Disaster Zone

Investing in Science Helps with Disaster Readiness

With Hurricane Florence brewing in the Atlantic Ocean, the shortfall in American science is clear.

by Eric Holdeman / September 7, 2018

There are multiple hurricane models. The two most prominent are the American model and the European model. Hurricane Sandy that hit New York City on the nose at high tide is the classic example for how far behind our computing power is when compared to the European model.

Today there is another storm brewing in the Atlantic. The two models described above have widely different scenarios at this point. The American model has it going south and hitting the Virginia or North or South Carolina. The European model has it trending north toward New York. See this Boston Globe article, US vs. European hurricane model: Which is better? from five years ago that explains the challenges we have had with not keeping up with the times.

Today I heard Cliff Maas, who is mentioned in the linked article above, share how the United States has been working to catch up, and a new American hurricane prediction model is supposed to be released and become operational in January 2019. 

For now we have the two existing models. With Hurricane Florence brewing in the Atlantic now and headed west, it will be interesting to see if the European model trumps the American model with a better-predicted path for the storm.