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Did Hurricane Matthew Ever Get Anywhere Near Cat 5?

October 16, 2016

By Paul Homewood


Damage from Hurricane Matthew


I was away when Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti, so did not get the chance to analyse it.


According to the official records, it hit 160 mph sustained speeds on 1st October, making it the first Cat 5 Atlantic hurricane since 2007. Apparently, if you believe the official view of events, Matthew intensified from a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson scale to a Category 5 hurricane in just 24 hours.

However, extremely suspiciously, it only stayed at Cat 5 for 6 hours, before weakening. (In fact, NOAA’s records are at 6-hourly intervals – Matthew reached Cat 5 speeds of 140 Kts at 6.00am on Oct 1st, but dipped to Cat 4 speeds of 135 Kts at 12.00 am. Therefore it stayed at Cat 5 speeds for UNDER 6 hours.)


However, as I have pointed out before, these categorisation of wind speeds are not based on actual measurements, as they would have been in the past. Instead, they are derived from Track History, which in NOAA’s own words is defined as:


Track history for each storm is created from the operational warnings that are issued every six hours by NHC, CPHC , and JTWC . The positions and intensities are best estimates of those quantities when the warning is issued. THESE ARE NOT BEST TRACKS – having not been reanalyzed in any systematic manner.

So, somehow, Matthew’s windspeeds are supposed to have risen precipitously not in actuality, but because that is what was forecast by NOAA.


But what actually happened?

Whether we trust what the satellites tell us or not, NOAA’s actual plots show that Matthew barely got above 100 Kts, and nowhere near the green line, which is the Best Track which they forecast, and on which all of the hyped news reports have been based on. (100 Kts would put Matthew as a Cat 3).






The above figures are based on the well accepted Dvorak system, but NOAA also use their Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU), which is an instrument on the NOAA operational polar-orbiting satellites, to estimate cyclone intensity.

According to these measurements, Matthew barely reached Cat 1.





As we know, this is not the first time that hurricanes and typhoons have been wildly overhyped by the authorities. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that we are looking at anything else but blatant fraud here.


It is tragic that lives were lost during Hurricane Matthew, and I do feel guilty in trying to make an issue of it. But the eco-loonies are prepared to tell outright lies about weather events such as Matthew, in order to procure their socialist world view.

The simple reality is that hundreds of lives are lost because of hurricanes in countries like Haiti, not because of wicked, greedy Westerners, but because they are so poor and underdeveloped.

If we genuinely want to help them, we should be helping them to develop their economies, not force on them our guilt ridden, liberal agenda.

  1. October 16, 2016 11:01 pm

    Climate wolf …science loses its way.

  2. Charles Taylor permalink
    October 16, 2016 11:38 pm

    Buoy data never showed surface winds greater than category 1. Mathew passed over at least one buoy.

  3. clipe permalink
    October 17, 2016 12:36 am

    Was it all based on flight level winds? quickly lost interest in Mathew once it was reported…

    #97525 – Fri Oct 07 2016 10:34 AM

    Measured wind gust Flagler Beach 68 mph at 10:06 am.

  4. clipe permalink
    October 17, 2016 12:57 am

    Mathew Matthew

  5. October 17, 2016 2:06 am

    Reblogged this on Roald J. Larsen and commented:
    This doesn’t need much additional comments. I only note – the leftists “green” globalist agenda where weather events are used as a vehicle to impose and implement more taxes is continuing unabated.

    This very expensive false song of globalism (communism) has got to stop!

    No Obama, you can’t make communism better than Venezuela for 2 reasons, 1. It’s all based on lies and data fraud, and 2. Even if you actually did have the factual data right, you are too dishonest, corrupt and ignorant to succeed ..

  6. October 17, 2016 2:25 am

    Looks like the Category 5 intensity estimate was made based on SFMR reconnaissance wind estimates as indicated in the official discussion bulletin that was issued at the time of the advisory:

    1100 PM EDT FRI SEP 30 2016

    An Air Force reconnaissance plane recently measured a peak SFMR wind
    of 143 kt and then 138 kt during this mission’s eye penetrations.
    Furthermore, the satellite presentation has improved considerably
    with a distinct eye surrounded by a ring of very deep convection.
    The raw objective T-numbers from UW-CIMSS have been above 7.0 since
    2100 UTC. On this basis, the initial intensity has been increased to
    140 kt, making Matthew a Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane
    Wind Scale. This is the first Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic
    basin since Hurricane Felix in 2007.

    The SFMR wind estimates can be subject to rain contamination that can cause falsely high estimates. I looked at the reconnaissance reports available in the NHC archive and there was heavy rain indicated in association with the SFMR high wind estimates cited in the discussion bulletin, thus casting considerable doubt about the accuracy of these particular SFMR estimates. The highest flight level wind reported was 138 kt at 2822 m altitude, which would indicate slightly lower winds at the surface that would not qualify as Category 5.

