Tuesday, May 5, 2020 6 P.M.
Current weather: A strong upper air disturbance over upper midwest now will rotate southeast toward Kentucky tonight. This system will provide some reasonably potent lifting motions over the lower Ohio Valley late tonight. Not much moisture is available, but additional periods of light rain/drizzle are likely late tonight into tomorrow’s morning rush hour.
We’ll get to see some sunshine as tomorrow wears on, but temperatures will remain unseasonably cool. The below normal temperatures will likely continue through the next week or two.
Computer models, part 3
The past two posts have told the story how weather forecasting and computers have been wedded since the beginning of electronic computing. Today there are computer models/projections for just about everything. Even one that predicted Secretariat to win the Super Derby last Saturday.
We all know that weather forecasts certainly are still not perfect, even though meteorologists have been at it the longest. Other forecast models have the same problem, but do get better with age. That leads us to the Coronavirus Models, Unlike sports, weather, economics, etc., the available data on pandemics is pretty sparse. Luckily not many pandemics occur. Nevertheless, models have been built and put into action. As expected we are hearing a variety of conflicting reports. Pandemic modelling is a relative new field…its going to take some time for the model errors to shrink. But with more data rapidly becoming available, improvement will occur.
Early talk of millions of deaths possible in the U.S. were simply “potential”. They assumed no precautionary steps taken. When precautions/restrictions went into effect across the country, the oft-quoted University of Washington model predicted 100,000 to 240,000 fatalities. Our PIC (prevaricator in chief) just laughed that off. Meanwhile, as the volume of data escalated, a few weeks later, UW lowered its prediction to 60,000. Subsequent revisions went to 68,000 and then to 76,000. All the recent revisions have been ridiculously low. I’ve been watching the case/death numbers closely. They just didn’t mesh with the predictions. For example, Monday UW estimate was still in upper 70,000’s. Just following the daily data, it was obvious we’d exceed that this week. But, then, yesterday…
Kudos to the New York Times
For some (obvious) reason, it appears that PIC and his gang have been withholding information from an internal government forecast model. That model predicts total U.S. deaths at 135,000. To me, that number seems about right. But with the recent rush to reopen the country, even that number could be low. Thanks to the Times for breaking this story. PIC, however, will likely just discard it as “fake news.” (The only thing worse for PIC was if Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post had broken the story.)