Skip Navigation Links weather.gov   
NOAA logo - Click to go to the NOAA homepage National Weather Service   NWS logo - Click to go to the NWS homepage
National Hurricane Center
Local forecast by
"City, St" or "ZIP"

 
Alternate Formats
   Text     |   Mobile
   Email   |   RSS XML/RSS logo
   About Alternates
Cyclone Forecasts
   Latest Advisory
   Past Advisories
   Audio/Podcasts
   About Advisories
Marine Forecasts
   Atlantic & E Pacific
   Gridded Marine
   About Marine
Tools & Data
   Satellite | Radar
   Analysis Tools
   Aircraft Recon
   GIS Datasets
   Data Archive
Development
   Experimental
   Research
   Forecast Accuracy
Outreach & Education
   Prepare
   Storm Surge
   About Cyclones
   Cyclone Names
   Wind Scale
   Most Extreme
   Forecast Models
   Breakpoints
   Resources
   Glossary | Acronyms
   Frequent Questions
Our Organization
   About NHC
   Mission & Vision
   Staff | Q&A
   Visitors | Virtual Tour
   Library Branch
   NCEP | Newsletter
Contact Us
   Comments
Follow the National Hurricane Center on Facebook Follow the National Hurricane Center on Twitter
Subscribe the National Hurricane Center on YouTube Read the National Hurricane Center Inside the Eye blog on WordPress
FirstGov.gov is the U.S. Government's official Web portal to all Federal, state and local government Web resources and services.
 
 

Tropical Cyclone Report

Hurricane Howard

30 August - 5 September 2004

Jack Beven
National Hurricane Center
13 December 2004

Howard was a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale over the eastern North Pacific Ocean west of the coast of Mexico.

a. Synoptic History

Howard formed from a tropical wave that moved westward across the coast of Africa on 18 August. While there was no development as the wave crossed the Atlantic, an increase in the associated shower activity occurred on 26 August when the system reached the western Caribbean and the eastern North Pacific. The wave then moved west-northwestward parallel to the coast of Central America and Mexico. Shower activity increased in both coverage and organization on 29 August, and continued development resulted in the formation of a tropical depression around 1200 UTC 30 August about 350 n mi south-southwest of Acapulco, Mexico. The "best track" chart of the tropical cyclone's path is given in Figure 1, with the wind and pressure histories shown in Figure 2 and Figure 3, respectively. The best track positions and intensities are listed in Table 1.

The depression moved west-northwestward on the southwest side of a mid-level ridge over Mexico and strengthened. It became a tropical storm early on 31 August and a hurricane on 1 September. Howard then strengthened rapidly and reached an estimated peak intensity of 120 kt on 2 September. This was followed by weakening as Howard moved northwestward over decreasing sea surface temperatures. Howard weakened to a tropical storm on 4 September and a tropical depression early on 5 September. The cyclone became a non-convective remnant low later that day about 230 n mi west-southwest of Punta Eugenia, Mexico.

The remnant low continued slowly northwestward until 6 September when it turned southwestward on the south east side of a low-level ridge. A general southwestward motion would continue until 10 September, when the low finally dissipated about 1000 n mi west-southwest of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

b. Meteorological Statistics

Observations in Howard (Figure 2 and Figure 3) include satellite-based Dvorak technique intensity estimates from the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB), the Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB) and the U. S. Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA). Microwave satellite imagery from NOAA polar-orbiting satellites, the NASA Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), the NASA Aqua, the NASA QuikSCAT, and Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellites were also useful in tracking Howard.

The only surface observation of tropical storm winds in Howard was from the ship Strong Virginian (call sign KSPH), which reported winds of 37 kt at 0600 UTC 4 September.

c. Casualty and Damage Statistics

There were no reports of damages or casualties associated with Howard.

d. Forecast and Warning Critique

Average official track errors (with the number of cases in parentheses) for Howard were 32 (22), 46 (20), 65 (18), 88 (16), 123 (12), 184 (8), and 193 (4) n mi for the 12, 24, 36, 48, 72, 96, and 120 h forecasts, respectively. These errors are lower than the average official track errors for the 10-yr period 1994-2003[1] (38, 70, 100, 127, 180, 210, and 247 n mi, respectively), (Table 2). However, several of the track guidance models had lower average errors than the official forecast, most notably the GFDL and GUNS, which were better than the official forecast at all times. These models more accurately forecasted the northwestward motion of Howard early in its life while the official forecasts called for a west-northwesterly motion - a left bias - during that time.

