Hurricane Irma Models GFS & European Show Latest Possible Tracks


Hurricane Irma modelsNational Hurricane Center

Hurricane Irma has passed over St. Maarten and is currently 50 miles northeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico. The storm is still a very powerful Category 5, moving WNW at 16 mph. Irma’s center, also called the eye of the storm, will pass to the north of Puerto Rico, sparing the country of the brunt, but still bringing plenty of rain and wind to the area.

For days, people have been looking at the two most trusted models — the GFS, which is the U.S. model, and the ECMWF, the European model, have been showing different possible tracks for Irma, but have been pretty similar in their most recent updates.

The state of Florida has been on high alert since Monday, keeping a close eye on each model — and on the spaghetti models (which show the different projected paths), to see where Irma might go. As of this morning, both the GFS and the European models had Irma tracking further east, clipping southern Florida before heading up its east coast. As you can in the photos and graphics below, the European model still shows Irma over most of southern Florida.

Below are images and graphics from the latest GFS update.

“The US analog to the European model is the Global Forecast System. It has a lower resolution, and it typically doesn’t perform quite as well. However, this GFS model has some benefits: it runs four times a day, and NOAA freely makes the data available to anyone who wants it,” reports Ars Technica.

Below are graphics showing the latest European update.

“This forecast system has superior hardware to run its calculations. But more importantly, it has a method by which it better assimilates real-world data—observations from weather networks around the world, atmospheric soundings, reconnaissance aircraft, and much more—into its calculations,” Ars Technica says of the ECMWF.