Hurricane expert gives Florida 75 percent chance of a hit in 2014
By Joe Callahan
Staff writer Ocala Star Banner
Published: Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 4:02 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 4:02 p.m.
An Ocala hurricane prediction service warned Tuesday that Florida has a 75 percent chance of getting hit with a hurricane in 2014 — a much higher probability than other forecasters see.
Ocala Florida resident David Dilley, who owns and operates Global Weather Oscillations Inc., says his high-tech computer modeling projects more hurricane landfalls in the United States than in recent years.
Dilley said he spent decades building what he calls a one-of-a-kind computerized forecasting tool that is based on decades of weather cycle information. Dilley says his system can predict the volatility of a hurricane season up to four years in advance.
The last time Florida was affected by hurricanes was 2005, when four struck. Two of those were major hurricanes: Dennis in July and Wilma in October. It has been nearly 10 years since Marion County received a double dose of hurricanes: Frances in early September 2004 and Jeanne three weeks later.
Dilley noted in a press release Tuesday: “The upcoming season will be stronger and more dangerous, an about face from 2013,” when tropical activity was suppressed by upper atmospheric wind shear.
“This doesn’t mean we are predicting an above-average number of hurricanes, but an above-average number of landfalls,” said Dilley, referring to landfalls in the U.S. when compared to recent years.
Hurricane experts with Colorado State and North Carolina State universities are calling for a below-normal hurricane season in 2014. As for Florida: They predict it has only a 20 percent chance of getting hit by a hurricane. Experts with those universities expect a moderate to strong El Nino, which can stunt the growth of hurricanes.
El Nino produces warmer-than-normal waters in the Pacific Ocean near the equator and can cause upper-level wind shear in the Atlantic Ocean.
The experts at Colorado State, William Gray and Phil Klotzbach, also are predicting cooler-than-average water temperatures in the tropical Atlantic. The cooler the water, the weaker the hurricane.“I would be very skeptical of any model that claims four years of weather prediction skill,” Klotzbach said Tuesday. “Our seasonal forecast model indicates a relatively quiet season is probably in store, which would reduce the odds of a Florida landfall.”
The other two hurricane prediction agencies, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and AccuWeather, also are calling for a below-average season. Those weather agencies did not give a Florida landfall percentage.
Dennis Feltgen, a National Hurricane Center spokesman, said the agency will not comment on other hurricane season predictions, especially those provided by private industry.
In early May, Dilley predicted 13 named storms including six hurricanes, two of which would be major.
The average is 12 named storms including six hurricanes, three of which are major.
Dilley’s prediction is higher than Colorado State and North Carolina State (nine named storms), AccuWeather (10) and NOAA (eight to 13).
In early May, Dilley wouldn’t release specific details, such as the odds of a Florida landfall, because he sells the predictions to businesses, such as insurance companies. He did, however, predict “two or more hurricanes making landfall” in the United States in 2014.
He said the high-probability area was from Louisiana to Pensacola in the upper Gulf of Mexico. On Tuesday, Dilley changed his mind about issuing a Florida prediction, but would not issue the specific landfall areas within the state.
Dilley’s computers utilize long-term climate models, while NOAA uses several short-term weather cycle-type oscillation models.
All the experts factor in La Nina or El Nino influences to forecast six months to a year into the future. None of the agencies uses weather cycle data to predict hurricane activity four years into the future.
Dilley, 68, who was a NOAA meteorologist for two decades, says his models have accurately predicted hurricane activity in each of the past five seasons, while most other forecast agencies have missed the mark more times than not.
Dilley uses his prediction model, called Climate Pulse Technology, to analyze coastal impacts in 11 zones.
After analyzing the data, Dilley projects hurricane and tropical storm probabilities for each of those zones.
Dilley said his agency, unlike the other agencies, predicted a slow season in 2013 and an active season in 2012.
Joe Callahan can be reached at 867-4113 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at JoeOcalaNews.
By Joe Callahan
Published: Monday, December 16, 2013 at 1:19 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, December 16, 2013 at 1:19 p.m.
David Dilley has spent decades building a computerized weather forecast model that he says can predict the volatility of a hurricane season up to four years in advance.
David Dilley owns and operates Global Weather Oscillation, a company that uses past weather cycles to accurately predict the number storms during a hurricane season. He is shown in the Ocala Star-Banner studio in Ocala.
Dilley, 68, an Ocala resident who owns and operates Global Weather Oscillations Inc., recently unveiled his computer model concept, which he touts as a one-of-a-kind long-range forecasting tool that relies on weather cycles.
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration uses several short-term weather cycle-type oscillation models — as well as La Nina or El Nino influences — to forecast six months to a year into the future. NOAA does not use weather cycle data to predict hurricanes four years out.
Dilley, a former NOAA meteorologist who worked in Boston for two decades, says his models can predict hurricane activity years ahead.
He sells his expertise to clients such as insurance agencies. Those companies use the hurricane forecasts before deciding when, or whether, to expand into coastal markets down the road.
Dilley said he has gathered decades of weather data that help identify specific weather cycles, which in turn help him predict the frequency of hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Dilley says his models have accurately predicted hurricane activity in each of the past five seasons.
Using the model, Dilley projects the activity in 11 different Atlantic and Gulf Coast zones. He has found that each of the zones has varying weather cycles — up to about 50 years each. And each zone’s cycle has its own smaller weather cycle. Once all of the cycles within cycles are discovered, a pattern for each zone emerges.
