Can the forecast for a Cat 5 storm be boring?

Can the forecast for a category 5 hurricane be boring? Yes, if the 5am Friday (8 Sept) Hurricane Lee is the example. Lee has intensified to a legitimate if small Category Five hurricane, but so far is on track to stay far enough away from the Leeward Islands (as well as Puerto Rico/USVI) to avoid any impacts but waves. Here’s the link to NHC’s Key Messages regarding Hurricane Lee (en Español: Mensajes Claves), and this is the latest impact swath from my TAOS/TC system:

click any image to embiggen.

The main threat at this point are waves, and those will cause dangerous rip currents for those visiting the north and east facing beaches in the Caribbean, Bahamas, and in to next week the US.

Peering beyond the official NHC forecast is always a bit risky and murky, although almost everybody does it, especially with a monster storm “barreling” across the Atlantic. Just after the official forecast (five days, around 14 September), the major models (as well as the subjective forecaster consensus) has the storm making a sharp northward turn. The models are remarkably consistent, the only exceptions to this (and they are minor at this point) are the two new regional models (HFSA and HFSB, the replacements for the HWRF and HMON models, which are still run).

In any event, the reasons for this turn were discussed yesterday (link), and there isn’t any reason to question that scenario as of now. There’s nothing really to do for at least three days as the storm moves west. If the high pressure ridge isn’t degrading by Monday and the storm starting to show signs of slowing down, then we might have to revisit this scenario, but again for now no reason to be concerned in the southeastern US. It will also be next week before anything serious can be said about Bermuda, the Northeastern US, much less the Maritime Provinces of Canada. So enjoy the weekend, check back Monday morning to see if anything has changed.

Tropical Depression 14 became Tropical Storm Margot yesterday, will likely become a hurricane, but is on track in the eastern Atlantic to be of concern only to fish and fish related interests. To fill out the post, here is a pretty shot from GOES East at 7am this morning …

definitely embiggen this one – worth zooming in for the details!


  1. Super job as usual, Chuck. Have been enjoying the hype the usual media suspects have been putting forth to whip up viewership!! Had one friend email me last night would I be OK when the hurricane hit New England!! Assured her my little island in the St Lawrence River ( I look out the window at Ontario, Canada Islands ) would be just fine.

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