Real-time Hurricane Surface Wind Analysis

Mark D. Powell

NOAA Hurricane Research Division, AOML
Miami, FL


NOAA's Hurricane Research Division has developed a realtime hurricane wind analysis system that brings in diverse observation platforms, processes measurements to a common format for height, exposure, and averaging time, and provides tools to enable forecasters and researchers to interact with the data, conduct graphical quality control, and objectively analyze the observations. Hurricane Isabel provided a great operational test for H*Wind at the National Hurricane Center, where analyses were produced every 3 h prior to landfall to provide guidance on wind radii and storm intensity. Wind field analyses are color "snapshot" contour maps with winds representative of marine conditions over the sea and open terrain exposure over land. Roughness corresponding to these conditions will briefly be discussed in light of recent observations from GPS dropsondes and coastal towers. Among the challenges to operational hurricane wind field analysis are the uncertainty in using multiple observing platforms (not all of which agree) in the core of the storm and a time investment from forecasters. Applications of H*Wind products for disaster response and recovery in Hurricane Isabel will also be discussed.