Another hurricane forecast and it’s not good

Are we in for another 2008?

Hurricane Ike 2008

Dale Link is an engineer who has forecasted hurricanes since the mid 1980s and his predictions are different.

All the other hurricane forecasts predict HOW MANY storms there will be, while Dale focuses on WHERE those storms will go. He doesn’t predict a number of storms turning into hurricanes, turning into major hurricanes and how that stacks up against the average. He is not about numbers. He’s about location, location, location. And, if you think about it, the season only counts when one of these monsters hits YOU. His forecast for 2020 predicts that Texas is ripe for a strike:

Red Zones are Strike zones

Here’s a closer look:

Red Zones are Strike Zones

So the above indicates a busy year for the Bahamas and the Gulf, especially Texas, indicating that hurricane-strength storms are likely to pass through these red zones.

The first question to ask is, how often does Dale get it right? The answer: 77% of the time, and for some other regions of the world it’s even higher. He shows his accuracy here. You can also go through his website to see just where those red zones were since 2000 and you can compare yourself whether you think he got it right.

The next question is about methodology, which Dale would not share until this past year. Without knowing the methodology, the science community largely raised an eyebrow to his forecasts. I asked him once what his secret sauce was to which he replied, “smoke signals." Now, Dale has released how he comes up with his forecast right here. Simply put: past tracks indicate future tracks. He’ll go back one and two years to look at the FULL track of past storms, not just when they flare up or dissipate, but from the very inception to the absolute end. What happened before, will happen again.

Speaking of which, I see a lot of 2008 in this forecast. Take a look at the track locations that year:

2008 tracks

The East Coast got scraped, but the Bahamas and Gulf were super busy. For Texas, there was Hurricane Dolly down in South Padre, Tropical Storm Edouard in our area and then Hurricane Ike right into Bolivar.

Also, I can’t help but notice that there was virtually no El Niño in 2008 and the water was extremely warm. Both of those atmospheric conditions exist this year. I can predict based on those two parameters alone that the more popular forecasts, which come out in April and May, will be a bit above the normal. But those are numbers games. Dale predicts where he thinks they’re going to go. His webpage is right here.

Enjoy your weekend! Thanks, Dale, for accepting my Facebook friend request!


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About the Author:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with four decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.