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Brian Brettschneider


This study examines the historical record of hurricanes and tropical storms in the Atlantic Ocean basin to determine the eventual landfall probability for the U.S. coastline based on the complete tracks of those storms. The current method for estimating empirical landfall probabilities is to report a frequency based on the number of storms affecting a region over a certain period of time. A spatial dimension is added in this study to determine which storms in all portions of the basin might ultimately strike the United States based on the historical record. For example, if a tropical cyclone is near the island of Puerto Rico, which portions (if any) of the U.S. coastline are most at risk of eventual landfall? A tessellation of hexagons is systematically evaluated, and eventual landfall probabilities are calculated for all storms passing through each hexagon. Probabilities are calculated and mapped for four individual states and for the United States as a whole. The maps show the spatial areas that contribute storms to each of the states. In addition, an average length of time until landfall is calculated for the entire Atlantic basin based on the complete period of record. This highlights regions of the Atlantic basin lying outside of the maximum forecast period, up to 15 days prior to potential landfall.

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