Average official intensity errors were 9, 16, 20, 24, 27, 19 and 13 kt for the 12, 24, 36, 48, 72, 96, and 120 h forecasts, respectively. For comparison, the average official intensity errors over the 10-yr period 1994-2003 are 6, 11, 15, 17, 20, 18, and 19 kt, respectively. The mostly larger than average intensity errors resulted from a combination of underforecasting how strong Howard would get early in its lifetime and overforecasting how strong it would remain later in its life.

Watches and warnings were not necessary for Howard.

[1]Errors given for the 96 and 120 h periods are averages over the three-year period 2001-3.



Table 1: Best track for Hurricane Howard, 30 August - 5 September 2004.
Date/Time
(UTC)
PositionPressure
(mb)
Wind Speed
(kt)
Stage
Lat.
(°N)
Lon.
(°W)
 30 / 1200 11.9 103.1 1008 25 tropical depression
 30 / 1800 12.7 103.7 1007 30 "
 31 / 0000 13.3 104.6 1005 35 tropical storm
 31 / 0600 13.7 105.6 1003 40 "
 31 / 1200 14.1 106.7 1000 45 "
 31 / 1800 14.6 107.7 997 50 "
 01 / 0000 15.0 108.5 994 55 "
 01 / 0600 15.5 109.5 987 65 hurricane
 01 / 1200 16.1 110.6 984 70 "
 01 / 1800 16.5 111.4 980 75 "
 02 / 0000 16.8 112.0 976 80 "
 02 / 0600 17.3 112.6 960 100 "
 02 / 1200 17.8 113.3 943 120 "
 02 / 1800 18.3 113.9 943 120 "
 03 / 0000 18.8 114.5 948 115 "
 03 / 0600 19.2 114.9 960 100 "
 03 / 1200 19.9 115.4 970 90 "
 03 / 1800 20.8 115.9 976 80 "
 04 / 0000 21.6 116.5 984 70 "
 04 / 0600 22.4 117.0 987 65 "
 04 / 1200 23.2 117.5 991 60 tropical storm
 04 / 1800 23.9 118.0 995 50 "
 05 / 0000 24.4 118.3 999 40 "
 05 / 0600 24.8 118.5 1002 30 tropical depression
 05 / 1200 25.5 118.7 1002 30 "
 05 / 1800 26.0 118.8 1004 25 remnant low
 06 / 0000 26.6 119.0 1005 25 "
 06 / 0600 27.2 119.2 1007 25 "
 06 / 1200 27.5 119.5 1007 20 "
 06 / 1800 27.5 120.1 1010 20 "
 07 / 0000 27.3 120.8 1010 20 "
 07 / 0600 26.7 121.2 1010 20 "
 07 / 1200 26.1 121.6 1011 20 "
 07 / 1800 25.5 122.0 1011 20 "
 08 / 0000 24.9 122.4 1009 20 "
 08 / 0600 24.2 122.9 1010 20 "
 08 / 1200 23.5 123.4 1009 20 "
 08 / 1800 23.0 124.0 1009 20 "
 09 / 0000 22.6 124.5 1009 20 "
 09 / 0600 22.2 125.1 1009 20 "
 09 / 1200 21.8 125.8 1009 20 "
 09 / 1800 21.1 126.5 1009 20 "
 10 / 0000 20.4 127.1 1010 20 "
 10 / 0600 19.6 127.5 1011 20 "
 10 / 1200     dissipated
 02 / 1200 17.8 113.3 943 120 minimum pressure


