Author Topic: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?  (Read 3563 times)

slappy

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 351
Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #50 on: September 08, 2017, 12:09:50 PM »
Sorry, I can't just keep this in any longer. 
The models have NOT shifted this way or that way.
Models are just models - they estimate what will happen based on a variety of inputs, from readings taken in the upper atmosphere to the surface currents and temperatures.

So what's happening?  When most people (including the talking heads on TV) are focusing on that big thick line that the NHC plots, and ignoring the 'cone' surrounding it.  But that solid track line is plotted after looking at about two dozen outputs (models) from several different forecasting agencies. Each model has its own confidence interval.

It's a mistake to think that a hurricane will (or should) take the average path between these models. All models being accurate (they're not btw) the model predicting the most western course is just as likely as the one predicting the eastern-most course.

Here's how the NHC addresses the models:
Quote
After that time, Irma will reach the southwestern edge of
the subtropical high and begin to turn north-northwestward and
northward. This turn will occur, but the precise moment is still
uncertain, and that is why NHC emphasizes that nobody should focus
on the exact track of the center.
The new NHC forecast was adjusted
just a little bit westward and is on top the latest ECMWF model and
the HFIP corrected consensus. In fact, these two aids are also very
close to each other.

Why does this matter?  Because people keep staring at that solid line, and say "gee, now it looks like it's going to pass slightly to the east, I should be alright".  That's a dangerous assumption to make. If you're inside "the cone" at least some models are showing the hurricane going right over you. It's the wrong way to look at these predictions.

Here's the tracks postulated by 20 different models as of noon today.  Notice some still predict a path that stays over the Atlantic, others into the Gulf. 


In my case, my mom is in Panama City Beach. In everything I see, she is outside of even the cone area. However, just by a little bit. I'm nervous about the storm moving a bit more west than expected, but she doesn't seem concerned at all.

marielle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 645
  • Age: 24
  • Location: North Carolina
Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #51 on: September 08, 2017, 12:25:23 PM »
I like the disclaimer: "If anything in this graphic causes confusion, ignore the entire product."

Goes right along with your post.

nereo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6332
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #52 on: September 08, 2017, 01:11:59 PM »
I like the disclaimer: "If anything in this graphic causes confusion, ignore the entire product."

Goes right along with your post.
What about my post could use clarification?
"Do not confuse complexity with superiority"

marielle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 645
  • Age: 24
  • Location: North Carolina
Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #53 on: September 08, 2017, 01:15:08 PM »
I like the disclaimer: "If anything in this graphic causes confusion, ignore the entire product."

Goes right along with your post.
What about my post could use clarification?

Oops, didn't mean it like that. Just that people shouldn't misrepresent the data if they don't understand all of it, just like you were saying in your post.

MandalayVA

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1544
  • Location: Orlando FL
Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #54 on: September 08, 2017, 02:29:30 PM »
Hi from someone actually in Florida.

Irma is currently slated to go right up the middle of Florida, more towards the west coast.  86-year-old Aunt Mandalay's assisted living facility, located in Melbourne on the east coast of Florida, was evacuated to a local high school if families didn't take residents.  When Matthew hit last year they were evacuated to Orlando.  NO ONE is evacuating to Orlando now.  All the theme parks are closing on Saturday.  That includes Disney.  Governor Scott has cancelled tolls for easier evacuation.  I-75 and I-10 are reportedly parking lots right now.  Orange County is going door to door in mobile home parks getting people out.  When House Mandalay was inspected prior to our moving in, the inspector joked that our house would be the place to be if a hurricane hit.  We're about to find out if that's true.
Follow my road to semi-FIRE here:  The Road To Mandalay

Post-corporate life blog: Mandalay At Play  Latest entry: Riders On The Storm

callison15

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 2
  • Location: Chattanooga, TN
Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #55 on: September 08, 2017, 02:36:08 PM »
The westward shift is what I was worried about (to be fair, the European model was predicting the storm to turn right at the tip of Florida all along, but the US model was predicting a northward turn along the eastern coast. The US model is now right in line with what the European model has been predicting all along). Whatever your mom decides, I'm hoping for her safety. We're currently sheltering 3 families from Jupiter Beach who left on Wed. and Thurs. I'm afraid of what they may have to go back to.

