Revolt at NHC; tropical update
The extraordinary political turmoil at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) continued yesterday, with the release of a statement signed by nearly half of the staff calling for the immediate dismissal of director Bill Proenza. Front page stories in both the Miami Herald and Florida Sun-Sentinel detail the letter, which reads: "An unfortunate public debate is now occurring over the ability of the National Hurricane Center to meet its mission. The undersigned staff of the National Hurricane Center has concluded that the center needs a new director. The effective functioning of the National Hurricane Center is at stake. The staff of the National Hurricane Center would like nothing more than to return to its primary mission of protecting life and property from hazardous tropical weather, and leave the political arena it now finds itself in." The letter is signed by 23 of the center's 49 employees, including almost the entire senior staff. Many NHC employees were on vacation, and did not have the opportunity to sign the letter.
The articles in the two newspapers also quote my blog from yesterday, where I present the case against Bill Proenza--his misrepresentation of the science of how much the QuikSCAT satellite influences hurricane track forecasts. I'll have more to say on the matter this afternoon, when I've had a chance to process some of the feedback on this.
A low pressure system (96L) with a well-defined spin is about 550 miles east of the Lesser Antilles Islands, moving westward towards the islands at 10-15 mph. This low continues to show sporadic heavy thunderstorm activity, but has been unable to overcome the large amount of dry air it is embedded in. It would appear that 96L's window of opportunity for developing into a tropical depression has closed, as wind shear has risen to 20 knots and is expected to remain at least 20 knots for the next two or three days. None of the reliable computer models develop the system into a tropical depression.
Figure 1. Model tracks for 96L, the low pressure system approaching the Lesser Antilles Islands.
New disturbance off the east coast of Florida
An area of disturbed weather has developed off the east coast of Florida along an old frontal boundary. Long range radar out of Melbourne, FL shows a large disorganized area of showers off the coast. The area is under 20-25 knots of wind shear, and the shear is forecast to remain above 20 knots for at least the next two days in the region, which should prevent any development. The GFS computer model shows this disturbance moving off to the northeast over the weekend, but it could bring heavy rains to Florida and the Northwest Bahamas Friday and Saturday before it does so. None of the reliable computer models develop the system into a tropical depression.