After analyzing the data, Dilley then projects hurricane and tropical storm probabilities for each of the 11 zones. Dilley said his agency, unlike the major prognosticators, predicted a slow season in 2013 and an active season in 2012.
Dilley believes his prediction model, called “Climate Pulse Technology,” proves that weather cycles are the most accurate long-range hurricane forecast tool in the market.
Like NOAA, Colorado State University, which is known nationally as a leader in hurricane forecasting, predicted a very active hurricane season in 2013. It turned out to be one of the least active in decades.
Because of CSU’s inaccurate forecast, as well as a few others in recent years, lead researchers Phil Klotzbach and William Gray are having trouble raising research funding. CSU may bow out of the forecast game in February for the first time in three decades.
“It’s hard to ask for money when you have had your worst forecast,” Klotzbach told the Insurance Journal in a story published Nov. 21. “It is like batting .180 and then going into free agency.”
Dilley will not share every aspect of his computerized prediction system, or predictions in specific zones throughout the United States. That is information he sells to clients. Until he publishes his research, or can sit down with other meteorologists to share how he arrives at his forecasts, Dilley’s claims will be in doubt by some in the science community.
“I don’t know if it is luck or real science,” said Scott Cordero, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service in Jacksonville. “But we, as scientists, have to be skeptical” of being able to predict hurricanes four years into the future.
Dilley is so confident in his system that he recently gave his 2014 hurricane season forecast. Dilley predicts that the 2014 hurricane season, which runs June 1 through Nov. 30, will be an above-average season. He said there will be 17 named storms and eight hurricanes, three of them Category 3 or greater.
Dilley said that while man is playing some role in global warming, he believes most climate changes are primarily attributable to weather cycles.
He disputed the notion that hurricanes occur randomly and are impossible to predict.
“They are no random hurricanes,” he noted. “Everything comes in cycles.”
Despite the fact some may doubt his forecasting, one insurance company has relied on Dilley’s service since 2005. One CEO, who is now retired, said Dilley and Dilley’s company, Global Weather Oscillations, possibly saved his company millions in 2011 and 2012.
It was just after 2004’s hurricane onslaught when Florida insurance executive Don Cronin began looking for more accurate long-range hurricane forecasts.
Forecasts from once-reliable sources, such as universities, were becoming unreliable, and Cronin needed a more accurate look into the future.After all, accurate hurricane forecasts along the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf Coast can help save insurance companies millions of dollars annually. At the time, Cronin was the chief executive officer of United Property and Casualty, based in St. Petersburg. Cronin, now retired, heard a presentation from Dilley.
Dilley spent decades researching weather cycles from the last century and gave a presentation to Cronin’s staff in 2005.
Cronin said the weather-cycle presentation made sense. He remembered thinking that, if it were true, his company could know years in advance of the potential expansion areas to avoid.
Cronin hired Dilley’s company and never regretted the move, he said. Cronin believes Dilley’s forecasts likely saved United Property and Casualty millions of dollars in 2011 and 2012. Cronin began debating in 2010 whether to expand into Massachusetts the following year. The state had approved his insurance company’s plans for expansion. Once he got approval, Cronin consulted Dilley and Dilley’s company about the Northeast zone outlook.
Dilley’s model predicted the Northeast would be a hot zone for hurricane activity in 2011.
“I told him to wait (to expand) in 2011,” Dilley recalled. He also shared his concern about another active year in the Northeast in 2012.
Based on Dilley’s advice, Cronin postponed the expansion into Massachusetts. That year Hurricane Irene hit North Carolina, skirted the coast and crossed Long Island into Massachusetts, causing nearly $17 billion in damage.
“It was because of David’s forecast that I decided not to expand that year,” Cronin said.
The company decided not to expand in 2012 either, in part because Dilley predicted another hot zone in the Northeast and the likelihood of a major storm. That storm turned out to be Sandy, which caused $70 billion in damage to the region, including New Jersey — where United Property and Casualty is now expanding.
“It is important to the insurance industry to have that kind of insight,” Cronin said.
Though some people may not agree with Dilley’s assertion that weather cycles can be used to predict hurricanes, Cronin relied on Dilley’s data because it was more consistently accurate than Colorado State University’s, “which was getting it wrong more often than not,” Cronin said.
Dilley said he believes the time is now to get more people interested in his company. He believes emergency management officials, big-box stores and law enforcement could benefit. Dilley said it was in 2009 that he really began to see the accuracy of his models paying off. And his work is gaining attention. Dilley is now working with Wall Street Network Solutions, which has built online risk management solutions for companies on a website called XtremeGis — www.xtremegis.com/.
Dilley’s company is teaming up with WSN to compile outlook packages to sell to clients.
On the XtremeGis site, there is a PowerPoint slide portraying one of Dilley’s forecasts. Accuweather will supply the short-term forecasts and he’ll supply the long-term forecasts, Dilley said of the partnership.
“There is no doubt in my mind that weather comes in cycles,” Dilley noted. “And I think what I have going here proves that.”
For Cordera, the NOAA meteorologist in charge, he would love to sit down with Dilley and see his product.
And if turns out to be as accurate as Dilley portrays, Cordera says he would be happy “to take a class” from Dilley.
“I do have severe reservations about a product that claims it can predict (hurricane season) four years out,” Cordera said. “I wish his research was published. I would love to see it.”