Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Hurricane Ike: September 9 Update A

Dearie me, you are a suspicious bunch aren't you? ;) I know I may have
used the words "Gotta run" more than once re Ike (slip of the keyboard),
and it may look a *little* dodgy that I left the country as he headed
towards the FL-neck of the woods, but do you think I'd miss a storm
(unless it's a cat 4 or 5, in which case I would definitely run away if I
could and tell you all as well). :)

Ike began his WNW hike and made landfall over Cuba again, alas following
very closely in Gustav's footsteps, which is awful. He has been over Cuba
for a number of hours now, and is still over land (barely). I haven't seen
anything more than Tropical Storm level winds in the satellite data in the
last few hours, and it doesn't look like the plane or ground data is
showing more than TS level winds either, but the NHC are keeping his winds
at 'near 75mph' (central pressure 970 mb) making him a cat 1 (range: 39-73
mph) because there is a fuzzy eye-like feature and he will soon head over
water and begin to intensify. I am pretty sure he is a TS at the moment

His center is at 22.7N, 83.5W, and he is heading in a general Westward
direction - WNW at 12 mph. There is very little rainfall in the western
section of the storm. I see that the Keys and parts of southern Florida
are getting some of the outer bands though. Circulation is very good in
this system though.

He will shortly be entering the Gulf. The Texas coast still looks like the
place he'll head towards. The forecast calls for landfall there on Sat. am
as a cat 2 storm.

As he crosses the Gulf (waters > 29 deg C), he has to cross the Loop
Current. This is part of an ocean current system that extends from the
Caribbean into the Gulf of Mexico, "Loops" around and then back out
through the Straits of Florida, where it becomes the Florida Current (we
are very good at naming things ;)), and then continues up the east coast
of the US as the Gulf Stream. The Loop Current in the Gulf fluctuates in
location over a number of months, and at the moment it is not very far
north (unlike 2005 when Katrina and Rita passed over it). The significance
of the Loop Current is that warm waters are very deep, which provide a
nice source of energy for a storm as it passes overhead.

So, for Ike, although the Loop Current is not very far north in the Gulf,
it is in his forecast path. Also, the wind shear is low and will be low
whilst he is in the southern Gulf. Both of these factors will help
intensification. I can see him becoming a cat 1, possibly a cat 2 in the
Gulf. However, in the western Gulf, although surface waters are warm, they
are not as deep. At the moment it looks like wind shear is not very strong
there either, but that could change by Thursday/Friday, but it looks
unlikely at the moment that he will intensify further once he gets into
the western Gulf (unless he pulls one of those rapid intensification
thingies (technical term ;))).

I won't be able to send an update until late tomorrow, by which time he
will really be at Hurricane strength again (in my opinion) and in the

And this is a very small world by the way. I bumped into G. M. from St.
Pete (US) over here (in the UK) - I'm not sure who was more suprised! At
least he could give me the latest hurricane information because I had not
had time to look at that point. :)

That's all from this side of the pond...

Blogs archived at: http://www.jyotikastorms.blogspot.com/
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.

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