top border

Please note, not all links may be active. This site is a snapshot of an earlier time.

Why Did Charley Miss?

Josh Larson @ 8:34 PM

Water vapor image Washington adventure seekers and severe weather buffs may be a little bit disappointed that Charley skimmed off to our east, bringing little impact to the immediate DC metro area.

Why did Charley "miss" to our east? A very good question, indeed. If you take a look at water vapor image included here, you can see a very strong upper-level trough of low pressure over the eastern US - marked by the yellow "X". Models for several days seem to have somewhat underestimated the strength and southern extent of the trough complex.

Most models predicted Hurricane Charley would make landfall further north (and weaker) than it did. But the upper level winds had something slightly different in mind. Not only did Charley suddenly strengthen more than forecast before making landfall - though I can't come up with any satisfying answer for this occurrence - but it also made a last minute right turn, making landfall further south than I, and most forecasters, thought it would.

Turns out the trough sagged further southward than expected, providing Charley with a more westerly or southwesterly "tailwind" at the last moment than a southerly one. This deep trough and landfall further south than expected allowed Charley to get caught well to the east of the dynamics of the trough, pushing it further north and east than previously expected. This more easterly, coastal track left DC more or less off the hook.

The last minute antics that Charley had in store for forecasters, and the general public, proves that meteorology remains at once both an art and a science. Despite major improvements in tropical forecast models, there is still room for error and discussion in any model or human forecast.

Therefore, we here at strive to imbue our discussion of the weather with a balanced mix of art and science, providing accurate, comprehensive, and detailed forecasts for the most seasoned of weather buffs, while writing in a clear, thoughtful, and engaging manner.

If you're new to, we hope you like what you see.

Comments are closed for this archived entry | Link | email post Email this post