Hurricane Ike Heading Toward Big Bopper Status


Hurricane Ike Satellite Visible Image 2045Z 0910

Hurricane Ike Satellite Visible Image 2045Z 0910

Hurricane Ike Forecast Track 0910 5pm

Hurricane Ike Forecast Track 0910 5pm

for a more recent update on hurricane ike, CLICK HERE

Hurricane Ike is doing as expected so far and that is for it be become a very

Hurricane Ike Satellite IR 0910 2045Z

Hurricane Ike Satellite IR 0910 2045Z

expansive hurricane and it continues to re-intensify following its visit to Communist Cuba. While at this time there is a little dry air showing up in the storm and it looks like there is some shear to the west slightly inhibiting the outflow in that region, it should be a Big Bopper of some stature at some point. Its moving slowly at about 8 mph and is moving at 310 degrees which perhaps is a shade more toward the north than initially forecast but still along the northwesterly track that has been favored for this time frame by the National Hurricane Center. The ECMWF has come around to bringing a landfall just west of Galveston near Freeport. This would be the absolute worst track for Galveston and Houston. While this and other models have pushed farther northward with the track, others

Hurricane Ike Spaghetti Model 0910 18Z

Hurricane Ike Spaghetti Model 0910 18Z

have not and so the NHC has only continued its trend of just nudging the landfall farther north. The official track now is about half way between Corpus Christi and Houston near Palacious Texas. It is forecat to be at or near category 4 status as it approaches the Texas coast. The Houston Ship Channel represents 23% of the nation’s oil refining capacity. The city of Houston has over 2 million people and the Metropolitan Houston has over 5 million. While the exact landfall will be a key to how much damage, if any, is done to the infrastructure of the refining industry and offshore oil production, the storm is so large that it seems an almost certainty that this region will be adversely affected. Should the storm indeed become a 135 mph at landfall, damage from the center to about 20 or 30 miles could be catastrophic. The storm surge from Palacious to Galveston would be significant. Because we’re running out of time here and the storm is projected to make a landfall on Friday night, I know I”m telling my friends and family to the right of the forecast track to decide what they are going to do now and do it.

Hurricane Ike Spaghetti Model Intensity Graph 0910 18Z

Hurricane Ike Spaghetti Model Intensity Graph 0910 18Z

Now…after sounding that alarm I will tell you that the forward speed of the storm

Hurricane Ike Intensity Probability Table 0910 5pm

Hurricane Ike Intensity Probability Table 0910 5pm

could be different than forecast. My guess is that if it were different, it would probably be more likely to be slightly slower. Note that the spaghetti intensity models do not all take the Cat 4 route and that the NHC has chosen to go close to top of the range. That is because there is very little to suggest that it will not continue to increase in intensity. So far, the winds have not increased to what the corresponding pressure would support, but the pressure has not dropped any further in the past 6 hours. So, the jury is out somewhat. The forecast track will be wholly determined by how much and when the ridge builds back in, forcing the storm more westward, and how much and when it breaks down as the storm approaches the Texas coast. The forecast track has Ike taking a sharp turn after landfall. If that ridge breaks down either because a big trof is moving down more quickly or the hurricane moves more slowly, that turn could take place prior to landfall. Such a turn might put Galveston in greater peril or…and there is zero data to support this….a really early turn might even threaten farther up the Texas coast. Contrarily, if the ridge builds in stronger, does not break down as quickly and the storm moves faster, then it could conceivably be closer to Corpus Christi.

There is still almost the entire Gulf of Mexico for Ike to conquer and there remain several scenarios. Nonetheless, if you are near or to the right of the current forecast track, it would be wise to consider what it is you plan to do and do it. The shear volume of people though along the upper Texas coast requires that action be taken perhaps before any certainty can be ascertained.

