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How do meteorologists forecast hurricanes?

EarthSky has an informative article which describes the process that meteorologists go through when they are forecasting hurricanes. They use a variety of models that use different schemes to handle various aspects of the weather and which give a variety of paths. On a display these are often referred to as “spaghetti models”. The expert meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center take in all of these models and additional weather observations to determine the most likely path of the storm, although they use a “cone of uncertainty” to recognize that no forecast is going to be perfect and that people near the path of the storm should take action to protect themselves. Television and print media meteorologists all use these NHC forecasts as the basis for their stories, although they often hype the worst possibilities of the storms. You can read the article here.

Jim Cantore, an on-camera meteorologist for The Weather Channel, reports on Hurricane Irene from Battery Park August 28, 2011 in New York City. (Jonathan Saruk/The Weather Channel via Getty Images)