Ike crossing western Cuba
At 10:00am CDT –
– Hurricane warning continues for western Cuba.
– The center of Category 1 Hurricane Ike made landfall in the
southeastern part of the Province of Pinar Del Rio. Movement is
towards the west-northwest at 13mph and this motion is expected to
continue for the next 24 hours. Maximum sustained winds are near
80mph and some weakening will occur as Ike moves across western Cuba.
Minimum surface pressure is 965mb.
– Hurricane force winds extend outward to 35 miles and tropical storm
force winds to 195 miles.
– Interest in northern Mexico through Victoria, Texas, should closely
monitor the progress of Ike. Houston remains in the cone of
uncertainty, so these area cannot be cleared.
Satellite imagery this morning indicates that Ike is maintaining
decent structure and is about to landfall into western Cuba. Since
Ike spent time over water the past 18 hours, the structure has
remained intact. Weakening will occur as Ike moves across western
Cuba, but it should emerge into the Gulf of Mexico later today.
NHC has shifted the forecast track of Ike southward to near Corpus
Christi. 00z/06z/12z models agree with this forecast and are tightly
clustered between northern Mexico and Victoria, Texas. There is
little reason to disagree with the models as the forecast philosophy
remains the same. While this does not completely clear
Houston/Galveston, it certainly reduces potential threat. A NOAA Gulf
Stream mission is scheduled for tomorrow to sample the environment
around Ike. This will give high resolution data to the models and
help narrow the expected landfall spot. NHC noted in their 10am
update that the ECMWF picks up on a shortwave trof weakening the ridge
as Ike approaches. However, despite this the ECMWF still takes Ike
near Corpus Christi/Victoria for landfall, even though it turns the
cyclone due north shortly after landfall.
The intensity forecast is the problem this forecast period as Ike will
weaken during its trip across western Cuba. Once in the warm waters
of the Gulf, Ike will also be in a low shear environment. Current
timing provides Ike about 72 hours over this favorable environment,
with plenty of time to strengthen. The GFDL and HWRF models pick up
on this and both strengthen Ike to at least a Category 3 hurricane.
One of the models takes Ike to a Category 4. NHC's forecast remains
on the conservative side of guidance, which is a smart move at this
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