricanes for any interested visitors. Little did I know how big it would become in the years since. Now, we have millions of visitors from all over the world who have come to rely on the site as a no non-sense, tell it like it is resource for all things hurricane related. We are supported by a combination of corporate sponsors and our loyal Client Services members who subscribe to premium content on our sister site, premium.hurricanetrack.com. I am married with six energetic and intelligent children and live in southeast North Carolina. I graduated UNC-Wilmington in 1995 with a BA in Geography and have studied the effects of hurricanes on our society ever since.

HurricaneTrack.com Client Services season pass and “early bird” specials now available

As we approach the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, we have made available two great plans for our subscription service. One is the season pass which gives you 100% access to all of our Client Services features for just $59.95 from now through November 30. That’s right, only one payment for the entire season. We had several dozen subscribers who really enjoyed this package last year and hope to expand upon that this time around. For those who took advantage of it in 2011, now is a great time to sign up and get started again.

For those wishing to have a smaller monthly subscription, you have until the end of the month to sign up for our $9.95 per month “early bird” special. This too was quite popular with almost a third of our member base last season.

Of course, we still offer our annual plan of $99.95 which is billed only once per year. More than half of our members are on this plan and we appreciate their continued support since the inception of our service back in 2005.

Why sign up at all? It’s simple. Our subscription service is like none other. Members get access to 100% ad-free live video feeds, a daily video update and briefing during the hurricane season, off-season video blogs, live chat with our staff and other members (troll free I might add since EVERYONE is a paying member, no free-loading troublemakers like you see on other public chats), 30 frame satellite and radar loops, large Stormpulse maps, several types of our own Java tracking maps and a member forum. And last year we introduced member streaming where by our members can stream THEIR weather to other members right from their computer and web cam. It is amazing to see our streams sure, but adding in member streams as well was a fantastic idea (one of our members suggested it) and it works so easy. All of these features make up our Client Services site.

So, if you’re interested in going beyond our blog, we have an extensive menu of subscription based services at a fair price. Our clients include folks from the insurance industry, emergency management, media, hospital management, power companies, insurance adjusters, pilots, retirees who own property or otherwise live along the coast, and many other segments of our population who just have an interest in hurricanes. In fact, 9% of our memberships are from people outside of the United States with Great Britain leading the way. We are very proud of what we offer in return for the hard earned money of our private clients. What they get in return is our dedication, innovation and an experience like none other. We spend most of the time talking about what may or may not happen tropics-wise but when the time comes and we have to head out in to the field, our technological advances really shine.

Check out a full description of Client Services here and sign up today! You’ll be part of a growing group of like-minded people who are all very helpful to one another and us too! The interactivity between the members and us is incredible and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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Significant non-tropical storm to affect Florida and East Coast over the weekend

It appears that quite a potent storm is going to take shape over the eastern Gulf of Mexico this weekend as upper level energy digs in from the Great Plains. A surface low is forecast to form over the eastern Gulf and bring the potential for very heavy rain and severe weather to portions of Florida (figure 1).

Figure 1: Coastal Storm - 48 Hour Forecast from GFS

Figure 1: Coastal Storm - 48 Hour Forecast from GFS

From there, the low is forecast to move up the East Coast, bringing with it wind and rain all the way to New England. For coastal areas, this will be basically a warm (relatively speaking) Nor’easter. If this were January, we would probably be looking at an epic snowstorm for a good deal of the East Coast. As it stand now, a decent rain event looks to be in store for a wide swath of the Florida peninsula all the way up to Maine with coastal areas experiencing rough seas and a stiff onshore flow (figure 2).

The storm is non-tropical in nature but will tap warm Gulf of Mexico water that is itself running well above normal for this time of year. This warm water will add energy and moisture to the storm system and provide the fuel for it to strengthen and dump copious amounts of rain along its track. If you have outdoor plans this weekend in Florida all the way to New England, keep up to date on the latest weather forecast for your area.

Figure 2: Coastal Storm - 60 Hour Forecast from GFS

Figure 2: Coastal Storm - 60 Hour Forecast from GFS

One excellent tool to understand the impacts better of any storm event is to read the local forecast discussion from your National Weather Service office. You can find this by going to www.weather.gov and typing in your ZIP Code. Then scroll down on the landing page to find “Forecast Discussion”. It will have detailed meteorological information with timing, impacts and projected watch/warning info for any storm event forecast for your area. It’s a great tool, use it.

 

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Understand the seasonal forecast not for what it says, but for what it does not say

Tomorrow, Dr. Phil Klotzbach and the team from Colorado State University will issue their first quantitative forecast for the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. As many who are tuned in to this info already know, the CSU team is likely going to forecast a season with less overall activity than we’ve seen in recent years.

I have already seen a few news reports that trickled out during the National Hurricane Conference last week that had headlines mentioning a “quiet” season ahead. I think that the video below sums up the reality of the seasonal hurricane forecast pretty well. Check it out and when the forecast comes out tomorrow and subsequent updates and additional forecasts are made throughout the rest of the season, keep the advice you hear in the video in mind.

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Some thoughts from the National Hurricane Conference

The 2012 National Hurricane Conference is in the bag. While I do not know how many people attended, I am sure it was far lower a number than I have seen in years past. The stalled economy, budget cuts and $4.00/gallon gas no doubt have had an impact on this important national forum.

None the less, I was in attendance for two of the four days and learned a lot. I will share much more about that in the weeks to come but for now, a couple of quick thoughts.

One of the most interesting subjects was that of storm surge and how to educate the public about what to really expect. As someone who has seen, recorded and studied numerous storm surge events dating back to the late 1990s, I perhaps took for granted that when people hear of a potential 10 to 15 foot storm surge that they would automatically, without question, take the necessary action to save lives and mitigate property damage. Remember that storm surge has the greatest potential for loss of life, above all of the other tropical cyclone hazards. Yet, apparently  a lot of people do not understand their vulnerability to surge much less what a surge forecast actually means.

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Is there an El Nino in the cards for 2012? Perhaps, but not looking as likely.

The mark of a busy hurricane season usually has one element missing from it: El Nino. That is to say, El Nino conditions in the Tropical Pacific tend to suppress Atlantic hurricane activity. This is due mainly to strong upper level winds that cut across the breeding grounds for hurricanes, thus limiting their numbers and intensities. However, one must remember infamous exceptions to this rule such as Andrew in 1992, an El Nino year. There are others as well which remind us of the adage “it only takes one”.

What about neutral years? What defines a neutral year anyway? Basically, when we see the sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly in the Tropical Pacific between .50 Celsius above or below normal, it is a neutral year (ENSO neutral). The scale is not tipped in one direction or another. Easy enough, right?

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