Thursday, November 17, 2016   |   Case Studies, Critical Weather

Baron Forecast Model Performance during Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew was a major storm—at its greatest intensity, a Category 5 hurricane—that severely impacted Haiti on October 4, 2016. The storm then proceeded to track northward, skirting the eastern Florida coast with heavy, flooding rains and strong winds, beginning in the evening of October 6.

The remainder of that week and into the weekend, Matthew continued to move along the Georgia and North Carolina coastlines, inundating coastal counties with severe flooding.

This analysis compares the performance of the 15km Baron model with other forecast models during Matthew’s approach to the continental United States. Over the course of Matthew’s lifespan, the Baron forecast model presented a very consistent and accurate track across multiple runs, and was the only forecast model known to have done so. Other models depicted an excessive curvature back inland, which did not actually occur.

Note: the Baron forecast projects out to 96 hours, while the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast track projects out to 120 hours.


October 5 – Before U.S. Landfall

hurricane-matthew-baron-model1 hurricane-matthew-nhc1 hurricane-matthew-model1





After the National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued its forecast track on October 5 at 2 a.m. ET, some hurricane models began to depict a recurving of Matthew off the South Carolina coast, out into the western Atlantic, then continuing to circle back to the south and southwest towards the Bahamas (and possibly southeastern Florida). The NHC also began to forecast this track, while the Baron 15km model remained consistent.


October 7 – Off the Coast of Florida


These images depict Precipitation Rate (left) and Winds (right) products from the Baron model, as forecasted on October 5.


October 8 – Leaving the Coast


Above, imagery from October 8 reveals how the storm has travelled along the coastline, producing heavy rainfall (left) and high winds (right).


Near the end of Matthew’s transition to an extratropical system on October 9, other models began to shift out into the western Atlantic, as had been forecasted days before by the Baron model.







The images here compare the Baron model forecast track with other forecast tracks issued on October 8.




The superior accuracy of the Baron forecast model enabled better, more timely decision-making for both stakeholders and the general public. The image below shows the actual final track of Hurricane Matthew.











Additional Resources

This clip compares the actual track of Hurricane Matthew (dashed gray line) with a run of the Baron model. The display system used is Baron Lynx.

This clip compares the Baron model to high-resolution Reflectivity data. The display system used is Baron Lynx.