Ike takes aim on Freeport, Texas
At 4:00pm CDT –
– Hurricane warning continues for Morgan City, Louisiana westward to
Baffin Bay, Texas.
– The center of Category 2 Hurricane Ike was located 400 miles
east-southeast of Galveston, Texas. Movement is toward the
west-northwest at 10mph and this motion is expected to continue the
next 24 hours. Maximum sustained winds are 100mph and the forecast
remains at Cat 3 for landfall. Minimum surface pressure is 950mb.
– Ike is a very large tropical cyclone. Tropical storm and hurricane
force winds will arrive on the coast long before the center. Do not
focus on the pinpoint track or location of Ike.
– Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 115 miles from the center
and tropical storm force winds to 275 miles.
– Prepare now for Ike.
– Storm surge up to 20 feet is expected near and just east of the center.
Today has been interesting regarding the structure and intensity of
Ike. As noted in the prior discussion and with NHC, Ike is not acting
like a typical hurricane. The afternoon recon missions continue to
indicate this as the maximum winds are 116 miles away from the center.
Additionally, the pressure is at 950mb. Earlier I certainly felt
that Ike was down to Cat 1 given the pressure rise and satellite
presentation. Now, I'm having to look back, especially since the
water vapor presentation has improved over the past 2 hours. Outflow
has improved a little in the western semicircle. NHC notes that the
inner wind maximum dissipated and there is some reorganization at this
time. These items would tend to indicate that Ike is once again
getting organized and may attempt to strengthen. The HWRF model
lowered Ike to a tropical storm at landfall while the GFDL has a
Category 3. Ike is moving through an area of decent oceanic heat
potential through Friday afternoon. As Ike nears Galveston it will
enter an area of low heat content and this may impact the landfall
strength. This is assuming that Ike does head for Galveston/Freeport.
NHC is keeping with their prior forecast of a Cat 3, which is a good
idea. Ike continues to face over all limitations to significant
strengthening due to the very board wind field.
The forecast track seems pretty simplistic again this forecast period.
The issue remains at what point will the ridge weaken enough for Ike
to turn northwest and eventually north. The models are tightly
clustered near Freeport and this remains NHC's official forecast. As
with prior model runs, there are models on both sides of Freeport with
the NAM still near Corpus Christi.
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