You may be seeing East Texas in the path of more tropical storms and hurricanes over the coming years. We’re not necessarily talking about more storms or stronger storms (that’s a whole other conversation), but rather the way the National Hurricane Center is forecasting these storms. Specifically changing their outlooks from 5 days to 7 days.

For many years, the National Hurricane Center has been forecasting the path and strength of storms using a 5-day forecast cone. This cone is used to predict the path of the center of the storm. The National Hurricane Center is working on transitioning to a 7-day forecast cone, meaning the cone will go out 7 days, rather than 5. This could lead to East Texas falling under the “cone of uncertainty” more than previous years.

Meteorologists started issuing 24-hour hurricane forecasts back in 1954, 2-day forecasts in 1961, then moved to 3-day forecasts in 1964. In 2003, 5-day forecasts became the norm and the National Hurricane Center has been using them ever since.

Scientists have been experimenting with the 7-day outlook for a few years now, but researchers say there was too much of a margin of error with days 6 and 7.

What these outlooks do not do, is forecast the storms winds and their impacts. This responsibility falls on the Wind Speed Probabilities. This is a separate product that the National Hurricane Center issues.

Whether or not East Texas actually sees more outlooks overhead or not is still to be seen. The 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season is forecast to be near normal according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Their outlook indicates we’ll see 9-15 named storms, 4-8 of which will be hurricanes, 2-4 of which will be major hurricanes at category 3 or higher. What this outlook does not indicate however is how many of these storms will impact land, including the mainland U.S.

This is something that we’ll keep a close eye on and of course if any storms develop and threaten East Texas, we’ll be sure to let you know.