How ‘Weather Guessers’ Disaster Models Got Irma Wrong

As Hurricane Irma was flexing her muscles coming across the Carribean, they damage estimates were climbing and climbing. As she crossed the Florida Keys and turned North, things looked very grim for Naples and Tampa, Florida. The weather guessers were off by only 20 miles. That makes all the difference. The estimates for damages came down by $150 Billion. How did it happen and what makes it so hard to be in the weather prediction business? Read on.

As Written by Brian K. Sullivan for Bloomberg:

Twenty miles may have made a $150 billion difference.

Estimates for the damage Hurricane Irma would inflict on Florida kept mounting as it made its devastating sweep across the Caribbean. It was poised to be the costliest U.S. storm on record. Then something called the Bermuda High intervened and tripped it up.

“We got very lucky,” said Jeff Masters, co-founder of Weather Underground in Ann Arbor, Michigan. If Irma had passed 20 miles west of Marco Island instead of striking it on Sunday, “the damage would have been astronomical.” A track like that would have placed the powerful, eastern eye wall of Irma on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

By one estimate, the total cost dropped to about $50 billion Monday from $200 billion over the weekend. The state escaped the worst because Irma’s powerful eye shifted away from the biggest population center of sprawling Miami-Dade County.

The credit goes to the Bermuda High, which acts like a sort of traffic cop for the tropical North Atlantic Ocean. The circular system hovering over Bermuda jostled Irma onto northern Cuba Saturday, where being over land sapped it of some power, and then around the tip of the Florida peninsula, cutting down on storm surge damage on both coasts of the state.

“The Bermuda High is finite and it has an edge, which was right over Key West,” Masters said. Irma caught …….

THERE IS MORE HERE KEEP READING:

A $150 Billion Misfire: How Disaster Models Got Irma Wrong – Bloomberg

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