Hurricane Ike – 2008-7

Ike Strengthening

At 10:00pm CDT –

– Hurricane watch is posted for Cameron, Louisiana westward to
Mansfield, Texas.

– The center of Category 2 Hurricane Ike was located 675 miles east of
Brownsville, Texas. Movement is towards the northwest at 7mph and a
bend towards the west-northwest is expected by Thursday. Maximum
sustained winds are 100mph and slow strengthening is expected, Ike may
become a major hurricane by Friday. Minimum surface pressure is 944mb.

– Ike is a large cyclone, do not focus on the pinpoint track or location.

– Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 115 miles and tropical
storm force winds to 230 miles.

– NHC's official track is for landfall around 2:00am Saturday near
Freeport, Texas.

– Interest in the hurricane watch area should make preparations for
Ike's arrival.

Discussion:

I feel I'm going to get had on the landfall location. 00z models are
now between Victoria and Houston. This is why NHC and others
emphasize not to focus on the forecast track at 4 and 5 days out. We
got kind of lucky with Gustav, but not with Ike. Indeed NHC's new
track is about 30 miles west of Galveston. This puts Galveston and
associated areas in the right semicircle and the most significant
storm surge. While I think NHC has fine tuned this real well, there
could be forecast shifts as we are still 48 hours out from landfall.
NHC clearly notes the model differences with Corpus Christi still
targeted by a few of the models. Galveston to Victoria remain in the
realm of chaos at this point as a small wobble could easily change the
landfall area.

Ike's current pressure now rivals what it was before it hit Cuba as a
Category 4. However, since Ike is so large, about two times what it
was prior to Cuba, there is a lot more required to bring the wind
speed up. This would explain Ike remaining at 100mph given the 944mb
pressure. Ike's new track will keep it out of the warmest part of the
Gulf, but it will still be moving over favorable sea surface
temperatures through landfall. Additionally, shear will be low near
Ike. The biggest obstacle to Ike becoming a Cat 4 seems to be the
size of Ike at this point. NHC notes the small inner core being a
limitation to immediate strengthening along with passage over a cold
eddy. However, Ike may be in more favorable conditions late Thursday
into Friday. As such, the forecast for a high-end Category 3
hurricane at landfall remains.

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About Putnam Reiter

Putnam has been storm chasing since 1990 and is a co-founder of Hook-Echo.com. For his day job, Putnam works in emergency management for information technology.
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