It looks as though the GFS model, the main U.S. generated global model, is suffering from some kind of issue that creates hurricanes out of cumulus clouds.
As I mentioned in recent posts, there appeared to be a chance that we would see development take place down in the Caribbean Sea as the week progressed. While that could still happen, I don’t see it as being a big issue.
This year in particular, the GFS model has had an annoying tendency to develop hurricanes out of the slightest of disturbances when other models, especially the rival ECMWF, did not. Remember Cristobal back in late August? At one point the GFS had it becoming a powerful hurricane, parked right off of New Orleans. Social media went nuts about this since some decided to post images of the output without any explanation of how ludicrous the notion was, considering how far out in time we were talking about, etc. If every hurricane that the GFS developed in week two of its 16 day output actually happened, no one would want to live at the coast! It’s pretty bad and I hope it gets fixed sooner rather than later.
Fortunately, we do have other global models available when looking for what is called “tropical cyclogenesis”. This is just a fancy way of saying development. I do not claim to be a computer model expert, not by any stretch. I imagine there is quite a bit of physics and math that goes in to programming the powerful suite of models used around the world to predict the weather. Picking out the birth of a tropical cyclone is not always an easy task but some models seem to do better than others. This year, the GFS has not been one of those models and I think this is another case of crying hurricane instead of wolf.
Nevertheless, the Caribbean Sea is favored this time of year and it would not be smart to completely ignore the chance of development in that region. Remember too that it does not take a hurricane to cause significant problems. Even a tropical storm with torrential rain could impact land areas from the Caribbean northward to Florida and the Bahamas during this time of the season. While the GFS may be suspect, and perhaps even more so now, it’s worth keeping tabs on the Caribbean until the end of the season but as for now, any hurricanes that the GFS dreams up look to be just that, the stuff of fantasy land.
In the east Pacific, Simon continues to dwindle away and will soon be a remnant low pressure area. Periods of rain, sometimes heavy, will move in to the Southwest U.S. but this does not look to be as widespread an event as Norbert and Odile were. So far, there are no flood watches posted for the region. Check out this graphic from the NWS Tucson. It explains the upcoming event very well in one convenient graphic.
Meanwhile, a powerful typhoon is churning away in the west Pacific. It is currently one of the strongest tropical cyclones of 2014 and could threaten Japan, though much weaker than it is now, in several days. It seems as though the Pacific Basin as a whole is the place for all the action this year. If it were not for hurricane Arthur back on the 4th of July, the Atlantic season would seem almost non-existent which is pretty much in line with what was forecast for this season. I will discuss that in more detail in an upcoming blog post.
M. Sudduth 1:15 PM ET Oct 7