At this point I only watch the European model.  If you google the past few hurricanes, the European model was more accurate than the American model.  It's a shame that so many people rely on the American model.  I know, another issue for another time, but still disheartening to know that this is an area we're lagging behind in.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 02:38:57 PM by callison15 »

nereo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6332
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #56 on: September 08, 2017, 03:31:27 PM »
The westward shift is what I was worried about (to be fair, the European model was predicting the storm to turn right at the tip of Florida all along, but the US model was predicting a northward turn along the eastern coast. The US model is now right in line with what the European model has been predicting all along). Whatever your mom decides, I'm hoping for her safety. We're currently sheltering 3 families from Jupiter Beach who left on Wed. and Thurs. I'm afraid of what they may have to go back to.

At this point I only watch the European model.  If you google the past few hurricanes, the European model was more accurate than the American model.  It's a shame that so many people rely on the American model.  I know, another issue for another time, but still disheartening to know that this is an area we're lagging behind in.

... yeah... here I'd chime in about the need for the US to refocus on actual climate science; everything from higher resolution data collection to more robust data analysis... as someone in this field is friggen embarrassing.

but yeah, another issue for another time.

ETA - forecast update at 5pm 8/8/2017 EST:
In summary, the NHC forecast brings Irma near south Florida as a category 4 hurricane.
Total rain accumulations of 8 to 15 inches, with isolated amounts of
20 inches are expected over the Florida Keys and much of the Florida
peninsula through Tuesday night.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 03:38:26 PM by nereo »
"Do not confuse complexity with superiority"

Raenia

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 312
Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #57 on: September 08, 2017, 03:34:02 PM »
So what's happening?  When most people (including the talking heads on TV) are focusing on that big thick line that the NHC plots, and ignoring the 'cone' surrounding it.  But that solid track line is plotted after looking at about two dozen outputs (models) from several different forecasting agencies. Each model has its own confidence interval.

It's a mistake to think that a hurricane will (or should) take the average path between these models. All models being accurate (they're not btw) the model predicting the most western course is just as likely as the one predicting the eastern-most course.

(snip)

Why does this matter?  Because people keep staring at that solid line, and say "gee, now it looks like it's going to pass slightly to the east, I should be alright".  That's a dangerous assumption to make. If you're inside "the cone" at least some models are showing the hurricane going right over you. It's the wrong way to look at these predictions.

(snip)

Unfortunately when that is the way that the news and radio are describing it, it becomes very difficult to explain to people why they are still in danger.  Back on Wednesday when I was trying to get them to leave, they were convinced "but the weatherman said the storm is going east!" etc.    Now that some of the models are updated (primarily American model) to show a track more in line with the European model, they realize the danger, but it is too late to get out safely.  But they still don't understand that a direct hit on Fort Meyers is very possible.  They look at the "most probable" path and believe that is the actual path, nevermind how often anyone says otherwise, or how often the "path" is updated with new data that says something different.  Until the news starts presenting it accurately, there's not much we can do.

In particular, I am very disappointed in all of the diagrams which show the cone of uncertainty for the eye, but show no conception of how large the storm is.  It makes viewers believe that the cone is the impact radius, not the actual possible path of the eye.  Even if the eye does go up the east coast (which is no longer considered most likely), the storm winds will still reach all the way to the west coast, because this storm is friggin huge.  Of course that also means that at this point, there is nowhere safer than home that they could actually reach, so now they may as well stay.  It's all very frustrating.

Sockigal

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 30
Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #58 on: September 09, 2017, 11:29:06 AM »
Sorry, I can't just keep this in any longer. 
The models have NOT shifted this way or that way.
Models are just models - they estimate what will happen based on a variety of inputs, from readings taken in the upper atmosphere to the surface currents and temperatures.

So what's happening?  When most people (including the talking heads on TV) are focusing on that big thick line that the NHC plots, and ignoring the 'cone' surrounding it.  But that solid track line is plotted after looking at about two dozen outputs (models) from several different forecasting agencies. Each model has its own confidence interval.

