Hurricane Irma Models GFS, European Show Latest Possible Tracks [Updated]

Hurricane Irma models

National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Irma has passed over Puerto Rico and is currently approximately 40 miles south of Grank Turk Island. The storm is still a very powerful Category 5, moving WNW at 16 mph. Irma is expected to hit the popular vacation destination of Turks and Caicos, set to bring plenty of rain and very strong wind to the area.

For days, people have been looking at the two most trusted models — the GFS, which is the U.S. model, and the ECMWF, the European model. They have been showing different possible tracks for Irma, but have been pretty similar in their most recent updates — until the European model’s 2 p.m. update.

The state of Florida has been on high alert since Monday, keeping a close eye on each model — and on the spaghetti models (which show the different projected paths) — to see where Irma might go. As of this morning, both the GFS and the European models had Irma tracking further east, clipping southern Florida before heading up its east coast.

As you can see in the graphic below, the European model (left) still shows Irma over central Florida.

Below is a video from the latest GFS update (as of 7:30 p.m. Eastern, September 7).

“The US analog to the European model is the Global Forecast System. It has a lower resolution, and it typically doesn’t perform quite as well. However, this GFS model has some benefits: it runs four times a day, and NOAA freely makes the data available to anyone who wants it,” reports Ars Technica.

Below is a video and a graphic showing the latest European update (as of 2:00 p.m. Eastern, September 7).

“This forecast system has superior hardware to run its calculations. But more importantly, it has a method by which it better assimilates real-world data—observations from weather networks around the world, atmospheric soundings, reconnaissance aircraft, and much more—into its calculations,” Ars Technica says of the ECMWF.