Modelcane Season is Upon Us
Welcome to “modelcane” season! As we near the peak of hurricane season, “modelcasters” peer on at every tropical wave that exits the African Coast. After all, those waves occupy a firm place in history as the beginnings of some of the most intense storms on record. Justifiably, these waves receive a lot of attention on social media.
7pm, August 17, 2020:
A disorganized cluster of showers and thunderstorms accompanies a tropical wave approaching the Windward Islands. This disturbance is expected to continue scooting west over the Caribbean Sea during the next few of days, and the fast motion will limit significant development. By the end of the week, the system may slow in the western Caribbean where upper-level winds could become more conducive for the development of a tropical depression. The National Hurricane Center places a development chance at 60 percent.
A second tropical wave over the far eastern tropical Atlantic has become better organized with increasing showers and thunderstorms near a center. Conditions are forecast to be favorable for the development of a tropical depression over the next few days moves west-northwest at 15mph through the tropical Atlantic. The National Hurricane Center places a development chance at 90 percent.
Untrained and/or irresponsible enthusiasts will comb through dozens of forecast models and inevitably find one that suggests a major storm will approach the United States. The problem is that a lot of time during hurricane season there is some forecast model blowing up a storm 7-10 days out in time due to lower predictive ability in that timeframe. There are still posts about these “modelcanes” but they rarely get any traction because responsible meteorologists ignore them.
However, a National Hurricane Center tropical weather outlook signals the masses to pay attention. Obviously, if the NHC is monitoring a system, it has more potential than a computer generated storm. So, in the few occasions that these “modelcanes” come to be, it may lead to a perception that the machines are outperforming professionals. If a professional gets it wrong, they are held accountable. If a “modelcaster” gets it wrong, they shrug it off as a “technological” error. This is why it is chiefly important to be very careful and responsible when sharing model images, especially with regard to potentially high impact events such as hurricanes. You can “Google” just about anything, from a category five storm coming to the U.S. or a perfectly quiet hurricane season, but that does not make it true.
This is just the annual reminder to be responsible in consuming and sharing information on social media during hurricane season! The WBRZ Weather Team is here for you, on every platform. Your weather updates can be found on News 2, wbrz.com, and the WBRZ WX App on your Apple or Android device. Follow WBRZ Weather on Facebook and Twitter for even more weather updates while you are on the go.
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