BIG BLOW: Why forecasters were off on Hermine’s path


As late as Sunday morning, meteorologists were warning that Tropical Storm Hermine could wreak havoc along the New Jersey Shore. Yet the promised storm stayed far offshore, kicking up little more on land than some wind and minor flooding — andcomplaints from frustrated beachgoers and merchants.

What happened?

The short answer: while the science of storm tracking has improved steadily in recent years, it remains subject to a fair amount of uncertainty.

On average, the errors in forecasting a storm’s location increase by 40 to 50 nautical miles for every day in advance of the point in time that is being predicted, said James L. Franklin, a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Looking two days out, forecasts can be off by up to 80 to 90 nautical miles in either direction, on average. Three days, 120 miles or more. – READ MORE

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