One of the surprise highlights of the year in Jacksonville sporting events was a “friendly” soccer match between the mens national teams of the United States and Scotland.  Played on a lovely Saturday evening in May, the match drew 44,438 fans, the most ever to attend an international friendly match in the state of Florida.  This figure appeared even more impressive two weeks later when a World Cup qualifying match in Tampa attracted a mere 23,971 attendees *.

As one would expect, the success of the event immediately stirred activity to bring more soccer to Jacksonville. Your correspondent was hopeful that perhaps the Gold Medal winning women’s national team could be persuaded pay a visit to the River City for an international friendly.  Last week though, Jacksonville mayor Alvin Brown (who had “more major sports in Jacksonville” as part of his campaign platform) hinted that the soccer to come would be of the domestic variety.  This was confirmed yesterday when his office announced that the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer would play exhibition matches  in Jacksonville in February for the next three years. The 2013 edition will serve as part of the Union’s visit to Florida to participate in the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic,  an exhibition tournament featuring five other MLS teams as well as ones from Orlando and Tampa.

This is nice. Give us more

This is nice. Give us more.

I attended and enjoyed the US-Scotland match. I am afraid there are a few reason why these matches to come will not be as successful:

  • The teams      Philadelphia of course is one and the other will be an MLS team as well (presumably one of the others playing in Orlando).  Neither will have the allure of the national team or an international professional team.  Given that the nearest MLS team is DC United, it is understandable that the teams are not from the region. Still, the average person will find it to be a random selection of teams and will be unlikely to have a cheering interest in either of them.
  • The weather   Those who were in Jacksonville during the week leading up to the Super Bowl will be quick to tell you that Jacksonville is not south Florida; warm pleasant weather is not a given. A night game will likely start with temperatures in the 50′s; cool weather by Florida standards, certainly cooler conditions than those for the match in May with the possibility existing that it could be cooler yet.  Pleasant weather is not out of the question, however. Game day conditions for the aforementioned Super Bowl were fan-friendly.
  • The sports calendar     Outside of The Player’s Championship golf tournament, May is a somewhat quiet time for sports in Jacksonville.  Minor league baseball and arena football are in season, but neither provide an annual “classic” civic event.  The area has a bit more going on in February. The forthcoming exhibition match will fall between the Grand-Am Endurance race in Daytona and the Daytona 500 (and is one day before the Daytona Shootout exhibition race).  It comes two weeks after a first round Davis Cup tennis match between U.S. and Brazil.  Most crushing to me, it falls on the same evening as the second basketball leg of the River City Rumble, the season long athletic competition between Jacksonville and the University of North Florida (I attended the game this year and intend to do so again in 2013).  Granted, none of these events are of both large scale and in immediate proximity to the soccer match.  It is almost certain though, that they will serve to reduce the number of people interested in attending another sporting fixture.

Taking these factors into consideration, I think an attendance of 30,000 is the best that can be hoped for… and that may be generous.  It would be interesting to know how that lines up with what the city and Major League Soccer would consider to be a success.

* The weather was a factor in the reduced attendance in Tampa; it was anything but lovely.

The Big Ones

October 28, 2012

In my youth I read any weather book I could get my hands on. One that I particularly treasured was called simply The Weather Book, which was written by the founding editor of the USA Today’s weather page.

Unfortunately, I do not have my copy on hand to quote from or refresh my memory on its contents. But as I recall, it had a page or two on the scenarios that meteorologists were most afraid of. One was a major hurricane hitting New Orleans and the other was a hurricane hitting the New York area.

The damages envisioned in the scenarios were so grave that some in the weather community always felt compelled, either in the name of safety or self-aggrandizement, to treat every storm that neared those locales as being The One.

To some extent, it was these false alarms that brought complacency to the Louisiana and Mississippi. Many people treated the nightmare scenario as a piece of fiction that would never really happen and paid the consequence. Others, who were a bit more in touch with reality, found themselves thinking “Wow,this is actually happening. It was the former group of people that I was thinking of when, speaking to my father on the afternoon prior to Katrina’s landfall I said, “This is going to be so bad that people won’t believe it until they see it.”

