Hurricane Joaquin: False Alarm for the U.S. East Coast?

October 1st, 2015 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

The GFS model runs from last night and this morning have shifted the track of Hurricane Joaquin significantly eastward, reducing the possibility of a direct hit on the U.S.

The National Hurricane Center has conservatively adjusted it’s official forecast track a little to the east, but their storm discussion drops an important hint:

“It is also possible that Joaquin will remain far from the U.S. east coast.”

Here’s the latest official forecast track:


Yet, the very latest GFS model run just in has shifted the storm even farther east, so I suspect we will see the official forecast follow suit this afternoon. Here’s the latest GFS forecast position for 2 p.m. Monday afternoon (graphic courtesy of

GFS model forecast sea level pressure and near-surface winds for 2 p.m. Monday, October 5, 2015.

GFS model forecast sea level pressure and near-surface winds for 2 p.m. Monday, October 5, 2015.

If that forecast is anywhere close to correct, even Nova Scotia will be spared.

Nevertheless, heavy rains are forecast to continue for the mid-Atlantic states, with excessively large amounts possible in portions of the Carolinas. The latest model run indicates as much as 12-18 inches in South Carolina (!)

None of this is a done deal, however. The longer Joaquin lingers in the Bahamas, the farther east it will likely track as the approaching trough from the west picks it up. But if it decides to head north a little early, it could still hit as far south as the Carolinas. So, the forecast remains unusually risky at this point, and the NHC (and the NWS in general) must always err on the side of caution.

What I find a little ironic is that if this storm were to hit the East Coast, we would have to suffer through endless claims of “climate change!”. Yet if it stays at sea, no one complains.

It’s the same storm, folks, no matter what track it takes.

23 Responses to “Hurricane Joaquin: False Alarm for the U.S. East Coast?”

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  1. MarkB says:

    Its the same storm, folks, no matter what track it takes.

    I’m confused.

    • I’m sorry you are confused.

    • Bryan says:

      Maybe I can help.

      The post you reference is about the amount of tropical activity over a period of time. It turns out that it is less than is expected by global warming activists.

      The current quote you reference is about a particular storm, and is NOT about the overall level of tropical activity over a period of time.

  2. Gary H says:

    The ten-year stretch since a major (cat 3+) hurricane made landfall on the US would seem to remain untouched by this one.

  3. wayne says:

    And you can’t help but wonder, do these eastward storm track tendencies anticorrelate with the rather new WAFLE (Wrong Al Flapping Lips Effect) index that peaked again recently in the media? 🙂

  4. Ryan Shaffer says:

    “What I find a little ironic is that if this storm were to hit the East Coast, we would have to suffer through endless claims of climate change!. Yet if it stays at sea, no one complains.”

    Even if this hurricane does make landfall in U.S., I would hope that people would still look at the number of major hurricanes that have hit the U.S. in the past 10 years compared with previous decades…although that may be too much to ask…

    Here is a link for anyone interested in the number of overall hurricanes and major hurricanes by decade…as can be seen, we are at lower levels of hurricanes and major hurricanes than almost all of the decades since 1850…

  5. Ryan Shaffer says:

    Assuming that we don’t have any hurricanes hit the U.S. this year (which, assuming Joaquin misses, seems more and more likely at this point since we are now in October)…we will only have had 8 hurricanes hit the U.S. in the past 10 years…this I believe would be the fewest of any 10 year period in the records…and with 0 major hurricanes, I believe this would also be a record…


    Do you know anyone that could verify this?

    • Gary H says:

      You notice that the chart’s not been updated since 2004. Perhaps they’re busy think about how to go back and adjust the count.

  6. David M says:

    On Oct. 1, 1752…the second hurricane in two weeks hit coastal North Carolina…the storm erased Beacon Island…

    1893 – The second great hurricane of the 1893 season hit the Mississippi Delta Region drowning more than 1000 persons.

    yup…all those suvs..and burning fossil fuels did these

    • Ryan Shaffer says:

      Don’t forget the great Galveston hurricane (category 4) of 1900, it was the reason that Houston became the major port city instead of Galveston, Tx.

      • rah says:

        The corruption in New Orleans had a little bit to do with that too. What is called “Big Oil” originally wanted to base their operations there but went to Houston because of the graft the politicians demanded if they went to New Orleans.

    • Frank K. says:

      And there’s Hurricane Camille from 1969 – way back when everyone believed in global cooling…

      “Camille was the second strongest U.S. landfalling hurricane in recorded history in terms of atmospheric pressure, second only to the Labor Day Hurricane in 1935.”

      “Making landfall in Waveland, Mississippi, as a ** Category 5 hurricane **,[6] Camille caused damage and destruction across much of the Gulf Coast of the United States.”

  7. Gary H says:

    Here’s tracks for 2015, up to, but not including, Joaquin.

  8. geran says:

    OT, but since Sept satellite results are due soon, hopefully the numbers will be huge. For example, suppose RSS = +0.48, and UAH = +0.37.

    That should get the Alarmists foaming at the mouth…

  9. dave says:

    “…hopefully the numbers will be huge…”

    The present El Nino could push the anomalies temporarily above the high of 1998. That was the thinking of Dr Christy, a year or so ago, but of course it has been an “on-off” El Nino.

    Corporate insiders, distributing their optioned stock to the public at the end of a bull run, love second highs.

  10. boris says:

    I saw a map yesterday of the possible routes this storm might take compiled from the results of about 10 models. They go from landfall in Georgia and penetrating all the way to the Ohio River Valley to 600 miles east of the east coast, never making landfall. Of the ones I saw diagrammed there wasn’t even a general pattern except there was going to be weather on the East Coast of the United States! One is reminded of that kind of news coverage where the live cameras are on a reporter who doesn’t yet have any confirmed information but they have to say SOMETHING because this is possibly going to a dramatic event…or…not.

  11. Slywolfe says:

    Is the rain in the Carolinas from Joaquin or the trough?

  12. rah says:

    Did anyone notice that the National Hurricane Center now has it heading for Spain? They changed their plot only two days after the European model had it going that direction. Could the National Hurricane Center possibly been more wrong? Their cone of uncertainty is now about 90 degrees east from where it started.

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