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Mark DeMaria
James L. Franklin
Rachel Zelinsky
David A. Zelinsky
Matthew J. Onderlinde
John A. Knaff
Stephanie N. Stevenson
John Kaplan
Kate D. Musgrave
Galina Chirokova
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Charles R. Sampson


The National Hurricane Center (NHC) uses a variety of guidance models for its operational tropical cyclone track, intensity, and wind structure forecasts, and as baselines for the evaluation of forecast skill. A set of the simpler models, collectively known as the NHC guidance suite, is maintained by NHC. The models comprising the guidance suite are briefly described and evaluated, with details provided for those that have not been documented previously. Decay-SHIFOR is a modified version of the Statistical Hurricane Intensity Forecast (SHIFOR) model that includes decay over land; this modification improves the SHIFOR forecasts through about 96 h. T-CLIPER, a climatology and persistence model that predicts track and intensity using a trajectory approach, has error characteristics similar to those of CLIPER and D-SHIFOR but can be run to any forecast length. The Trajectory and Beta model (TAB), another trajectory track model, applies a gridpoint spatial filter to smooth winds from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Global Forecast System (GFS) model. TAB model errors were 10%–15% lower than those of the Beta and Advection model (BAM), the model it replaced in 2017. Optimizing TAB’s vertical weights shows that the lower troposphere’s environmental flow provides a better match to observed tropical cyclone motion than does the upper troposphere’s, and that the optimal steering layer is shallower for higher-latitude and weaker tropical cyclones. The advantages and disadvantages of the D-SHIFOR, T-CLIPER, and TAB models relative to their earlier counterparts are discussed.

Significance Statement

This paper provides a comprehensive summary and evaluation of a set of simpler forecast models used as guidance for NHC’s operational tropical cyclone forecasts, and as baselines for the evaluation of forecast skill; these include newer techniques that extend forecasts to 7 days and beyond.

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