Table 2: Preliminary forecast evaluation (heterogeneous sample) for Hurricane Howard, 30 August - 5 September 2004. Forecast errors (n mi) are followed by the number of forecasts in parentheses. Errors smaller than the NHC official forecast (OFCL) are shown in bold-face type. Verification includes the depression stage, but does not include the extratropical stage, if any.
Forecast TechniquePeriod (hours)
122436487296120
CLP535 (23) 70 (21) 100 (19) 148 (17) 219 (13) 257 (9) 248 (5) 
GFDI26 (21)39 (19)53 (17)70 (15)98 (11)120 (7)112 (3)
GFDL*30 (22)44 (20)58 (18)69 (16)91 (12)110 (8)151 (4)
GFNI38 (20) 74 (18) 103 (16) 131 (14) 163 (10) 205 (6) 151 (1)
GFDN*33 (19) 67 (17) 97 (15) 125 (13) 157 (9) 192 (5) 132 (2)
AF1I34 (16) 46 (14) 50(12)67(10)159 (6)   
AFW1*49 (9) 56 (8) 62 (7)63 (6)107 (4)  
COEI36 (20) 60 (18) 76 (16) 97 (14)    
COCE*38 (10) 60 (10) 75 (9) 82 (8)   
LBAR36 (21) 75 (19) 106 (17) 146 (15) 250 (13) 331 (9) 428 (5) 
P91E33 (22) 53 (20) 61 (18)66 (16)94 (12)117 (8)112 (5)
P9UK29 (11)48 (10) 72 (9) 90 (8) 132 (7)   
BAMD45 (23) 78 (21) 104 (19) 137 (17) 194 (13) 225 (9) 146 (5)
BAMM36 (23) 63 (21) 99 (19) 142 (17) 243 (13) 386 (9) 386 (5) 
BAMS35 (23) 59 (21) 97 (19) 142 (17) 259 (13) 433 (9) 540 (5) 
NGPI38 (21) 57 (19) 77 (17) 104 (15) 199 (11) 317 (7) 404 (3) 
NGPS*42 (22) 59 (20) 76 (18) 99 (16) 170 (12) 290 (8) 419 (4) 
UKMI32 (20) 59 (18) 79 (16) 99 (14) 132 (10) 169 (6)422 (2) 
UKM*43 (11) 60 (10) 81 (9) 82 (8)121 (6)179 (4)258 (2) 
GFSI39 (21) 73 (19) 109 (17) 141 (15) 248 (11) 365 (7) 462 (2) 
GFS*48 (22) 81 (20) 119 (18) 147 (16) 238 (12) 357 (8) 546 (3) 
AEMI30 (21)50 (19) 67 (17) 98 (15) 179 (11) 261 (7) 307 (3) 
AEMN*49 (22) 63 (20) 82 (18) 105 (16) 179 (12) 265 (8) 338 (4) 
GUNS25 (20)39 (18)55 (16)77 (14)122 (10)102 (6)93 (2)
GUNA26 (20)42 (18)59 (16)85 (14)141 (10) 171 (6)106 (2)
CONU27 (21)45 (19)64 (17)90 (15) 141 (11) 157 (7)121 (3)
OFCI27(21)48 (19) 66 (17) 89 (15) 137 (11) 194 (7) 221 (3) 
OFCL32 (22) 46 (20) 65 (18) 88 (16) 123 (12) 184 (8) 193 (4) 
NHC Official (1994-2003 mean)38 (2746) 70 (2474) 100 (2196) 127 (1928) 180 (1476) 210 (283) 247 (179) 

*Output from these models was unavailable at forecast time.

Best track positions for Hurricane Howard

Figure 1: Best track positions for Hurricane Howard, 30 August - 5 September 2004.

Selected wind observations and best track maximum sustained surface wind speed curve for Hurricane Howard

Figure 2: Selected wind observations and best track maximum sustained surface wind speed curve for Hurricane Howard, 30 August - 5 September 2004.

Selected pressure observations and best track minimum central pressure curve for Hurricane Howard

Figure 3: Selected pressure observations and best track minimum central pressure curve for Hurricane Howard, 30 August - 5 September 2004.



Quick Navigation Links:
Tropical Cyclone Forecasts  -  Tropical Marine Forecasts  -  Data Archive
Outreach  -  Prepare  -  About Cyclones  -  About NHC  -  Contact Us

NOAA/ National Weather Service
National Centers for Environmental Prediction
National Hurricane Center
11691 SW 17th Street
Miami, Florida 33165 USA
nhcwebmaster@noaa.gov
Disclaimer
Credits
Information Quality
Glossary
Privacy Policy
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
About Us
Career Opportunities
Page last modified: Tuesday, 15-Mar-2005 21:06:17 UTC