That is not to say that meteorologists did not try to spread the word. A meteorologist at the local National Weather service office put his soul into his work

URGENT — WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
1011 AM CDT SUN AUG 28, 2005

...DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED...

.HURRICANE KATRINA...A MOST POWERFUL HURRICANE WITH UNPRECEDENTED
STRENGTH...RIVALING THE INTENSITY OF HURRICANE CAMILLE OF 1969.

MOST OF THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS...PERHAPS LONGER. AT
LEAST ONE HALF OF WELL CONSTRUCTED HOMES WILL HAVE ROOF AND WALL
FAILURE. ALL GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL...LEAVING THOSE HOMES SEVERELY
DAMAGED OR DESTROYED....

National Weather Service Bulletin for New Orleans region (Wikipedia)

Just as Ivan was the last false alarm prior to Katrina, I fear that Irene will be seen as the last false alarm for the metro New York nightmare scenario.

As was the case prior to Katrina, some forecasters are putting their soul into their work


National Weather Service Office Philadelphia/Mount Holly Hurricane Sandy briefing

To restate what I wrote earlier, there are some who treat storms as their source of personal entertainment and do not hesitate to crank up the hype. There are others who take every unnecessary death in a storm as a personal failing. While the latter group contains cautious people (in the sense that they will advise some precautions that will prove to be unnecessary), they are so cautious that they do not pour their soul into their work when it is not warranted. Robert Ricks, the author of the Katrina bulletin, stopped and re-read his bulletin, to make sure that he didn’t include any statement that was unwarranted. I suspect that Gary Szatkowski exercised the same amount of caution when he drafted his “personal plea”.
Three possible sources of complacency, which I will briefly address:

  • “They don’t really know if the storm will hit us”

“Given how many of the New York false alarms happened in the not so recent past, this sense is probably greater among older people than is generally appreciated. Their memories are sharper of the days when hurricanes were totally unpredictable beasts and forecasts weren’t to be trusted beyond a day out. Those days are long past. While it is true that forecasters cannot predict the exact landfall point two days out, the science has progressed such that they will not miss by much. Hence the NWS forecaster’s statement that “The focus of efforts should be on when Sandy hits our region, not if Sandy hits our region.”

  • “They said Irene was going to be the horrible one and it wasn’t”

While this storm seems similar to Irene in the headline numbers that the public is most familiar with (maximum winds, Saffir-Simpson category) , it is a very different storm. At the comparable position point in Irene’s life, the extent of hurricane force winds was 85 miles with tropical storm force winds extending 285 miles away from the center. Right now hurricane winds extend up to 175 miles away from the center of Sandy and tropical storm winds reach out a staggering 520 miles. This has tremendous implications for storm surge. The most recent analysis of Sandy’s winds from NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division reveals an extremely high potential for damage from storm surge, higher than any hurricane observed in the 1969-2005 time-frame (See Dr. Masters’ commentary Sandy’s storm surge a huge threat for more on this.) As Dr Masters notes, Irene was a close call. The storm surge from Sandy will be worse.

Allow me to pick a random data point from a location with which I am personally familiar: Bridges in Chesapeake, Virginia have been closed due to flooding caused by Sandy. This happened during Irene as well. Irene, however, passed immediately to the south of Chesapeake. Sandy is over 300 miles away.

  • “It just doesn’t seem that bad. It’s a category one hurricane, and a border-line one at that.”

Of the three points listed here, it’s the one I have the most sympathy for. For years now forecasters have known that they needed to either tweak the Saffir-Simpson scale or bring additional measures of a storm’s potential for destruction into the public eye. For various reasons that has not happened. This may very well be that brings in new measures. I fear that due to the public’s unfamiliarity with the Hurricane Research Divsion’s product they think it’s something not quite real that is being used as a tool of the hypesters. That is not the case. It is a very real warning.

