Ike Battering Cuba
At 10:00am CDT –
– Hurricane warnings continue for much of Cuba.
– The center of Category 2 Hurricane Ike is located 290 miles
east-southeast of Havana, Cuba. Movement is towards the west at 14mph
and a turn towards the west-northwest is expected later today. Ike
will likely emerge over water within the next 1-2 hours. Maximum
sustained winds are near 100 mph and some weakening is expected until
Ike is over water. Minimum surface pressure is 960mb.
– Hurricane force winds extend outward to 60 miles from the center and
tropical storm force winds to 200 miles.
– Do not focus on the pinpoint track or location of Ike. Forecast
confidence at 4-5 days remains low.
– Interests in the Gulf of Mexico should closely monitor the progress of Ike.
Morning visible satellite imagery indicates that Ike continues to move
west or 270 degrees. This motion, if it continues for another 1-2
hours, will bring Ike back over water. NHC notes and satellite
certainly agrees that Ike has maintained good structure and weakening
has been slow. As such, Ike should emerge just south of Cuba and at
the very least maintain the current strength. The next issue will be
when and where Ike crosses Cuba again.
The forecast philosophy remains the same. Ike is on the southern edge
of a strong mid/upper level ridge. GFS/ECMWF/NAM models indicate a
shortwave trof moving through the U.S. today and Tuesday. Another
shortwave trof approaches the western U.S. late Tuesday. The impacts
of these features on the subtropical ridge and Ike remain problematic.
The ridge should weaken a little and allow Ike to turn
west-northwest later today and move across Cuba tomorrow. Once it
gets into the Gulf the ridge may restrengthen, pushing Ike more to the
west. It is these reasons that people should not focus on the
pinpoint track forecast at 5 days (i.e. Ike being just off the
Galveston coast Saturday morning).
Intensity wise NHC is right on track with the current forecast. Since
Ike is about to move back over water it increases the potential of
having a hurricane in the Gulf in 2-3 days. NHC has Ike has a major
hurricane (Cat 3) in 4-5 days time frame and this looks reasonable.
SST's ahead of Ike are warm and there is little shear.
I cannot emphasize enough, do not focus on the pinpoint forecast track
at 4-5 days. NHC is doing a heck of a job, but there remains
potential for Ike to hit Louisiana or Texas. The HWRF and GFDL models
take Ike into Louisiana near Morgan City. While the ECMWF/GFS go to
Houston. The 12z NAM may go to southern Texas, but it ends at 84
hours and so I don't have a specific landfall spot. These are just
one set of model runs, we get different solutions all the time.
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