It's a mistake to think that a hurricane will (or should) take the average path between these models. All models being accurate (they're not btw) the model predicting the most western course is just as likely as the one predicting the eastern-most course.

Here's how the NHC addresses the models:
Quote
After that time, Irma will reach the southwestern edge of
the subtropical high and begin to turn north-northwestward and
northward. This turn will occur, but the precise moment is still
uncertain, and that is why NHC emphasizes that nobody should focus
on the exact track of the center.
The new NHC forecast was adjusted
just a little bit westward and is on top the latest ECMWF model and
the HFIP corrected consensus. In fact, these two aids are also very
close to each other.

Why does this matter?  Because people keep staring at that solid line, and say "gee, now it looks like it's going to pass slightly to the east, I should be alright".  That's a dangerous assumption to make. If you're inside "the cone" at least some models are showing the hurricane going right over you. It's the wrong way to look at these predictions.

Here's the tracks postulated by 20 different models as of noon today.  Notice some still predict a path that stays over the Atlantic, others into the Gulf. 


In my case, my mom is in Panama City Beach. In everything I see, she is outside of even the cone area. However, just by a little bit. I'm nervous about the storm moving a bit more west than expected, but she doesn't seem concerned at all.
I'm in Atlanta, so have been following the storm closely. Yesterday all the bread at Costco was completely sold out as well as the water. There were SO many people shopping, every single cart was in use & you had to wait for another customer to finish shopping before you could get a cart. Crazy! Anyway, my point is that even if you are slightly out of the cone in Florida & other areas, you are still going to be affected by this storm. I have been planning for the very real possibility of power outages to last for a couple of days in our area. I'm thinking Panama City Beach is in real danger from storm surge, extreme wind and power outages for long periods of time. The storm had shifted last night, and keeps shifting every single day closer to the west coast. That water in the gulf is hot, bath tub hot (90 degrees) this time of the year. If it shifts a little bit more to the West, the Florida Pan Handle is going to be hit hard. I would have left a couple of days ago if I lived in the Gulf, but I'm pretty sensitive to Natural Disasters since I have been in a couple (wildfire which burned down my business storage units & 7.1 earthquake & 6.9 earthquake). I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Raenia

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 312
Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #59 on: September 09, 2017, 03:43:00 PM »
Mom's area now has a mandatory evacuation order, so they are leaving.  Some family friends helped find a hotel in Savannah, so they're on their way.  So far, they say traffic is not bad, so they should be able to make it well before the winds hit.  Crossing my fingers for them, for anyone else trying to evacuate at the last minute, and especially for anyone planning to stay.

nereo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6332
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #60 on: September 09, 2017, 04:14:07 PM »
Mom's area now has a mandatory evacuation order, so they are leaving.  Some family friends helped find a hotel in Savannah, so they're on their way.  So far, they say traffic is not bad, so they should be able to make it well before the winds hit.  Crossing my fingers for them, for anyone else trying to evacuate at the last minute, and especially for anyone planning to stay.

Thank goodness. Hopefully that will help you sleep tonight.  May the storm spare their home.
~n~
"Do not confuse complexity with superiority"

dandarc

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2785
Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #61 on: September 09, 2017, 04:14:15 PM »
Glad they left - savannah should be relatively OK.

We're now in a voluntary evacuation.  We had been planning on staying, but after what happened here last year and with this looking to be both stronger and sustained for longer, we're thinking of going for a couple of days ourselves.
Link to my journal, so I can find it quickly - http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/dandarc's-journal/

former player

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2417
  • Location: Avalon
Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #62 on: September 09, 2017, 04:16:41 PM »
Raenia, thank you for letting us know.  Your mom left it pretty late, but here's hoping she gets a trouble-free ride out ahead of the storm.
Be frugal and industrious, and you will be free (Ben Franklin)

Raenia

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 312
Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #63 on: September 09, 2017, 08:33:11 PM »
Stay safe, dandarc!  Slappy, did your mom stay in Panama City Beach or decide to go north?  Best of luck to anyone else in FL as well.