Complicating matters is the technical matter of Sandy’s nature when the storm makes landfall. Resulting from that is a “controversy” over whether the National Hurricane Center should be issuing warnings for the northeast. The NHC issued a two page release on the matter. I don’t have anything to say on the matter. This is not the time to be arguing.

It is a time for meteorologists to sound the alarm and for residents in and near the path of Sandy to prepare for the worst. While, by terminology, Sandy will not be the first major hurricane to hit the United States since 2005, it will be major in the conventional sense of the word. As far as the New York City nightmare scenario goes, Sandy is The Big One.

;

Having reviewed the past performance of these forecasts in my previous post, it is now time to look at the forecasts for the current hurricane season.

The official start of the season comes with two named storms, Alberto and Beryl already having come and gone.  As most forecasts are explicitly June 1 – November 30, those storms do not count against these forecasts as listed here (I’ve adjusted the number of  named storms forecast by Colorado State  downward by two, per their note) .
Is  this pre-season activity  significant when considering activity for the rest of the season?  The Colorado State forecast notes

Pre-1 June activity has very little bearing on the rest of the hurricane season. The only two seasons on record with two named storms prior to 1 June were 1887 and 1908. While 1887 was a very active season, 1908 had average levels of activity. The last season with a U.S. landfall prior to 1 June was 1976, which was a relatively quiet season.

Also note that by this time in the 2007 season, there already were two names in the books.  While that season finished with a respectable number of named storms (15), aggregate activity as measured by ACE (72 units)  was below the long term average.

Sorry Beryl, you don’t count

Here is a summary of the forecasts from the six organizations I track. It lists the number of named storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes forecast along with the predicted amount of Accumulated Cyclone Energy.  The consensus forecast (calculated as a simple average of unrounded numbers from all forecasts) is for twelve named storms, six hurricanes, and 97 units of ACE. This forecast is slightly below the average of the past five seasons and roughly in line with the 1981-2010 average.

TS/H/MH ACE
Observed
5 season trailing
average
15/7/4 111
Consensus 12/6/2 97
CSU 13/5/2 80
FSU 13/7/x 122
NCSU 9/6/2 x
NOAA 12/6/2 95
TSR 13/6/3 98
UKMET 13/x/x 90

I’ll know briefly review each forecast in alphabetical order. Note that a few forecasts contain much more information than that’s what displayed here. I’ll mention it as necessary so that those interested may delve into the forecasts on their own; I won’t be covering everything in detail, however.

The grandfather of these seasonal forecasts is that issued by researchers affiliated with Colorado State University; Dr. William Gray issued his first forecast in 1984 and since 2005 Phillip Klotzbach has been listed as the primary author with Dr. Gray second.  The forecast is statistically driven, though, for the current scheme, one input comes from a computer model.  The methodology has been alternatively tweaked and replaced in whole over the years; the current scheme is new to 2012.

The Colorado State 2012 hurricane season forecast calls for 11 named storms to form after June 1 with 5 becoming hurricanes and 2 of those being major hurricanes and a combined 80 units of ACE.  The forecast discusses mixed signals as to whether a full blown El Niño event will develop or neutral conditions will prevail along with near-normal to cooler than normal Sea Surface Temperatures  (SSTs) in the Atlantic as being factors in their forecast. Regarding the latter issue, the forecast states “Overall, the Atlantic is experiencing more marginal conditions this year than in many previous years during the active era that has been experienced since 1995.” It is worth noting that their forecast for Accumulated Cyclone Energy would be the lowest forecast since 1994 *** and is the lowest of the six forecasts tracked here.

The forecast also contains landfall forecast probabilities along with a lengthy discussion of whether rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere have contributed to the increase in major hurrricanes in the Atlantic since 1995.

Since 2009, a team at Florida State University lead by Tim LaRow has been issuing forecasts. The forecasts are generated using computer model simulations that were originally described in the paper Atlantic Basin Hurricane Simulations.  Due to apparent limitations in model resolution, the model does not generate hurricanes that are at or above the major hurricane threshold, hence the lack of a forecast number of major hurricanes.

