Local weather stations in path of hurricane report wind velocities far lower—barely tropical storm level—than the official numbers

Drudge links a blogger named Steven Goddard who sensationally writes:

NOAA’s Phony “Hurricane” Coming On Shore With 33 MPH Winds
Posted on August 27, 2011 by stevengoddard

NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] claims the winds are 85 MPH, but none of the Weather Underground stations in the area report higher than 33 MPH winds. By definition, this is not a hurricane—and is just barely a tropical storm.

Unfortunately, Goddard provides no links that back up his claim of 33 mile per hour winds. So I found Weather Underground myself. I see nothing there about 33 mile per hour winds. The only information on its main page about the hurricane is: “As of 300AM EDT, Hurricane Irene … was moving north-northeast at 14 mph with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph, making it a Category 1 storm.” Which is the official view. What, then, is Goddard talking about?

UPDATE: However, in other brief blog entries posted today, Goddard does give his sources. Check out, “Wilmington, NC Experiencing Ferocious 23 MPH Winds As Irene Passes.” On that page there is a weather summary for Wilmington showing 23 MPH winds there today, and underneath that a link to Weather Underground for Wilmington. It seems each city has its own Weather Underground site.

Check out “Harker’s Island, NC Getting Terrifying 30 MPH Winds As ‘Hurricane’ Irene Approaches.” Beneath a reminder that “NOAA says that the wind speed is 90 MPH,” Goddard reproduces a “Weather at a Glance” chart for Beaufort, NC which shows winds at 30 MPH.

In the ironically titled “30 MPH Storm Surge Narrows The Beach By Several Feet In The Outer Banks,” he shows photos of an undisturbed looking beach in North Carolina and writes: “NOAA achieves category five status for unsupportable alarmism.”

His most recent post is: “GFS/WRF Forecasts 33 MPH Peak Wind Speeds At New York,” with a single line of text: “Christie and Bloomberg have made fools out of themselves by listening to alarmists.” GFS apparently means Global Forecast System and WRF means Weather Research and Forecasting model. However, I don’t understand the chart Goddard posts.

- end of initial entry -

Gintas writes:

Weather Underground is a conglomeration of weather stations—you can select local airports, other official stations, and any of a number of personal weather stations. I could buy myself a personal weather station, set it up, hook it up to my computer, and register it with Weather Underground, and then it’s a selectable site.

Here, for example, is Norfolk, VA, which you’d think is getting hit. (This is the classic view, not the new, “improved” view they punished us with.)

If you look in the “Current Conditions” block, there is a line “Select a source for your current conditions:” under which is a pull-down list. You can select from airports and a long list of personal weather stations (PWS). The PWSs can vary wildly, and sometimes are down (so the “current conditions” for a PWS that is down is the last reported reading).

At the time of this email, I select Norfolk NAS (Naval Air Station), and it shows 37mph winds. If I select Moores Bridge WTP it shows 6mph wind!

Weather Underground is nice because you can get weather for just about anywhere in the civilized world, because of personal weather stations; on the other hand, you have to be careful with what you see. It’s useful to scroll down to the bottom of the page and there’s a chart of all the data for all the stations for the page. You can see the variation there. I’m not too confident of wind measurements of PWSs, especially in high winds.

Gintas continues:

With all the Norfolk stations, it is just now barely a tropical storm there. But there are some ridiculously low wind readings. But it does look like “hurricane” is overblown.

The NOAA must be getting wind estimates at altitude, which I think they often do with planes flying up there.

Gintas writes:

I’m going by memory, but NOAA hurricane predictions almost always are overblown. I can understand being conservative—it’s better to be too prepared than underprepared, especially in vulnerable areas. After a while, though, everyone starts taking that into account. That may explain something about the lack of preparedness during Katrina… That time they weren’t overblown, and everyone was caught by surprise. Someone at NOAA will say, “It was within our estimated range of possiblities.”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 27, 2011 12:15 PM | Send

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