How a spaghetti plot helps track the predicted path of a tropical storm or hurricane

Spaghetti Plot

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The WATE 6 Storm Team relies on computer models to make our forecasts each and every day. There are many different types of forecast models and each one can handle weather situations differently.

The same can be said with tropical forecasts. One type of forecast model plot is known as a spaghetti plot because as the forecast models are plotted through time, they can resemble a bowl of cooked spaghetti.

We like to see consistency between the different models with timing and placement of tropical systems, but that isn’t always the case. All these models start with the same data, but then they run different formulas to reach a solution. As you would expect, the errors can be higher the farther out in time you go.

It is kind of like an art class. For example, if you have 12 students and ask them to draw a picture of an apple, but the apple is a long way away, there will be some different looking apples drawn. As that apple gets closer to the students, the detail and clarity of the drawings gets better.

That is often the case with tropical forecast models. The closer we get to a potential impact, the models usually come into better agreement with placement and timing.

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