Not Tim LaRow

The FSU 2012  hurricane season forecast calls for 13 tropical storms and 7 hurricanes.  The forecast for ACE is the highest: 122 units.  It is worth remembering that FSU’s ACE forecast was also the highest and therefore ended up being the most wrong. This year, however, the FSU forecast is alone at the high end; last year the CSU forecast was nearly identical to that of FSU.

Since 2005, professor Lian Xie of North Carolina State University has been the lead for releasing forecasts from his institution. His statistical approach garnered significant attention in 2006 when it correctly forecast a quiet season when others suggested more activity.

The NC State 2012 hurricane season forecast  gives a range of numbers, which  average to 9  named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes.  The forecast also predicts storm numbers for the Gulf of Mexico and gives some landfall probabilities, though it is not nearly as extensive as the predictions from Colorado State.

Since 1999, the Climate Prediction Center of NOAA has been issuing outlooks, in collaboration with the National Hurricane Center and the Hurricane Research Division.  The basic factors for the forecast are fairly unchanged;  the state of El Niño and SSTs in the Atlantic are the two primary considerations.  A variety of computer models are utilized to predict those two factors.

NOAA’s 2012 Hurricane Season Outlook gives a range of numbers, which average to 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes.  Like the CSU forecast, it discusses the spread in El Niño forecasts as a source of uncertainty. It also reviews the near-normal to below average SSTs in the Atlantic.

The Tropical Storm Risk consortium was borne out of a UK government sponsored project named TSUNAMI. The first forecast was released under the latter name for the 1999 hurricane season with Professor Mark Saunders as the lead author.   It utilizes a statistical approach considering two factors: Forecast SSTs in the Mean Development Region of the Atlantic Ocean (10°-20°N — 20°-60°W, the classic breeding ground for Atlantic tropical cyclones) and forecast low level trade winds over the Atlantic and Carribean.

Tropical Storm Risk’s 2012 Atlantic hurricane forecast predicts 13 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and three major hurricanes. Of the two values used in the forecast, the one for trade winds suggest a slight effect of suppressing tropical cyclone formation, while the SST values are neutral.  The forecast also makes predictions for the number of landfalling storms in the United States and Caribbean. TSR had an strong 2011 forecast (with a near perfect prediction of ACE) , though, as their own forecast notes, “forecasts for the 2006, 2007, and 2009 hurricane  seasons were less impressive”.

The United Kingdom’s Meteorological Office has been releasing outlooks since 2007, though it was only last year that they started issuing them as June-November forecasts .  The forecast is derived from two global forecast models, one of their own along with one from the European Center for Medium range Weather Forecasts.

The UK Met Office hurricane season forecast for 2012 predicts 10 named storms and 90 units of accumulated cyclone energy.

These are the forecasts that I keep track of either due to their long reputable existence or, in the case of the younger ones, notable performances. (I’ll admit I was absolutely parochial in keeping track of FSU’s model right from the start; fortunately it was a strong performer in its first two seasons).  While it may seem that these are more than enough forecasts, there are yet more out there.

Everyone has a forecast

Penn State University researcher Micheal Mann has been releasing forecasts since 2007. His 2012 prediction (which comes from a statistical model) is 11 named storms.

Weatherbell Analytics is a private company that hired forecaster Joe Bastardi after he left Accuweather.  Weatherbell Analytics’ 2012 hurricane season forecast is for 11 named storms, 5 hurricanes, 3 major hurricanes and 85 units of ACE. It expects fewer storms to develop far at sea and relatively more to from close in to the United States.

In the context of hurricanes, the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) is best known for its specialized dynamic hurricane model.  The lab has developed what it is calling a Hybrid Hurricane Forecast System for hurricane season outlooks. Unfortunately, the most recent discussion is for the January forecast run. That forecast predicted six hurricanes for the 2012 season.

Finally, the Cuban Institute of Meteorology (ISMET) has been producing forecasts since 1996. I have been unable to find an primary source document for the forecast, but a column penned by the Institute’s director, Dr. Jose Rubiera, quotes from it.  Their forecast calls for ten named storms with five becoming hurricanes.

The column, originally published in Granma, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Cuba, is actually pretty interesting. It is entitled “El Pronostico de la Temporada de Huracanes en Su Propio Lugar“, which translates to “The Hurricane Season Forecast in its Proper Place”.  It discusses the purpose of hurricane season forecasts and their limitations.  Rubiera outright states that the forecasts have scientific value,” but do not possess a practical value to the general public”.

I find the column valuable enough to spend time working on a translation ****, which will be the content of my next post.

*** It’s only been since 2006 that the CSU forecast explicity forecasted ACE; before then it gave only a number called Net Tropcial Cyclone (NTC) activity, which is a completely different calculation, but like ACE, does give a measure of aggregate activity.  This season’s forecast NTC, 90, is the same as the 2009 forecast,  but the forecast for ACE that season was 85.   You have to go back to 1994, to find a NTC lower than 90. Had there been an ACE forecast, it likely would have been at 80 or lower.

**** Yes I could just run it through Google Translate or some such tool and it would probably be workable or “good enough”. Feel free to give it a whirl, yourself.  I did though, get an outstanding education in the Spanish language in high school and have made use of that learning at various points since, but not recently. So I’m going to grab this surprising opportunity and run with it.

Before releasing a post summarizing the predictions for activity in the hurricane season to come, I like to review those of seasons past.

I do this to address a couple of concerns people have about these forecasts.  One is that when the media reports upon them, they rarely, if ever review the performance of  the forecasts in years past.  The second is that the forecasts always (intentionally) over-state activity and as such exist solely to generate hype and anxiety for the forthcoming season.  One lesser concern, even more conspiratorial in nature, is that the classification of tropical storms, etc is manipulated so that NOAA can “hit their numbers”.

As for second concern, 2005 remains the canonical refutation of that notion.  The highest forecast for that season from the organizations tracked here was Colorado State’s, which called for 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes. The actual numbers for the season were 28,15 , and 7.  When you review the five hurricane seasons since, it is clear that there is not a sustained inclination to overstate activity.

A concern I won’t address in the post is the general utility of these forecasts to the average person.  I expressed my thoughts in a 2007 commentary on hurricane season forecasts :”They are of little value to individuals. National Hurricane Center forecaster Richard Pasch said it best: ‘An active year is the year when you get hit.’

With that out of the way, let us look back on the 2011 season and the pre-season predictions. The season featured 19 tropical storms, 7 hurricanes, 4 major hurricanes, and 127 units of Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE).  The consensus numbers from the six organizations I track were 15, 8, 4, and 148.

Three of the forecasts  originated  from reasearchers affilitaed with universities (Colorado State, Florida State, and North Carolina State). NOAA’s forecast came from its Climate Prediction Center. Tropical Storm Risk is a British consortium, and the sixth forecast was produced by  the United Kingdoms’s Meteorological Office.

2011
TS/H/MH ***
2011 ACE
Observed 19/7/4 127
5 season trailing
average
13/7/3 102
Consensus 15/8/4 148
CSU 16/9/5 160
FSU 17/9/x 163
NCSU 15/8/4 x
NOAA 15/8/5 140
TSR 14/8/4 124
UKMET 13/x/x 151

Everyone under-forecast the number of tropical storms. Short-lived tropical storms such as Franklin, Gert, and Jose, brought the number of named storms above predicted levels without causing the other numbers to go over as well. All forecasts were over by one or two on the number of hurricanes, but were either on the number or were within one of the number of major hurricanes.

Most forecasts slightly to moderately overstated the amount of Accumulated Cyclone Energy.  Tropical Storm Risk’s forecast was the exception as it nearly hit the number exactly.