They are nearly to Savannah, some traffic but not nearly as bad as I feared.  They plan to get a good night's sleep and head on up to NC tomorrow to stay with friends for a few days, until given the all-clear to return and assess the damage.  Looks like their area will be hit hard, so my sister and I are very relieved they got out in time.

NinetyFour

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4685
  • Location: Southwestern US
  • 210 days until Freedom!
Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #64 on: September 10, 2017, 05:15:21 AM »
Stay safe, dandarc!  Slappy, did your mom stay in Panama City Beach or decide to go north?  Best of luck to anyone else in FL as well.

They are nearly to Savannah, some traffic but not nearly as bad as I feared.  They plan to get a good night's sleep and head on up to NC tomorrow to stay with friends for a few days, until given the all-clear to return and assess the damage.  Looks like their area will be hit hard, so my sister and I are very relieved they got out in time.

Whew!  Glad your mom got out!!  Hope the damage isn't too bad...
My Journal

Countdown to Freedom:  210 days; 25 weeks of classes; 73 days of classes

slappy

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 351
Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #65 on: September 10, 2017, 07:01:22 AM »
Stay safe, dandarc!  Slappy, did your mom stay in Panama City Beach or decide to go north?  Best of luck to anyone else in FL as well.

They are nearly to Savannah, some traffic but not nearly as bad as I feared.  They plan to get a good night's sleep and head on up to NC tomorrow to stay with friends for a few days, until given the all-clear to return and assess the damage.  Looks like their area will be hit hard, so my sister and I are very relieved they got out in time.
She keeps saying PCB is only going to get a tropical storm and she is not worried. I might just tell her to leave but I'm having trouble sleeping out of worry.

nereo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6332
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #66 on: September 10, 2017, 07:23:25 AM »
Stay safe, dandarc!  Slappy, did your mom stay in Panama City Beach or decide to go north?  Best of luck to anyone else in FL as well.

They are nearly to Savannah, some traffic but not nearly as bad as I feared.  They plan to get a good night's sleep and head on up to NC tomorrow to stay with friends for a few days, until given the all-clear to return and assess the damage.  Looks like their area will be hit hard, so my sister and I are very relieved they got out in time.
She keeps saying PCB is only going to get a tropical storm and she is not worried. I might just tell her to leave but I'm having trouble sleeping out of worry.

UGH!!!  Here I think we've screwed ourselves over by using the term "storm" so willy-nilly.  In daily parlance, people say anything that involves rain (and maybe a little wind) as a storm.  But it has a much more specific meaning to weathermen and mariners.  "Storm force" (or simply a 'storm') involves wind speeds in excess of 55mph (48 knots) on the beaufort scale, and 39-73mph on the saffir-simpson scale. That's strong enough to uproot trees, cause structural damage and turn objects like street signs a garbage cans into projectiles.

A tropical storm is NOT something to be shrugged off. It may not require evacuation, but it can certainly create life-threatening situations and destroy property if you don't take precautions.
"Do not confuse complexity with superiority"

ender

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3833
Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #67 on: September 10, 2017, 06:04:14 PM »
I think it's worth pointing out that you should evacuate only if it makes sense.

  • If you are in the "mandatory" zone, gtfo and stop wondering if you should.
  • If you are in the "voluntary" zone, make an educated decision about what to do. If your dwelling isn't hurricane proof (shoddy construction, mobile home, whatever) then take that as a "probably should leave" decision
  • If you're not in an evacuation zone and are in a place which is hurricane proof, don't evacuate and clog roads for people who actually do need to leave

If you have no idea what zone you are in or what you should be doing but live in FL somewhere, get out from under your rock and figure it out, because you live in Florida, where this sort of thing is not an unexpected thing. Most counties have signs making it clear what zone you are in and county websites should make it clear.

I see way too often the advice "just leave!" being thrown around without regard for the huge effort counties and state agencies put into building comprehensive disaster plans around this type of thing.

But then again, there are plenty of idiots who choose to stay in mandatory evacuation zones so.... I think logic is kind of out the window when it comes to stuff like this...

