The Hurricane Analysis and Forecast System (HAFS) Ensemble in Real-time on the Cloud (HERC) experiment of 2023 was a highly successful real-time demonstration of the feasibility of the National Weather Service (NWS) running a state-of-the-science hurricane modeling system on the cloud. The HERC experiment, created at the NCEP Environmental Modeling Center (EMC) and AOML Hurricane Research Division (HRD), supported by the Disaster Relief Supplemental Act (DRSA) and the NOAA Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), ran from August 1 through November 30, 2023, coinciding with peak activity and the latter half of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season. HERC was run on Amazon Web Service (AWS) using the Parallel Works middleware platform. Running a 21-member ensemble of NOAA’s novel HAFS model, the deterministic version of which became operational in 2023, real-time probabilistic forecasts for Atlantic tropical cyclones were produced 4x per day. Due to the resounding success of this experiment, we plan to run HERC again in the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season using an updated version of the model and including DA and VI in the cloud workflow.
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