Phillip’s Weather Trivia: How accurate is the National Hurricane Center?

In forecasting a tropical system, how far off is the 5 day forecast position
Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 2:25 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - The National Hurricane Center does a great job forecasting tropical systems and their accuracy has been improving over the years, however the further out the forecast time, the greater the average error. They issue forecast positions through the next 5 days. How far off do you think the average is at 5 days out? That is my weather trivia question to you.

Phillip's Weather Trivia Question Aug 9
Phillip's Weather Trivia Question Aug 9(WITN)

How well do you think they do? Some factors to consider: The forecast position will be affected not only by the direction the storm takes, but also the speed. Some may take the exact forecast track, but do so faster or slower which will result in some error. Some systems will turn quicker or slower than forecast. One positive is that the National Hurricane Center forecast positions have improved in accuracy over the years. So, what is your guess? Is the average forecast point error at 5 days 50 miles, 100 miles, 150 miles, or 200 miles? The answer is below.

Phillip's Weather Trivia Answer Aug 9
Phillip's Weather Trivia Answer Aug 9(WITN)

While the 200 mile average error sounds like a lot, it is much better than the 400 mile error average many years ago. Understanding this average error should help you realize not to focus too closely on the forecast position days away, but to see if it is forecast within a few hundred miles of you, then prepare for it. -Phillip Williams

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