Tuesday, 30 October 2012

U.S. forecast's late arrival stirs weather tempest

A European forecast that closely predicted Hurricane Sandy's onslaught days ahead of U.S. and other models is raising complaints in the meteorological community. The European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts on Oct. 23 warned that Hurricane Sandy would hit the East Coast on Monday, days ahead of other major hurricane models, which mostly saw the storm heading out into the Atlantic. Weather models take data from satellites, weather balloons and other observations and plug them into atmospheric physics equations that computers use to march ahead in time to make storm track forecasts. Although weather models converged remarkably well by the weekend to predict Hurricane Sandy's arrival with great accuracy, meteorologists complained of weaknesses in U.S. forecasting capability that were exposed by the better performance of the European model.

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