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Weather and Forecasting


A tropical cyclone (TC) wind speed probability forecast product developed at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) and adopted by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) is evaluated for U.S. land-threatening and landfalling events over four hurricane seasons from 2004 to 2007. A key element of this work is the discernment of risk associated with the interval forecast probabilities for the three wind speed categories (i.e., 34, 50, and 64 kt, where 1 kt = 0.52 m s−1). A quantitative assessment of the interval probabilities (0–12, 12–24, 24–36, 36–48, 48–72, 72–96, and 96–120 h) is conducted by converting them into binary (yes–no) forecasts using decision thresholds that are selected using the true skill statistic (TSS) and the Heidke skill score (HSS). The NHC product performs well as both the HSS and TSS demonstrate skill out to the 48–72- and 72–120-h intervals, respectively. Overall, reliability diagrams and bias scores indicate that the NHC product has a tendency to overforecast event likelihood for cases where the forecast probabilities exceed 60%. Specifically, the NHC product tends to overforecast for the 34-kt category but underforecasts for the 64-kt category, especially at later forecast intervals. Results for the 50-kt category are mixed but also exhibit a tendency to underforecast during the latter intervals. Decision thresholds range from 1% to 55% depending on the selection method, wind speed category, and time interval. Given that the average forecast probabilities decrease with forecast hour, small forecast probabilities may be meaningful. The HSS is recommended over the TSS for decision threshold selection because the use of the TSS introduces significant bias and the HSS is less sensitive to filtering of correct negatives.

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