As we wait for the 2006 Hurricane Season to get under way, there are a few stories out there today that I thought I would mention and make comments on. First is an amazing story about how the FSU Super Ensemble Modeling data has been sold to a Raleigh based private forecasting company, Weather Predict. The NOAA and NHC forecasters have relied heavily upon this forecasting tool to save the lives of people all over the country during Hurricane Season. Max Mayfield and other forecasters are not happy about this decision by the FSU directors, and neither am I. How is it possible that a public university that receives grants from the government to create this research tool is now able to cut off the public from the data and sell the exclusive rights to Weather Predict? Weather Predict is now trying to broker a deal where NOAA and the NHC can purchase this information that was once free. This story just makes my blood boil. In a time when Hurricanes are wreaking havoc on our coastlines, we have companies out there trying to profit from it by selling once free data back to the NHC forecasters. I find this story just insane. I will be keeping tabs on how this story plays out as the public becomes aware of it.
A couple of the models out there have started picking up on a possible Low pressure system forming off the coast of Costa Rica and moving North into the Gulf of Mexico in the next week. The most recent run of this model actually shows the system hitting New Orleans in 144 hrs. It is way too early to read anything into this, but the models are starting to pick up on Low Pressure formations so we will start watching them more closely. One scary thing about the Gulf of Mexico is that the Central Gulf SST's are hitting 87 degrees! Here is an image of the Gulf of Mexico SST's one year ago. Looks a lot warmer to me, and that isn't good.
One final note is a story that I have read before and wanted to post here. Jeff Masters is a well known Meteorologist from Weather Underground who has a great blog. Jeff was once a Hurricane Hunter who flew into Hurricanes for research and forecasting. Read this story about the day Jeff flew into Hurricane Hugo at 1500 ft when it was a Category 5 Hurricane. That is one amazing story.