Milizard

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 349
  • Location: West Michigan
Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #68 on: September 10, 2017, 08:08:53 PM »
Admittedly, having never experienced anything like it, it occurs to me that if you're willing to go through the time and expense to evacuate, not to mention, pita of it all, then perhaps it makes sense that you should.

dandarc

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2785
Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #69 on: September 13, 2017, 12:27:15 PM »
Stay safe, dandarc!  Slappy, did your mom stay in Panama City Beach or decide to go north?  Best of luck to anyone else in FL as well.

They are nearly to Savannah, some traffic but not nearly as bad as I feared.  They plan to get a good night's sleep and head on up to NC tomorrow to stay with friends for a few days, until given the all-clear to return and assess the damage.  Looks like their area will be hit hard, so my sister and I are very relieved they got out in time.

We left, event turned out to be much less destructive than was predicted even the morning we left.  We don't regret leaving, although I'm really tired from the travel.  Cats handled it better than me, I think.

Your parents make it to NC OK?  They should probably stay there a good while - Fort Myers was hit pretty hard.  Even if they're returning to a not-so-bad situation, there's the problem of obtaining enough gas to actually make the drive.

95 was a shit-show on the return for us - we wound up taking a back-route through SC after it was still ridiculous after getting past I-26 - next time we'll abort the usually faster I-95 route even sooner.  Then briefly on 95 in GA - it was still a shit-show, so we then cut diagonally across a lot of south Georgia starting from Savannah on US-84.  Usually the expansion to 3 lanes once you're in GA helps a lot, but not yesterday.  On US 84, you get to stop every 10-30 miles due to all the small towns and cities, but that's a lot less frustrating than doing the same or more often on the interstate.  We stopped in Savannah for a bit - the gas station we parked at for a while was out of gas.  We didn't need gas, but would have been a very alarming situation if we did.

And for fun, they're talking about closing I-75 from roughly I-10 to Gainesville due to rising flood waters today, so your parents may need some kind of alternate route to get back anyway.  So if they're in NC, I'd suggest staying there as long as their friends will let them.
Link to my journal, so I can find it quickly - http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/dandarc's-journal/

Raenia

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 312
Re: Hurricane Irma - How worried should I be?
« Reply #70 on: September 13, 2017, 01:05:34 PM »
We left, event turned out to be much less destructive than was predicted even the morning we left.  We don't regret leaving, although I'm really tired from the travel.  Cats handled it better than me, I think.

Your parents make it to NC OK?  They should probably stay there a good while - Fort Myers was hit pretty hard.  Even if they're returning to a not-so-bad situation, there's the problem of obtaining enough gas to actually make the drive.

95 was a shit-show on the return for us - we wound up taking a back-route through SC after it was still ridiculous after getting past I-26 - next time we'll abort the usually faster I-95 route even sooner.  Then briefly on 95 in GA - it was still a shit-show, so we then cut diagonally across a lot of south Georgia starting from Savannah on US-84.  Usually the expansion to 3 lanes once you're in GA helps a lot, but not yesterday.  On US 84, you get to stop every 10-30 miles due to all the small towns and cities, but that's a lot less frustrating than doing the same or more often on the interstate.  We stopped in Savannah for a bit - the gas station we parked at for a while was out of gas.  We didn't need gas, but would have been a very alarming situation if we did.

And for fun, they're talking about closing I-75 from roughly I-10 to Gainesville due to rising flood waters today, so your parents may need some kind of alternate route to get back anyway.  So if they're in NC, I'd suggest staying there as long as their friends will let them.

Glad to hear you were able to make it out and back, and that there wasn't too much damage in your area.

Mom and her BF stayed in Raleigh Mon-Tues, then today she is flying up to visit my sister and me - that's the funniest thing about this situation, for us, that it happened right before she was already planning a trip up here.  She switched her flight to a different airport (of course her original flight from Ft Meyers was cancelled, so they made the switch easy) and will be arriving this evening.  I think her BF is planning to drive back down today - they got a heads-up from someone who drove through the neighborhood and said there's not too much damage, though the power is still out.  I don't envy him finding gas and dealing with road closures, but he could have waited a few more days and decided not to.