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Nate update: Models lurch back toward Mexico

September 8th, 2011 - 2:12 pm

[NOTE: For the very latest on Nate, check my Twitter feed.]

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No time for a lengthy post, but very briefly: I wrote this morning that “we may be seeing” a turning point whereby the computer models decisively change course and move Nate north toward the Gulf coast. Well…never mind! Most of the model tracks have now shifted back south again — a healthy reminder that the Hurricane Center’s tendency to wait for confirmation before adopting a new computer-model consensus is well grounded in long experience and common sense. That “ping-pong effect” I mentioned can and does really happen!

From the 5pm EDT advisory:

AFTER 36-48 HOURS…THERE REMAINS A VERY LARGE SPREAD IN THE GUIDANCE…HOWEVER THE MODELS HAVE GENERALLY SHIFTED WESTWARD. THE GFS IS ALONG THE EASTERN EDGE OF THE ENVELOPE AND SHOWS A SLOW NORTHWARD TO NORTH-NORTHWESTWARD MOTION OVER THE CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO. MOST OF THE REMAINDER OF THE TRACK MODELS MOVE NATE MORE WESTWARD TOWARD MEXICO. THE OFFICIAL FORECAST HAS BEEN SHIFTED TO THE LEFT…BUT NOT NEARLY AS FAR WEST AS THE MULTI-MODEL CONSENSUS…OUT OF RESPECT FOR THE GFS AND THE EARLIER ECMWF ENSEMBLE MEMBERS.

Bottom line, it’s once again more likely that Nate will hit Mexico than the United States. But the U.S. Gulf coast isn’t yet out of the woods. That pesky outlier, the GFS, is one of the most reliable models on earth, and for now, it’s still projecting a more northerly motion, toward Texas/Louisiana. Its 18z run is due out around 6:45 PM Eastern Time, so look for that; you can view it here. And all the 00z model runs will be important, for reasons noted earlier. (Links and schedule here.) Stay tuned, as they say. Hopefully, forecasters will have a better handle on Nate by tomorrow morning.

Oh, and by the way, Nate is strengthening. 70 mph. He’ll be a hurricane soon.

P.S. Dr. Jeff Masters has more.

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