NHC director Bill Proenza under fire

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:04 PM GMT on June 18, 2007

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New National Hurricane Center director Bill Proenza is in hot water for his outspoken criticism of his bosses, according to Miami Herald stories published in the past few days. The acting head of the National Weather Service, Mary Glackin, visited his office in Miami Friday and handed him a three-page letter of reprimand. Proenza shared the contents of the letter with his staff and the media, a pretty gutsy move for a guy just appointed to the job. However, Proenza's boss, Ms. Glackin, is on the job for just a few more months--on September 2, Jack Hayes takes over as boss of the National Weather Service. Proenza can probably get away with his criticism of his bosses while there a major shake up at the top. See the View From the Surface blog this week for further speculations, and for any follow-up articles that might be published on this topic.


Figure 1. The NASA QuikSCAT satellite. Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

Replacement for the aging QuikSCAT satellite?
Proenza has been particularly outspoken in his desire to see a replacement for the aging QuikSCAT satellite, which measures surface winds over remote ocean areas, and has been credited with improving 72-hour hurricane track forecasts by 16%. His comments may be having an effect. On May 24, the improved Hurricane Tracking and Forecasting Act of 2007 (Senate Bill S. 1509) was introduced before the Senate. The bill, introduced by Sen. Landrieu, D-LA, and co-sponsored by John Kerry and Florida's two senators, asks for $375 million to build a replacement for the QuikSCAT satellite. Bravo to Mr. Proenza for speaking out on this important issue! Some excepts from the bill:

(5) The QuikSCAT satellite was built in just 12 months and was launched with a 3-year design life, but continues to perform per specifications, with its backup transmitter, as it enters into its 8th year--5 years past its projected lifespan.

(6) The QuikSCAT satellite provides daily coverage of 90 percent of the world's oceans, and its data has been a vital contribution to National Weather Service forecasts and warnings over water since 2000.

(7) Despite its continuing performance, the QuikSCAT satellite is well beyond its expected design life and a replacement is urgently needed because, according to the National Hurricane Center, without the QuikSCAT satellite--

(A) hurricane forecasting would be 16 percent less accurate 72 hours before hurricane landfall and 10 percent less accurate 48 hours before hurricane landfall resulting in--

(i) with a 16 percent loss of accuracy at 72 hours before landfall, the area expected to be under hurricane danger would rise from 197 miles to 228 miles on average; and

(ii) with a 10 percent loss of accuracy at 48 hours before landfall, the area expected to be under hurricane danger would rise from 136 miles to 150 miles on average; and

(B) greater inaccuracy of this type would lead to more `false alarm' evacuations along the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast and decrease the possibility of impacted populations sufficiently heeding mandatory evacuations.


The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and awaits consideration there. The Chair of that committee is Senator Inouye from hurricane-prone Hawaii, so the bill has a decent chance of making it out of committee to the Senate floor. If your senator is on the committee, please write them to let them know what you think about the bill:

Democrats:
Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (HI)
John D. Rockefeller, IV (WV)
John F. Kerry (MA)
Byron L. Dorgan (ND)
Barbara Boxer (CA)
Bill Nelson (FL)
Maria Cantwell (WA)
Frank R. Lautenberg (NJ)
Mark Pryor (AR)
Thomas Carper (DE)
Claire McCaskill (MO)
Amy Klobuchar (MN)

Republicans:
Vice Chairman Ted Stevens (AK)
John McCain (AZ)
Trent Lott (MS)
Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX)
Olympia J. Snowe (ME)
Gordon H. Smith (OR)
John Ensign (NV)
John E. Sununu (NH)
Jim DeMint (SC)
David Vitter (LA)
John Thune (SD)

There is no activity in the tropical Atlantic worth mentioning, and none of the computer models are forecasting any development over the coming week. I'll have a new blog on Wednesday.