    The reconnaissance aircraft also uses dropsondes to measure winds all the way down to the surface. There was no mention of Category 5 surface winds measured by dropsondes, so I suspect there were none. I have not reviewed the dropsonde data, but in my experience it is relatively rare for the peak storm winds to be measured by a dropsonde.

    • RAH permalink
      October 17, 2016 2:52 am

      Dropsonde or Satellite by NOAAs own standards the winds speed for categorization requires 1 minute of sustained winds as measured at 10 meters above the surface level. Now of course NOAA can say what they want but it looks suspect for them to ignore their own stated standards when they classify a storm. It is highly doubtful a dropsonde would hang at 10 meters above the surface for 1 minute don’t you think? So in the absence of the eye passing over a buoy or landstation, then the only way to get a measurement would be remote sensing. But as you say, rain would be a problem as would be waves and spume. So what we’re getting are estimates based on measurements of wind speeds well above 10 meters above the surface and pressures. And we already know what NOAA is doing to the temperature data and records when the estimate, extrapolate, interpolate, and homogenize. So it is quite reasonable to be skeptical about their estimates of based on remotely sensed data outside the parameters they have set.

      “The maximum sustained surface wind speed (peak 1-minute wind at the standard meteorological observation height of 10 m [33 ft] over unobstructed exposure) associated with the cyclone is the determining factor in the scale.”

      • October 17, 2016 3:45 am

        At about 0640 UTC on October 3rd, the center of the eye of Hurricane Matthew passed directly over NOAA buoy 42058 based on the reported continuous 10-minute winds, which dropped to 2.1 m/s at that time. The buoy reported a peak wind gust of 44 m/s (86 kt) at 0437 UTC and a peak 10-minute average wind speed of 34.5 m/s (67 kt) ending at 0500 UTC during the storm passage. The lowest pressure, reported hourly at 0650 UTC, was 943.7 mb. The 0300 UTC NHC Marine Advisory covering that period estimated peak sustained surface 1-minute average winds of 125 kt with gusts to 150 kt and a lowest pressure of 943 mb. However, the wind mast on the buoy is only 5 m above the ocean when upright and the buoy reported waves to 10.3 m, so it was likely measuring severely obstructed winds most of the time and I suspect the wind mast was probably not upright very often in the high winds and steep waves. It must have been a sturdy buoy to take that licking and keep on ticking.

        For a 10 m wind measurement to be unobstructed in this situation, it would have to be measured at 10 m above the top of the highest waves. A difficult task indeed in such a raging storm.

    • RAH permalink
      October 17, 2016 11:08 am


      Concerning waves in tropical storms.

      Here are some paragraphs from an account by Dick O’Kane as skipper of the US submarine ‘Tang’ during WW II from when his Sub was caught on the surface in a powerful Typhoon east of Formosa (now Taiwan) and south of the Ryukyus islands. Paragraphs are transcribed from his book ‘Clear the Bridge’ which IMO is the greatest nonfiction account of a submarine during the war in the Pacific.

      They had buttoned up the ship and the barometer reading taken just before the boat was sealed showed 27.8 inches. A few minutes later the sub rolled 70 degrees before a huge wave and managed to recover. He writes:

      “When submerged, looking through the scope gives the viewer the impression that his eye is just above the surface of the sea, at the position of the lens. When the boat is on the surface, it’s like looking down from a 55-foot tower. I was looking up at a single monstrous wave, so big it had normal waves on it’s crest, which were blowing out into spume as it rolled in. Reflexes made me duck momentarily just before it hit, and then green water, solid green sea, went of the top of everything, burying ‘Tang’ scope and all. I had expected a mangled tube, if indeed it was not broken off above the roots, Jones lowered away lest the next wave finish it off.”…………..

      “…….. Our present position was untenable, for we were being pushed ahead in addition to our own turns, and our total speed likely equaled the advance of storm. We could thus remain in this dangerous semicircle for days, even into the Ryukyus to the immediate north…..”

      O’Kane managed to get his boat through a 180 degree turn so as to head into the waves and wind and thus the sub was saved. He could not dive in such seas without taking a great chance of losing control of the boat so they rode it out just making steerage into the waves and the wind. When the seas and winds moderated enough to open the hatch they didn’t know if they were in the eye or if they had passed beyond the storm. They had to use their compressors to equalize the pressure in the boat before they could budge the hatch.

      Later as the officers discussed what they had been through.