As we’ll see below, the first two forecasts from Florida State were impressive, particularly the ACE predictions.  2011′s forecast, alas, wasn’t particularly note-worthy.  Yes, it was the closest in predicting the number of tropical storms. However, that is the least important of the four numbers. ACE is the most representative number of aggregate tropical cyclone activity. The importance of the storm categories goes down with the damage potential, hence major hurricanes are most important followed by hurricanes, and then the number of tropical storms.

Here are the predictions for the past five seasons. Note that the “observed” numbers for 2007 removed Andrea and Olga due them being out of season (an adjustment I failed to make in past reviews and something that was brought to mind by Alberto and Beryl this year).  Also, the UK Met Office has been releasing forecasts since 2007, but only since 2011 have they been June-November forecasts that are easily comparable to the others (past forecasts were July-November). For each year, I’ve link to NOAA’s season summaries, which provide good reviews of the atmospheric conditions that prevailed for the season and how they affected the NOAA forecasts.

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Observed 13/6/2 16/8/5 9/3/2 19/12/5 19/7/4
5 season trailing
average
17/8/4 17/8/4 17/9/5 16/7/4 13/7/3
Consensus 15/9/4 14/8/4 11/6/2 17/10/5 15/8/4
CSU 17/9/5 15/8/4 11/5/2 18/10/5 15/8/5
FSU 8/4/x 17/10/x 17/9/x
NCSU 13/9/5 14/7/x 13/7/x 17/10/x 15/8/4
NOAA 15/9/4 14/8/4 12/6/2 19/11/5 15/8/5
TSR 16/9/4 14/8/3 11/5/2 18/10/4 14/8/4
UKMET 13/x/x

In the past five years, the consensus storm numbers have been overforecasts twice (2007 and 2009) and in the ball park the other three seasons. Note that 2009 was an El Niño year.  When the oscillation and its affects are not properly accounted for, over-forecasts result.

Observed 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
ACE 72 145 51 166 127
5 season trailing avg 158 160 154 119 102
Con. 158 139 76 177 148
CSU 170 150 85 185 160
FSU 65 156 163
NOAA 147 136 85 186 140
TSR 156 131 69 182 124
UKMET 151

2007′s ACE was brutally over-forecast by everyone.  With the exeption of the major hurricanes Dean and Felix, storms that season did not have long lives and therefore did not contribute much to the total.  In percentage terms, the consensus forecast for 2009 was substantially overblown as well.  2011 wasn’t as bad.  The consensus predictions for 2008 and 2010 were excellent

My next post will be a round-up of the forecasts for the 2012 season.

***(Note that in their forecasts as published, some organizations release ranges of numbers, or in the case of Tropical Storm Risk, numbers that aren’t whole numbers. The numbers here are averages and roundings of ranges and TSR’s numbers are rounded as well.  The consensus is calculated using the unrounded numbers. That’s why the consensus numbers of major hurricanes is four, when by appearances, it should be five; TSR’s published number was 3.7 and NOAA’s range was 4-9. Those got rounded up to four and five, respectively for the purposes of the list, but the unrounded numbers were used to calculate the average of the forecasts)

It is June 1, the official beginning of the Atlantic Hurricane season.  As tropical weather cognoscenti know,  this is the day that the first regularly scheduled Tropical Weather Outlook comes out, the one that lists all of their storm names and pronunciations.  It is also the day that I go over the history of storms past with those names.

This set of names was first used in 1982.Because there was extremely strong El Niño event that year, which suppressed tropcial storm formation, only the first five names were used that year.  As this of list has tended to be associated with quiet seasons, only three names from the original list (the fewest from any set).  For the first time since we’ve been giving storms names, two names have been used before the official start of the season ( 1908 had two hurricanes before June 1 and 1887 had two tropical storms before then; that was well before the practice of storm naming had begun).

