for a more recent udate on Hurricane Ike, CLICK HERE
First of all, take some time today to think of those who are risking and giving their lives in the service of our nation overseas. Think of their courage, pride and duty to country. Also think of those who on this date 7 years ago lost their lives doing nothing more than going to work; living their daily lives. The TV networks won’t show the footage. It is my view we need to see the footage again and again to serve as reminders of what happened to our nation and our countrymen. We should never forget and sometimes I think that many people do.
For a Hurricane Ike Radar Loop as it approaches coastal radar installations, CLICK HERE. Simply navigate to the gulf..even to street level. Click “animate” to loop. Cloud and lightning data is available.
Hurricane Ike is a weirdo. The central pressure is 945 mb which normally could support winds of 130-140 mph. But this guy is not doing that. Instead, its a very large storm with a broader field of strong winds but not the concentration of extreme winds. My guess is that this is because the pressure is low but its spread out over a large area….the gradient is not as steep. The risk here is that if the pressure gradient tightens up, then it could ramp up in intensity and could do so in relatively short order. No one can tell if or when this will happen. Because it is a broad storm, the effects will be felt over a large area. For that reason there is a hurricane warning from Morgan City, LA (SE of New Orleans) to Baffin Bay, Texas which is all the way south
of Corpus Christi near the King Ranch. That is a huge swath for a Hurricane Warning which means that hurricane force wind conditions can be expected within 24 hours. A buoy about 75 miles from the center reported gusts over 52 knots and seas of 29.5 feet. This is one of the things that is confounding. For a storm with a pressure so low, that buoy would typically be reporting much higher winds. Anyway, because of the pressure and because there still doesn’t appear to be too many inhibiting factors, the NHC still ramps up the intensity to about 120 mph or so at landfall.
Landfall is currently expected near Freeport, TX…just SE of Galveston. This is a bad track for Galveston. After the 1900 Galveston Hurricane that wiped Galveston off the map in the biggest natural disaster in the history of the United States, they raised what is essesntially a sandbar 15 feet and built a 15 foot seawall. But, there is still the backside of the island and a rise in the water would fill up the island from the backside. In 1900, the city was literally cut off from the rest of the world. Nothing much has changed. A six foot rise in the tides cuts off the main artery of I-45. 23% of the refining capacity of the entire nation resides on the Houston Ship Channel. The refineries are inland along the 44 mile waterway and
are designed to withstand hurricanes of great force. But, there is the issue of a
storm surge and of loss of power. Our gas prices rose 30 cents yesterday.
The track remains wholly determined by the ridge that is steering the storm. If it turns sooner than currently forecast, then its not inconceivable that the storm moves east of Houston. That is not really advertised in the modeling data though the 00Z ECMWF has it turn pretty quickly north toward Houston and perhaps just east. The consensus track is concentrated fairly close to the forecast track. But, there remains many variables and the shear size of the storm means that it will have to potential to adversely affect a whole lot of people.
HURRICANE IKE DISCUSSION NUMBER 42
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL092008
1100 AM EDT THU SEP 11 2008
DATA FROM AIR FORCE AND NOAA AIRCRAFT INDICATE THAT IKE IS MAINTAINING AN ATYPICAL WIND STRUCTURE…CHARACTERIZED BY A VERY BROAD WIND FIELD WITH MULTIPLE WIND MAXIMA AND RELATIVELY LITTLE TRANSPORT OF WINDS ALOFT DOWN TO THE SURFACE. THE NOAA AIRCRAFT REPORTED MAXIMUM FLIGHT-LEVEL WINDS OF 103 KT 100 NMI NORTH-NORTHEAST OF THE CENTER…BUT SFMR AND DROPSONDE DATA INDICATE THAT THE SURFACE WINDS IN THAT AREA WERE ONLY AROUND 65 KT. IN FACT…THERE HAS BEEN NOTHING AT THE SURFACE RECENTLY THAT QUITE SUPPORTS THE CURRENT 85 KT ADVISORY INTENSITY. FORECASTING CHANGES IN THE WIND STRUCTURE OF TROPICAL CYCLONES IS EVEN MORE CHALLENGING THAN FORECASTING THE INTENSITY…BUT IKE HAS PLENTY OF TIME FOR ONE OF THE OUTER MAXIMA TO CONTRACT AND FOR THE WINDS TO TRY TO CATCH UP TO THE CENTRAL PRESSURE…CURRENTLY ABOUT 945 MB. ALTHOUGH OUTFLOW CONTINUES TO BE RESTRICTED TO THE NORTHWEST…IT IS STRONG ELSEWHERE AND THE SHEAR IS EXPECTED TO REMAIN LIGHT. ONE INHIBITING FACTOR COULD BE UPWELLING/MIXING OF COOLER WATER AHEAD OF THE PATH OF IKE DUE TO THE UNUSUALLY LARGE EXPANSE OF STRONG WINDS. THE OBJECTIVE GUIDANCE NEAR LANDFALL RANGES FROM A CATEGORY FOUR FROM THE GFDL TO CATEGORY TWO FROM THE SHIPS MODEL…ABOUT THE ERROR ONE CAN EXPECT FROM AN OFFICIAL FORECAST ONE TO TWO DAYS OUT. THE OFFICIAL FORECAST ROUGHLY SPLITS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THESE GUIDANCE MODELS…AND ANTICIPATES THAT IKE WILL BE A MAJOR HURRICANE AT LANDFALL. THE INITIAL MOTION IS 290/9. THERE HAS BEEN LITTLE CHANGE TO THE TRACK FORECAST THINKING THROUGH LANDFALL…WITH IKE EXPECTED TO MAINTAIN A WEST-NORTHWESTWARD HEADING UNTIL VERY NEAR LANDFALL…WHEN IT SHOULD GENTLY TURN TO THE RIGHT AT THE WESTERN PERIPHERY OF THE SUBTROPICAL RIDGE. THE OFFICIAL FORECAST REMAINS NEAR THE MODEL CONSENSUS…WITH THE ECMWF ON THE RIGHT AND THE GFS TO THE LEFT. ONCE AGAIN…GIVEN THE TYPICAL FORECAST ERRORS FOR A 48 HOUR FORECAST…AND THE LARGE SIZE OF THE WIND FIELD…IT IS IMPORTANT NOT TO FOCUS ON THE EXACT FORECAST TRACK.
FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS
INITIAL 11/1500Z 25.5N 88.4W 85 KT
12HR VT 12/0000Z 25.9N 90.0W 90 KT
24HR VT 12/1200Z 26.6N 92.0W 95 KT
36HR VT 13/0000Z 27.8N 94.2W 105 KT
48HR VT 13/1200Z 29.5N 95.9W 100 KT…INLAND
72HR VT 14/1200Z 34.5N 94.0W 35 KT…INLAND
96HR VT 15/1200Z 38.0N 85.0W 25 KT…EXTRATROPICAL
120HR VT 16/1200Z…ABSORBED
$$ FORECASTER FRANKLIN