Hurricane Season Predictions — a Valiant but Quixotic Quest

We’ve lived in hurricane territory for all but three of the years we have been cruising. Early on there were no predictions. When predictions started to be available, we paid attention. Now, we pretty much ignore them. The accumulated data just don’t support the drama and assurance with which they are delivered.

Consider the following data:

The variability is pretty obvious.

But less obvious is the divergence between real world behavior and model predictions. 2005 is problematic because the observed storms are nearly double average experience, but either way, a plot of the data with and without 2005 shows why (at least for now) these forecasts seem to have more utility to insurance arbitrageurs than to cruising sailors and their shore-side friends

With all due respect for those who work hard at this difficult business, chewing a piece of straw and opining there’ll be about 14 storms plus or minus 3+ or so, will work just as well.

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