Spaghetti plots and other tropical storm forecasting tools

What are spaghetti plots?
Hurricane Plot.jpg
Posted at 6:07 AM, Jul 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-29 06:07:51-04

With hurricane season in full swing, we are becoming more accustomed to seeing more tropical forecasts.

Many meteorologists show a forecast fan, which shows the projected path and a timeline. These projected paths are not made up though, but based off a lot of weather data.

In fact, you may have seen a tropical weather graphic with a lot of squiggly lines. This is called a spaghetti plot.

These plots show a bit of a more raw look at individual weather models, with each line representing a different weather model.

These spaghetti plots are updated every few hours, and are usually in agreement, but there are times when a model is an outlier.

This is when one of the lines goes in a different direction compared to the consensus.

Often this strange model output can be attributed to poor data, or even a poor model.

Keep in mind, not all weather models are equal. Each model is different and accounts for different things.

As a result, when all the models are in agreement, it's a pretty good likelihood that the tropical system will travel in that direction.