Scientists start project to improve hurricane intensity forecasts

When National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read inevitably shows up on TV this summer to discuss a major storm, he can have high confidence in the forecast track map, better known to the rest of us as ``the cone of doom.''

That's because scientists have gotten much better at figuring out where storms are going, cutting two-day error margins roughly in half over the last decade. Predicting a hurricane's power, however, has remained more miss than hit -- particularly during that critical phase when a hurricane can go from minor to major in a matter of hours.

``Ninety percent of the time we simply don't catch the rapid intensification,'' said Read. ``You miss the fact that it goes up 40 to 50 miles per hour.''

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