Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hurricane Gustav and TS Hanna: August 31 Update A

Well there's good news and not-so-good news regarding the storms today I

Let's start with the good news shall we? (yes, I see the glass as half
full generally - I'm one of *those* people). At the moment he is a weak
cat 3 storm with winds of 115 mph (cat 3 wind range: 111-130 mph) and a
not-very-well-defined eye (central pressure 957 mb). This is actually the
good news because given the water temperatures in the Gulf, and his
passage over the Loop Current he could have been much stronger at this
point. He did weaken after crossing Cuba because of dry air to the south
and the land interaction.

The Loop Current is a current of very deep warm water. It flows into the
Gulf from the Caribbean and does a little loopy thing (guess where the
name comes from?) before exiting the Gulf through the Straits of Florida,
where it becomes the Florida Current and then the well-known Gulf Stream
along the eastern coast of the US. The deep warm water is important
because as he churns up the water, he brings up more warm water instead of
cold water. At the moment, 26 deg C waters extend over 100m in depth in
this region.

Back to the good news... he is just about to emerge from crossing the Loop
Current and will soon be over water, which although has sea surface temps
over 28 deg C, only has 26 deg C water over the upper 50-75m depth.

There is also some wind shear from the south-southwest, which may have a
bit of a hand in keeping him as a cat 3.

I think the track will be a bit more to the west than the current one -
closer to TX. He is currently centered at about 26.4N, 87.3W and heading
NW at a very rapid 18 mph. There is also a possibility that he will make
landfall closer to New Orleans (to the west of it) and then skim that
coast westward towards Texas. Worst case scenario is that he makes
landfall near New Orleans and then gets stuck. Eugh. I don't think that's
in the cards though.

The bad news is that he will most likely make landfall on the west side of
New Orleans and that infamous Lake. The winds will be pushing the water
into the the Lake (unless he moves far enough west and weakens) so waters
will rise. If you want to monitor the actual water level rise, look at They have listed the stations of interest along
the northern Gulf coast on the left. But if you want to look at other
states, click on the states map on the left and take it from there.

She's still a weak TS with winds of 45 mph (TS range: 39-73 mph), heading
W at 10mph. She's mostly a rain event at the moment and is moving
clockwise around the southern edge of a high pressure system. We'll see
how this one progresses, but I don't have time to do a full analysis at
the moment. I'll try and get to that tomorrow.

And Now For Something Completely Different (Almost):
I want to thank you all for your wonderful support for my ramblings.
Because of you, this blog has slowly grown and there was an article in the
St. Pete Times about ME (o.k... so there were a few other people in there
too ;) ) and this blog this morning (thanks I.F.):
Thanks also to Leonora and the staff for writing such a nice article.

So much for being a geek and writing in anonymity behind a faceless
computer!! But *no-one* can recognize Clark Kent is Superman because he
wears that *amazing disguise* - a pair of spectacles. I usually wear
glasses too, and the photo is without, so thankfully I should still be
unrecognizable... ;)

My time is up for today. Stay SAFE out there!

Blogs archived at:
These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not
the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an
evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the
National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather
Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away,
run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.

No comments: