Predicting the landfall of Hurricane Dean was easier for forecasters than predicting how much strength it would have as it struck land, according to an analysis in today's Christian Science Monitor.
Dean killed 13 in the Caribbean before striking the Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 5 monster -- one of the strongest ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, and the first of this hurricane season. It proceeded to lose strength as it crossed the peninsula, and then regained it in the Gulf of Mexico before making its second landfall as a Category 2 storm in Mexico. It then petered out.
Forecasting big storms is like forecasting any weather pattern, but the variables are greater and there are more unknowns than when the local meteorologist looks at the chance of showers. Because storms can be so destructive, forecasters spend lots of time, money and brainpower trying to understand storms so they can better predict them.
Some of the same factors that complicate predictions about individual hurricanes complicate the larger debate about whether and how global warming influences storm frequency and intensity. For more on that subject, read The Storm Pundit, The Daily Green's blog about climate change and hurricanes. There's been progress, but as the Monitor story shows (see below) there's a long way to go.
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Experts Upgrade Atlantic Hurricane Forecast
The 10 Mega Hurricanes Of 2007: Interactive Map
Hurricane Preparedness Goes Green
Read The Storm Pundit
Hurricane Dean 1 Of 10 Most Intense Atlantic Hurricanes Ever Recorded
A Little Luck With Hurricane Dean?
Category 5? Hurricane Dean And Gilbert of 1988
Nothing But Land to Stop Hurricane Dean ... or Supertyphoon Sepat
Farewell Hurricane Flossie -- Hello Tropical Storm Dean
Hurricane Flossie: The Un-Forecastable
Hurricane Forecasts, Fulminations And Flossie
2007 Hurricane Season: Don't Get Too Comfortable
Your Photos of Hurricane Dean
Hurricane Dean: Through a Fisheye Lens
Hurricane Dean: Dominican Republic
Hurricane Dean: Palm Trees and Waves
Hurricane Dean: Watching the Waves
Hurricane Dean: Palm Trees in The Dominican Republic
Hurricane Dean: Folded Palm
Hurricane Dean: Hits Martinique
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