Budgets cuts, politics and tropical weather

Screenshot July 5, 2017 at 11:45 am ET. From NHC via Hurricane Tracker iOS app.

Watching the tropics for potential storm threats is an active part of being a Floridian. But that might become harder according to forecasters. The AP has an excellent story today about budget cuts and how it is potentially impacting our ability to track and forecast storms. But in this partisan climate in Washington, few if any representatives from Florida have made this potential safety danger to the state a public priority, perhaps because it doesn’t fit neatly into any politically-motivated talking point. That’s saved for after the storm when the party out of power in a given area attacks the elected officials in power for inadequate preparation and a slow response.

But down the road when a storm ravages the state and the forecast models weren’t as accurate as the media and politicians would have expected perhaps we can cite this moment when the pols were warned but didn’t do anything?

Meanwhile the tropics are active once again…

Having woken up from a decade-long run of luck (Florida suffered zero direct hits from Hurricanes from 2006 to 2015), Florida in 2017 seems as vulnerable as in 2004 and 2005. Already this summer, a tropical system has dropped records amount of rain in parts of the state

Typically in June and July, storms form off the Yucatan Peninsula or Central America, much like they do in October and November. However, the current disturbance (pictured at the right) which has a 70% chance of become something stronger has the characteristics of a classic Cape Verde type storm in terms of its location and pattern of potential development. Cape Verde storms typically appears from mid August until early October.

For now it’s important Floridians keep an eye on the tropics and prepare to cope with a potential storm this season. This potential storm may not threaten Florida but it’s ominous to see a Cape Verde type development in early July.


  1. Thank you for your column today Kartik Krishnaiyer. I recently did a podcast interview with Steve Weagle, Chief Meteorologist at WPTV TV5 in West Palm Beach. We discuss NOAA cuts, and the deletion of work on predicting tornadoes in the Southern U.S, among other things, that will affect his ability to forecast locally in South Florida. Here is a link to the podcast interview. FYI: The first half of the interview is about Steve Weagle. The second half is regarding the budget cuts etc.


    1. Excellent! Thanks!!! This interview is great.


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