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Is the Southeast Disturbance (99L) just a Bunch of Hype?

Brian Neudorff @ 2:09 pm September 6th, 2007 · 2 Comments

Alan Sullivan thinks so:

Drudge is still linking yesterday’s report about a possible hurricane in the NE US. This was nonsense then, and it is double nonsense now. There is no serious weather offshore, just a weak swirl that will hook back toward the Carolinas, then drift away again. This trivial ocean storm has no tropical characteristics. One has to ask: do TV weather people work to inform the public, or to titillate it?

This may lead you (my readers) to ask, “If this is ‘nonsense’ then why have you spent several days posting on 99L?” First I want to say I really like Alan Sullivan’s blog, and he even paid me and my site a very nice compliment, but as a meteorologist on TV I don’t try to “titillate” my viewers nor the readers of my blog. My goal is to inform and educate my viewers the best I can on the current forecast and weather situation.

I chose to post on 99L because it looked interesting and there were some theories and thoughts that this disturbance (99L) could become something more serious and tropical. The seeds that 99L could become something tropical and a potential threat to the eastern U.S. became planted late last week after reading Joe Bastardi’s AccuWeather.com blog. (It is a paid subscription site which I try to read daily) I respect Joe Bastardi’s knowledge and skills as a meteorologist and he made some very interesting points on why he thought this system could become a possible tropical system.

Then earlier this week the computer models started to show this system developing into either a weak tropical storm all the way up to a category 2 hurricane. AccuWeather is still beating the drum on this disturbance and I’ve seen the Weather Channel spend some time on it. (Note as of Thursday Midday there was no mention of 99L on their main page) I have to ask this question, if this disturbance was really “nonsense” and never any kind of threat why did the National Hurricane Center send the Hurricane Hunters to investigate it Wednesday?

I have always admitted as a meteorologist and growing up in the middle of the corn & soybean fields of Indiana and then working in both North Dakota and now Erie I am not a tropical forecaster. I just like following and watching storms form and learning what I can from those more knowledgeable than myself.

I am starting to agree a little with Alan, this disturbance (99L) is beginning to look less and less like anything serious. Since nothing has happened by this point I am starting to think that this may be nothing more than just hype. Even the NHC (National Hurricane Center) in their Thursday afternoon tropical discussion didn’t seem real impressed that this will become much. They just leave the door open to the possibility.

IR IMAGES AND LIGHTNING DATA SUGGEST THAT SCATTERED SHOWERS AND TSTMS ARE WITHIN 210 NM E OF THE LOW AND WITHIN 90 NM E OF THE TRAILING TROUGH AXIS. WATER VAPOR IMAGERY DEPICTS ABUNDANT DRY AIR TO THE W OF THE LOW/TROUGH. THE INTERACTION WITH THIS UPPER LOW HAS GENERALLY MADE THIS SYSTEM LESS ORGANIZED TODAY. HOWEVER…THE UPPER PATTERN COULD BECOME MORE FAVORABLE OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS…AND THERE IS STILL SOME POTENTIAL FOR THIS SYSTEM TO BECOME A TROPICAL CYCLONE.

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Tags: Accuweather · Discussion · Forecasting · Gabrielle · Joe Bastardi · Tropical Weather · Tropics 2007 · TV Weather · Weather Blogs · Weather Channel · WX-MAN.com

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Alan Sullivan // Sep 6, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    Brian, I posted a photo of this disturbance when it first started in the old frontal zone and moved off the coast of Georgia days ago. I thought then that it had some potential, but as days have gone by the upper low has remained the dominant circulation, suppressing tropical conversion. Now it is almost too late. It’s hard to imagine more than a subtropical low emerging from the old front.

    It doesn’t seem to me a good thing — especially given public anxiety over climate — to publicize outlier models with “hurricane nearing New York” scenarios when the actual weather system is so weak and unpromising. I intended no criticism of you. I did think the CBS report linked by Drudge was OTT.

  • 2 Brian Neudorff // Sep 6, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    I know you didn’t mean me, I just couldn’t resist commenting on what you said. I remember when Dean first made it to Tropical Storm status and how FOX and CNN were treating it like how local Meteorologist treat tornado warnings.

    I will be honest, I treat my blog differently than I do television. Here I just point out things I find interesting and when I was showing the HWRF on Monday going to New England. I just wanted to point it out cause it was interesting and probably something people don’t see or realize the challenges of forecasting when you have all these models saying completely different things.

    Thanks for the comment. I appreciate it.

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