|Enhanced infrared satellite image of Joaquin and the U.S. east coast on Saturday morning.|
Why the forecast cone of uncertainty is inadequate for Hurricane Joaquin").
coastal flooding due to onshore winds, but that is being caused by a mid-latitude storm system, not Joaquin.
The U.S. "dodged a bullet" with this storm. If a major hurricane had stalled over south Florida for 3 days, it's hard to even imagine the outcome. Or if it followed Sandy's path from three years ago, etc, etc. The prospect of a U.S. landfall was never presented as a certainty by anyone (I hope). There were times when the majority of model guidance as well as NHC indicated that the center could turn back west and hit the coast, but that should not be interpreted to mean that it was a sure thing. Times like this are when scientists and forecasters hope to educate the public more about probability and uncertainty, and that a single forecast is not always enough. Nature is just sometimes inherently less predictable than other times, the hard part is communicating that to everyone.
With Joaquin, this season has now had 10 named storms, 3 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes (Cat3+). The average for this date, using a 1981-2010 climatology, is 9 named storms, 4 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes. However, in terms of Accumulated Cyclone Energy, or ACE, this season is running at just a little over 50% of average for this date because most of the storms that formed were so short-lived.
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