Without further ado, here are the names (links for years are to images of the tracking chart for the storm, links for retired names are to the Wikipedia entry):

Alberto – In 1982 he managed to go from nothing to hurricane and back to nothing in the short space between the Yucatan Peninsula and the coast of West Florida. Tropical storm in 1988 and 1994. Central Atlantic category 3 in 20002006 edition came ashore in Florida as a tropical storm.  Short-lived tropical storm in 2012.

Beryl – All six times were as a tropical storm (1982, 1988, 1994, 2000, 2006). 2012 version made landfall in Jacksonville Beach, FL and was the strongest landfalling May tropical cyclone since the May 29, 1908 hurricane.

Chris - Tropical storm in 1982 , 1988, and 2000. Hurricane at sea in 1994. 2006 tropical storm affected the Bahamas and Greater Antilles before abruptly dissipating.

Debby – Category four hurricane at sea in 1982. Bay of Campeche hurricane in 1988. Tropical Storm in 1994. Leeward Islands hurricane in 2000. Tropical storm at sea in 2006

Ernesto – Until 2006, always a tropical storm and never a hurricane (1982, 1988, 1994, 2000). 2006 hurricane made first landfall near Guanatamo Bay, Cuba, weakend to a tropical storm and made subsequent landfalls in Dade County, Florida and Oak Island, North Carolina.

Florence – Gulf of Mexico hurricane in 1988 (passed directly over New Orleans at tropical storm strength). At sea hurricane in 1994 and 2000 and 2006. Most recent edition affected Bermuda and Newfoundland.

Gordon – This spot was held by Gilbert until after the 1988 season. In 1994 a hurricane with a wacky course (at TS strength) through the Caribbean Sea and Straits of Florida en route to briefly threaten the Outer Banks before turning back south. In 2000, the hurricane took a straight line course from the Yucatan to the Big Bend of Florida. 2006 ‘s version was a major hurricane at sea.

Helene – Category four at sea in 1988 and a tropical storm in 2000. Like Gordon, a major hurricane at sea in 2006.

Isaac – Tropical storm in 1988, category four at sea in 2000. A catagory one hurricane that weakened before brushing Nova Scotia in 2006. Last name to be used that year.

Joyce – This spot was held by Joan until after the 1988 season. Joyce debuted in 2000 as a hurricane that weakened before crossing into the Carribean.

Kirk – Added to the list in 2006, yet to debut. Spot was formerly held by Keith.

Leslie – A tropical storm in 2000.

Michael – Hurricane in 2000. Hit Newfoundland as an extratropical system.

Nadine – Tropical storm in 2000.

Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sandy, Tony, Valerie, and William have never been used. The various seasonal forecasts suggest that we might not see any of those names this season either.

Duke at Florida State 2/23/12

February 23, 2012

7:00 ET ESPN

At some point this week, it became clear to me that tonight’s game is the basketball equivalent of the football game against Oklahoma last September: A game highly anticipated by the Seminole faithful that everyone wishes they could attend.  While the Oklahoma days in front game had a “happy times are here again” feel due to their being many such big games in the past, tonight’s game is a rarity.  While the Duke and UNC games are well attended and serve to FSU basketball what the football team serves to everyone else in the ACC, there has rarely been  little more than pride on the line.  The times that FSU have hosted a top 15 team and been on equal ground are quite few in number (gleaned from the game notes on seminoles.com) :

  • January 10,1998  – Duke 75 FSU 63 – I was reminded of this game when I reading the news that student tickets for tonight’s game were distributed in 15 minutes . Once upon a time, student tickets for the basketball games were issued at the door; they could not be procured in advance. A near disaster before the opening of doors for this game changed that.  The 13th ranked Seminoles lost to the 2nd ranked Blue Devils and I lost my voice for the better part of a week.
  • February 27, 1993  - UNC 86 FSU 76 –  UNC was #3 and FSU was #6.  Looking back on the 1992-1993 season, one notes that FSU would have finished in a tie with UNC for the regular season title had they won.  Looking over the box scores for this game and the ones preceding it, I note the absence of Charlie Ward.  I assume he was a known “injured / will not play” before the game and that took some luster off the anticipation.
  • February 16, 1989 – Louisville 78 FSU 77 – (OT) The one game in which FSU (#7) was higher ranked than their opponent (#10).  FSU did finish the 1988-1989 season as regular season champions of the Metro conference, having beaten Louisville on the road earlier in the season.  They lost to the Cardinals in the conference tournament final, however.
  • February 17, 1978 – FSU 81 Lousivlle 70 – This game between the 14th ranked Seminoles and 9th ranked Cardinals was played in Tully Gym.