HURRICANE IKE DISCUSSION NUMBER 39
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL092008
500 PM EDT WED SEP 10 2008

THE RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT DATA SHOW THAT IKE HAS TWO WELL-DEFINED
WIND MAXIMA OF ROUGHLY EQUAL STRENGTH. THE PEAK FLIGHT-LEVEL WINDS
OF 93 KT WERE FOUND IN A BAND ABOUT 90 NM EAST OF THE CENTER. A
DROPSONDE WITHIN A FEW MILES OF THE CENTER REPORTED LOW-LAYER MEAN
WINDS OF 97 KT…WHICH CORRESPOND TO 82 KT AT THE SURFACE. THE
ADVISORY WINDS ARE SET TO 85 KT ON THIS BASIS. THE LARGE EXPANSE
OF HURRICANE AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXPLAINS THE APPARENT
MISMATCH BETWEEN THE PEAK WINDS AND THE CENTRAL PRESSURE.
CONDITIONS IN THE GULF OF MEXICO REMAIN FAVORABLE FOR
STRENGTHENING…INCLUDING LIGHT SHEAR AND STRONGLY DIFLUENT
UPPER-LEVEL OUTFLOW FOR THE NEXT DAY OR TWO. ON THE OTHER
HAND…RECENT NORTHWARD SHIFTS IN THE TRACK NOW SUGGEST THAT IKE
MAY ENCOUNTER A COOL EDDY IN THE CENTRAL GULF AND MISS A WARM EDDY.
NEVERTHELESS…ALL OBJECTIVE GUIDANCE NOW MAKES IKE A MAJOR
HURRICANE AND THE OFFICIAL FORECAST IS INCREASED SLIGHTLY OVER THE
PREVIOUS FORECAST. OTHER THAN INTERNAL EYEWALL DYNAMICS…WHICH
ARE IMPOSSIBLE TO FORECAST MORE THAN A FEW HOURS IN ADVANCE…I SEE
NO REASON WHY IKE SHOULD WEAKEN APPRECIABLY AS IT MOVES INTO THE
WESTERN GULF.

THE INITIAL MOTION IS 310/7. THE TRACK FORECAST PHILOSOPHY IS
BASICALLY UNCHANGED. IKE IS MOVING NORTHWEST TOWARD A WEAKNESS IN
THE SUBTROPICAL RIDGE. THIS RIDGE IS FORECAST TO BUILD IN OVER THE
NEXT DAY OR TWO…WHICH SHOULD TURN THE TRACK BACK TO THE
WEST-NORTHWEST UNTIL IKE APPROACHES A DEEP LAYER TROUGH FORECAST TO
COVER THE WESTERN UNITED STATES IN TWO DAYS. ALL GUIDANCE TURNS
IKE NORTHWARD TO VARYING DEGREES WITHIN A DAY OR SO OF PROJECTED
LANDFALL. THERE HAS BEEN A NORTHWARD SHIFT IN SOME OF THE
GUIDANCE…MOST NOTABLY THE GFDL AND GFS. IT IS TO BE EXPECTED
THAT SUBTLE CHANGES IN THE MODEL EVOLUTION OF THE WESTERN TROUGH
AND RIDGE OVER THE SOUTHEASTERN U.S. WILL LEAD TO GUIDANCE FLIP
FLOPS OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS. WITH THAT IN MIND…THE
OFFICIAL FORECAST IS NUDGED ONLY SLIGHTLY NORTHWARD. IKE IS A VERY
LARGE HURRICANE…AND IS EXPECTED TO REMAIN LARGE AS
IT CROSSES THE GULF OF MEXICO. REGARDLESS OF WHERE THE CENTER
CROSSES THE COAST…THE EFFECTS OF IKE WILL BE FELT OVER A LARGE
AREA.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 10/2100Z 24.5N 86.1W 85 KT
12HR VT 11/0600Z 25.0N 87.4W 95 KT
24HR VT 11/1800Z 25.6N 89.3W 105 KT
36HR VT 12/0600Z 26.2N 91.5W 110 KT
48HR VT 12/1800Z 27.0N 94.0W 115 KT
72HR VT 13/1800Z 29.5N 97.0W 90 KT…INLAND
96HR VT 14/1800Z 34.5N 95.5W 30 KT…INLAND
120HR VT 15/1800Z…ABSORBED IN FRONTAL ZONE

$$
FORECASTER FRANKLIN

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