      “……I recalled an experience at sea with a hurricane packing 100-knot winds and spoke conservatively when I estimated that the winds of this typhoon had half again the speed. In the height of the seas, there was no comparison. We were not just guessing, for in the Quartermaster’s Notebook were recorded various periods during which the scope had been completely buried, the longest being 14 seconds. Sketching the wave crests in their most modest form and arriving at their speed from the recorded frequency, ‘Tang’s’ Jr. Officers calculated that on occasions a minimum of 40 feet of sea had rolled above the lens of our scope. I would not dispute their figure nor would Frank [Executive officer and navigator], we had seen the waves, and 95 feet from crest to trough seemed conservative.”

      • October 17, 2016 11:51 am

        I don’t know how the NOAA buoys measure or estimate the peak wave height, but I suspect the estimates have a lot of uncertainty with high waves and may underestimate the height in extreme seas.

      • RAH permalink
        October 17, 2016 12:36 pm

        Despite the testimony of sailors and logs of ships recording such huge waves down through history even the theoretical possibility of 100′ waves in open seas resulting from wind and wave action was denied by most meteorologists, and others in the sciences studying the oceans until irrefutable evidence emerged with the advent of continuous loop video on ships.

  7. John F. Hultquist permalink
    October 17, 2016 3:52 am

    “…we should be helping them to develop their economies …

    Regarding Haiti, perhaps the best thing would be to depopulate the country. There may be 11 M. people there and another 10% recent emigrants, many in the US, Canada, France, …

    There is near zero prospect of making a viable country. There are about 2.4 times the population size of Ireland with 1/3 the land area that, put kindly, has been destroyed. Half of the population is under age 20. Russia and Japan could educate these, provide decent housing, and a better life. A win-win. For the land, also.

    This comment will not be looked on kindly by most.
    Offer a better plan.

    • October 17, 2016 11:53 am

      Well, it would help to keep the Clinton’s OUT of Haiti. What they did after the earthquake was actually criminal.

      • A C Osborn permalink
        October 17, 2016 4:47 pm

        Niot just the Clintons, the UN has caused way more problems for them than it solved, especially the Cholera.
        Plus you have to ask where did the Millions raised by the UK Charities disappear to?

    • Tom O permalink
      October 17, 2016 3:43 pm

      To be honest, the only problem I have with your solution is the choice of words. “Depopulate” is a bad choice of words. You probably should have left it out and just gone with “perhaps the best thing to do is relocate part of the population to other areas.” Depopulate tends to sound like putting them in the ground, not moving them to a better place. Of course, there are many that would say killing them off would be “moving them to a better place,” since it would be assumed they would be going to heaven.

  8. Dave Ward permalink
    October 17, 2016 10:41 am

    This comment will not be looked on kindly by most

    The truth often hurts…

  9. Billy Liar permalink
    October 17, 2016 4:52 pm

    What I find very odd is this sort of thing:

    Hurricane Nicole
    11:00 AM AST Mon Oct 17
    Location: 41.4°N 44.6°W
    Moving: NNE at 9 mph
    Min pressure: 962 mb
    Max sustained: 75 mph

    This one has been artificially maintained as a hurricane for days with a maximum sustained windspeed one mile per hour over the threshold.


    There are numerous other examples – NHC’s motto should be ‘We never round down’.

  10. Jacob permalink
    October 17, 2016 10:07 pm

    I believe them making it over hyped helps us prepared better.

    • October 18, 2016 9:29 am

      I also think part of it is that they don’t want to be caught with their pants down, when they underestimate one

    • RAH permalink
      October 19, 2016 3:54 am

      The problem with over hyping is that when it doesn’t happen some people in the path of the next storm won’t listen. Just like the constant harping on climate disaster. What we have seen is that fewer and fewer of the everyday people believe it to a problem and it falls down so far on the lists of concerns for people when polls that the MSM has to extend the list just to include it.

      In the long term, the effect of over hyping will be just as bad as understating the danger. But as Paul points out, as long as the government can claim they did all they could to warn people they’re off the hook no matter how much their exaggeration in the past resulted in people not listening.

  11. clipe permalink
    October 20, 2016 11:01 pm

    Matthew goes into the record books as a Category I Hurricane in a small section of the Brevard County coast. In some reports from the NHC the flight level Recon wind speeds were not reduced correctly and resulted in stated maximum eyewall surface wind speeds that were about 10mph too high – and I cannot find a valid meteorological reason for doing this. Hurricane Erin in 1995 and Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2004 were all storms with a greater impact on Brevard County. While the early call by the Brevard Emergency Management Operations Center to evacuate residents from the Barrier Islands was prudent, the overstated intensity and inland impacts were mis-leading and confusing to some of our residents. The National Hurricane Center and The Weather Channel both over-hyped the overall magnitude of the storm – which will not help folks to make the correct decision when the next hurricane visits our area. Matthew was not the catastrophic Category IV storm of the century that was touted by some for our area…

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