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Several days ago I suggested that Hurricane Ike might decide to move just off the southern Communist Cuban coast and then I relented as I mentioned that the boys at the NHC didn’t like my great idea too much. Well, it may be time to break out Colonel Klink for another “I Told You So” moment. Notice how I don’t advertise when my great ideas go into the tank? See…it’s the old Jackson Browne strategy. “Forget About the Losses; Exaggerate the Wins.” In any event, it looks like Ike will be emerging over the Caribbean…though barely. The biggest significance of this turn of events is that the storm will be back over water and its structure will not be subject to 36 hours
worth of disruption by land. Provided it does not wobble or start more west-northwest ahead of schedule, it will have its core back over water, then over the relatively flat western tip of Cuba…the way Ike is going though maybe it will manage to miss the rest of Cuba. Anyway, the intensity has always been of a concern and now that concern may be increased. Don’t be too encouraged by the Spaghetti intensity graph that shows several models have dropped since the last run. That may be more indicative of the initialization over Cuba and weaker initial intensity than anything else.
The track of the storm still has some variables. This is the deal. We’ve had from time to time the models showing a big trof digging down far enough to turn Ike north. First it was one to turn it toward Florida. Then it was one that would turn it to New Orleans. In my view, there is a pile of cold air trying to come down. But
there are so many fronts coming across the nation in such rapidity that they are not allowing the cold air/strong trof to come down. The trof coming through Louisville on Tuesday may be a shade more worthwhile than thought a day or so ago but nothing like it was a week ago. The trof on Friday looked like to me Sunday night that the front wouldn’t even come through here and the analysis of Young Mr. LIncoln this morning confirms my analysis. What this means is that there really isn’t anything beyond the Coriolis force to cause Hurricane Ike to turn dramatically. Now, its tough for a ridge this time of year to be so strong as to keep the storm moving due west so there will be some curving. The spaghetti
models have come into a pretty tight pattern suggesting a gentle turn with it
ending up a couple of hundred miles SSW of the central Louisiana coast. The track seems reasonable and the SE Texas coast seems like a decent bet. I have some personal concerns about the intensity. It would be unusual for a storm to be a big bopper, get its circulation messed up and then regain its former glory. But, it’s not impossible and there are always exceptions to the rules. In case you missed it in the prior post. Houston is the 4 largest city in the nation. The metro area has over 5.5 million people and the Port of Houston is one of the busiest and largest in the world. A large chunk of the nations refining capacity is within 50 miles of downtown Houston with most of those refineries along the 44 mile Houston Ship Channel that extends south of the city to Galveston. There is also an enormous petro-chemical base there. Throw in the offshore rigs and you have potential problems. With all of that in mind, here is a rather sobering this date in history. The greatest natural disaster in United States history. The National Hurricane Center Hurricane Ike follows.
Now much of the history is based on Cline’s later report but it has come under some criticism and scrutiny. Cline reported the weather was great the day before but he rode his white horse in vain up and down the beach warning people of impending doom. This is one of the items that some now question. In any event, the storm did hit at night. Galveston had had storms in the past. They called them a “big blow.” Water began filling the streets but some observers noted the water was salt water. Cline knew the storm surge had covered the island. Houses floated by with people inside. Galveston homes had slate roofs to prevent the spread of fire. The bits of slate chipped off in the high winds and became bullets, cutting down people as they tried to get shelter. It was a terrible situation. The bridges and ferries were long before the height of the storm cut off by the high tide and there was no escape for anyone.
There are many tragic tales, including the death of Cline’s wife, whom he identified weeks later by her wedding ring. Also, the St. Mary’s Orphanage totally collapsed killing almost all of the nuns and children. I think one or two kids survived in a tree. The nuns had tied a rope to the children. The next day in the sand, they found a hand sticking up with a rope around the wrist. As they pulled up the rope, they found a nun with a string of children still attached.
By 1970, Houston had become the largest city in Texas, the 4th largest city in the nation, the second busiest port in the world and one of the financial and corporate centers of the country. Galveston still had 50,000 people. Today it has about 60,000, its glorious past lost to its now sprawling neighbor to the north, all because of the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. Everything Galveston was at the turn of the 20th Century, Houston became and more in just 70 years.