Tracking the Tropics: New hurricane model uses supercomputers to predict hurricanes faster than ever

TAMPA, Florida (TodayNews) — A groundbreaking weather model that accurately predicted Hurricane Ian’s rapid intensification will become the National Hurricane Center’s leading hurricane forecasting model.

The NHC said its “Hurricane Analysis and Forecasting System,” or HAFS for short, became operational on June 27 along with existing models for the 2023 hurricane season. The system is the first new major forecasting model to use NOAA’s updated weather and climate supercomputers.


An experimental version of HAFS, which ran from 2019 to 2022, showed a 10-15% improvement in trajectory forecasts over existing National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hurricane models.

“HAFS provides more accurate, higher resolution forecast information over both land and ocean,” NOAA said.

According to the NHC, HAFS can zoom in to 1.9 miles on areas of a hurricane that are key to improving forecasts of wind and rain intensity.

During the 2022 hurricane season, the NHC said HAFS was the first model to accurately predict that Hurricane Yan would undergo a secondary rapid intensification as the devastating storm swirled off the coast of Cuba and headed southwest Florida.


While HAFS has shown significant improvement in trajectory forecasts, the researchers said they plan to further improve the model over the next four years, which will provide even greater accuracy in forecasts, warnings and vital information.

NOAA says that by 2027, its goal is to reduce all model forecast errors to nearly half the errors seen in 2017.

“With the addition of the HAFS forecast model to our suite of tropical forecasting tools, our forecasters are better equipped than ever to protect life and property with improved accuracy and timely warnings,” said Ken Graham, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service.

Watch Tracking the Tropics on Wednesdays at 12:30 pm ET/11:30 pm CT. Get ready for what TodayNews 2023 Hurricane Preparedness Guide and stay one step ahead of tropical development with Tropics Bulletin Tracking.

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