Storm Front

Hurricane experts push to improve intensity forecasts

By Alexandra Witze, 12:26 PM May 17, 2012

Anyone waiting for Hurricane Irene on North Carolina’s coast last August might have been a little disappointed. As the storm barreled toward the Outer Banks, parka-clad TV meteorologists lined the beaches in anticipation. But instead of grinding ashore as powerfully as expected, Irene wimped out, hitting land with wind speeds about 10 percent weaker than predicted.

Just as easily, hurricanes can do the opposite, strengthening when they’re not expected to. Take Charley, which jumped two cate...

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