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What is the best hurricane forecast model?

Human predictions are hard to beat, but the EURO takes the lead sometimes

The EURO was the best forecast model during the active 2019 hurricane season.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The National Hurricane Center evaluated last year’s forecasts and found that human predictions typically fare better overall compared to any one particular forecast model.

Comparing all the forecast models, the EURO remains king, especially at the shorter time scales.

The European model is the one that consistently outperforms the GFS model run by NOAA according to The National Hurricane Center Forecast Verification report. The European Center (ECMWF) model outperformed the official NHC forecast for one and two-day forecasts.

Out of the 314 NHC track forecasts issued by the agency, errors were a little worse than average for the short lead times, but were better at longer forecast times. In fact, the NHC forecasters had their most accurate year on record forecasting track accuracy for day five.

Overall, however, track forecast skill was slightly lower compared to 2018, and much of the blame comes from the very unpredictable Hurricane Dorian.

The second best model behind the EURO was the UKMET model followed by the COAMPS-TC model. The performance of the Navy model (NAVGEM) and NOAA’s GFS, HWRF, and HMON models lagged behind.

A specialized hurricane model called HWRF has struggled predicting storms. It originally forecasted Tropical Storm Marco to hit southern Texas when it actually moved near Louisianan.

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