Jeff Masters

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792. LoneStarWeather
3:56 PM GMT on June 20, 2007
JPHurricane2006, I know you don't like comments like this but it will be another dud of a season. I called it last year about this time and I'm saying it again. Way below average season on tap for us this year. But that's just my opinion/gut feel.
Member Since: September 8, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 424
791. catastropheadjuster
3:51 PM GMT on June 20, 2007
Well I guess no one is on today. I guess i will try to figure this out some how.
Member Since: August 24, 2006 Posts: 21 Comments: 3648
790. catastropheadjuster
3:39 PM GMT on June 20, 2007
Hello all I've been gone for a couple of days what kind of report came out? I mean from what i am reading people are saying it's gonna be like 2006. I am just wondering not trying to start anything. Thanks in advance if someone answers me.
Member Since: August 24, 2006 Posts: 21 Comments: 3648
786. JupiterFarmer
2:14 PM GMT on June 20, 2007
Thanks StormW!
784. JupiterFarmer
1:55 PM GMT on June 20, 2007
So, in this link from above... Link

what does the legend at the bottom represent? Wind, rain, pressure?
782. JupiterFarmer
1:45 PM GMT on June 20, 2007
Morning All...I have a stupid question. What is the AVN? Is that a model? What does the legend at the bottom represent?

Just curious after seeing an earlier post. I tried to search google for info, but couldn't come up with anything other than the loops. Thanks...
781. emagirl
1:33 PM GMT on June 20, 2007
it is only june i dont know how yall can tell it is going to be quiet usually the season doesnt get active until august anyway
780. help4u
1:30 PM GMT on June 20, 2007
Looks like we are stuck in a 2 or 3 year pattern of quiet hurricane seasons after a couple busy years .2004 and 2005.Petty much the pattern if you look at past patterns.
Member Since: September 18, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1256
779. hurricane23
1:17 PM GMT on June 20, 2007
Good morning...

I continue to like what iam seeing with all these trofs of low pressure continueing and if which is a big if that trof stays in place of the eastcaost which should be ok with systems coming from the east this year.If it does i expect something similar to 2006 with a few more named systems which would take us to an above average hurricane season in 2007.

The atmosphere is constantly changing but as stated by dr.masters i few days ago sometimes when these patterns get establised they can stay put for months.Adrian
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13597
777. TheCaneWhisperer
12:55 PM GMT on June 20, 2007
All I have to say is WOW! Pretty active this early morning I see.
776. Jedkins
12:21 PM GMT on June 20, 2007
Man I can't believe forecasting past few weeks, they flip flop just like the models, they also seem to love when the models forecast drier air, they significantly lowered rain chances for next week just because ONE model run from the GFS does.

The models have ben doing this for a while now, they have changed their mind on whether Florida will be wet or dry, past sevveral runs have all been much wetter, yet forecasers drop their rain chances from just a single model run.

Remember the good ole days, just last year when they didn't buy every single model run and actually made sold forecasts that didn't change dramatically every 2 or 3 days.


They seem to have lost their touch around here lately.


I think they need me to save them from selves, somone who thinks models aren't Gods and trusts climotology and human instinct and just plain old experience more then a couple of computer model runs.

Models are tools, and if they are used anywhere beyond that they will decrease your forecasting accuracy.


Sorry folks, just venting that out if you don't mind! LOL

It just bugs me to see that, I can't get why they have been so flip floppy and quick to by every model run lately, they never used to so much.


At least a couple of the local guys still have their rain chances high and are using their brains and ignoring a coupel of model runs.
775. Chicklit
11:28 AM GMT on June 20, 2007
Never mind...found something. Just panicked a little when I saw that nasty band headed straight for them!!! Yuck. They have had so much rain.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11047
774. Chicklit
10:56 AM GMT on June 20, 2007
Can anyone find me a good satellite photo of Kileen? And when to expect that dastardly band of weather... My daughter in law and granddaughter are there (sleeping still I'm sure...my son is away!) and I want to warn her of what's coming.
Thanks.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11047
773. Cirrusboy
10:34 AM GMT on June 20, 2007
Here's a link for the cmc model forecast sea level pressure in 72 hours. The GFS and nogaps also pick up on this area of low pressure. Link
771. franck
10:09 AM GMT on June 20, 2007
Good test for the 'heat island' theory. Highrises are blessed.
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
770. StormJunkie
9:34 AM GMT on June 20, 2007
Morning y'all. Looks like some real rough weather in Tx.

Hey FLB, what such negativity?
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 15472
769. KoritheMan
9:29 AM GMT on June 20, 2007
I care. :)

Pretty nasty looking bow echo, if I do say so myself. Easily gonna get 60+ mph winds with that. Hurricane-force winds are not impossible, either. An isolated tornado may spin up at the leading edge of the bow too, but damaging winds, as always, is the main threat with this.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 521 Comments: 19119

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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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