We are very familiar with the hurricane forecast cone, along the Gulf Coast. It’s the cone that shows where the center of a hurricane is likely to be, at a given time in the future. The cone is accurate for the center about 2/3 of the time. Did you know that five-day forecasts for hurricane locations from the National Hurricane Center are more accurate than three-day forecasts were in the 1980s? Yes, it’s true. That doesn’t mean the hurricanes are going to travel right down the middle of the cone. It just means that technology, sensing, models and our understanding of the atmosphere are all improving.
The intensity of hurricanes is a separate issue. That is still far more difficult to forecast than the position. Read more from the Official Blog of the National Hurricane Center, including the stats on how forecast tracks and forecast wind speeds have changed. For all the improvements in forecasting hurricanes, each storm can present unique challenges that models and humans may miss.
The Weather Education section of wkrg.com is a full resource for hurricane tracking and hurricane history on the Gulf Coast.