A win tonight would put the Seminoles atop the ACC standings and represent their third straight victory against the Blue Devils.  Here’s hoping for some of that 1978 magic.

 

POSTSCRIPT: Alas, it was a bit more like 1998 than 1978: Duke 74 Florida State 66. Although, back then, anytime FSU got behind more than 6 points the game felt hopelessly lost; tonight the Seminoles fell behind by 13 with two minutes to go in the first half but whittled the deficit down to seven at halftime and later closed the game to three points with the ball in hand.

On a pleasant evening in the River City, fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars gathered at Everbank Field to see the franchise’s new owner and head coach, Shahid Khan and Mike Mularkey along with general manger Gene Smith.

Ready to rise crowd

Ready to rise for a winning team

Jaguars great Tony Boselli served as the master of ceremonies for the event.  Before the team management appeared, he hosted a random assortment of Jaguars on stage, including Montell Owens, Derek Cox, Jeremy Mincey, Greg Jones, Brock Bolen, Zach Miller, John Chick, Ebben Britton,Corvey Irvin, and Corvey Orvin. Conspicuously absent was quarterback Blaine Gabbert. A sharply dressed Derek Cox enthusiastically addressed the crowd as did Montell Owens.

Once the leadership took the stage, Gene Smith was the first to speak.  It will be interesting to see whether he continues to be a public face. 1010 XL’s Rick Ballou has complained many a time that the public never sees Smith, that the general manager is ‘always in his bunker.’

The new head coach came was next to stand with the microphone.

Mike Mularkey

The head coach speaks

He introduced the defensive coaching staff that has been assembled thus far.  There were big cheers, biggest of the evening in fact, for defensive coordinator Mel Tucker.

Finally, it was Shahid Khan’s turn.

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan

The man and his moustache

None had anything of note to say in their remarks. The question and answer session did have a few things worth of mention:

  • Mike Mularkey was asked whether the interview of Keenan McCardell (who was a star wide receiver opposite Jimmy Smith in the team’s glory days) for Wide Receiver coach was a ‘courtesy interview’ or there was a legitimate interest. Mularkey was emphatic that there’s no such thing as a courtesy interview and McCardell was seriously being considered (along with others) for the position.  The crowd made it’s support of McCardell known; Boselli acknowledged that if the franchise were a democracy, Keenan would be the WR coach.
  • A question directed towards all three concerned whether the Jaguars would be aggressive towards acquiring offensive stand-outs in free agency as they were in (quite successfully, I may note) acquiring defensive players in the previous off-season.  Gene Smith acknowledged that he is looking to “upgrade the team’s weapons on offense”.  Mularkey was content with Smith’s answer and had nothing further to say. Khan qupped “Gene, Mike, please do that!”
  • Shahid Khan enumerated a few things he is going to do to make Jacksonville the benchmark for the fan experience
    • Wireless antennas in the stadium so everyone could check on their fantasy football team without suffering slow connections.
    • An upgraded sound system for the stadium
    • More screens in the stadium.  He further added that there would be “no advertisements ” on  the screen; he noted that while he appreciates the advertisers’ support, he does not want anything to detract from the fan experience.

The owner ought to have been pleased with the turnout.  The crowd photo was taken from a few rows back, just right of center in the south end zone, looking left. The “wrap-around” crowd was equally sizable to the right.  Indeed, he seemed to be beaming throughout the event.

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan

Happy to be here

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