Tropical storm warnings replace hurricane warnings from Grand Isle Louisiana to Aucilla River Florida. New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain can expect tropical storm conditions with winds up to 70 MPH within 24 hours.
Dangerous storm tides are still expected- raising water levels by 3-5 feet above ground level near the point of landfall. Expect a storm surge along with large and destructive waves along the coastline.
Hurricane warnings issued from Pascagoula eastward to Indian Pass, Florida with a landfall expected late Monday night into Tuesday. Sure it's November, but this storm could still pack a wallop. Stay tuned.
All models are pointing to a Houston area landfall on Saturday as a Category 3 storm. Mandatory evacuations are posted. Watch our feed of live Houston coverage here.
Ike has finally moved off the coast of Cuba after a 3-day beating. Weakened to a Category 1 storm, Ike is now re-energizing in the Gulf. All models call for continuing strengthening over some warm eddies before a mid-Texas landfall in the early morning Saturday. Forecasts make Ike a category three major hurricane at landfall.
The Turks and Caicos were severely damaged by this season's most ferocious storm, as Havana expects the worst. Expect a weakened Ike to make the warm waters of the Gulf sometime Tuesday. Best guesses point toward a late week Texas landfall; best guesses indicate a significant storm at landfall. Stay tuned...
This amazing season continues. There's a string of storms stretched across the Atlantic, with a powerful Category 4 storm sandwiched in the middle. Best guesses put Hanna near the South Carolina coast late Friday, with a quick turn north along the East Coast this weekend. Right now it's only packing 65 MPH winds, but strengthening to a minimal hurricane is expected.
Ike is the one to watch; the 5 day track moves it into the Caribbean with a slight northwest bend late Sunday. Could be a Southeast US troublemaker after that...
It could have been much worse. Gustav came ashore around 9:30am near Cocodrie Louisiana as a Category 2 storm. New Orleans was spared the brunt of the storm, but Morgan City has experienced widespread damage.
Tonight local and federal authorities have started site surveys to assess damage and rescue anyone in need. Some levees have been breached as crews work to shore up the damage. Most levees are expected to hold.
The storm is moving northwest as it weakens throughout the night. Rainfall and sub-hurricane force winds are still the biggest concerns.
Meanwhile Hanna has turned into the fourth named storm of the year, focusing attention to the East coast later this week.
Though the National Hurricane Center has been slow to adjust their track, they too have now moved the official forecast for a Gustav land fall to the west. The models have been trending that way for a while. But after the experience of 2005, the government's top hurricane forecasting arm is going to be slow to give anyone a stand-down order in New Orleans. Even if the current track is correct which takes Gustav to a landfall point somewhere between Morgan City and New Iberia, Louisiana, the city of New Orleans could take hurricane force winds.
It has been interesting to
see the NHC forecast thinking as one by one the models shifted. As only one
significant model remained far enough to the east to take in New Orleans, the
hurricane center forecasters continued to keep the official track in line with
it and far to the right of model consensus. Yes, like Supreme Court opinions
the "justices" of the NHC are slow to challenge the wisdom of their
brethren. And with history and the still huge population center focused in New
Orleans it makes sense to err on the side of caution when it comes to that particular
location. It's a bit like Chicago and fire: you get a good blaze on a windy
night and people start thinking 1872 and they send a few extra trucks. For those
of you savvy weather watchers combing the internet however, it is further testament
to the fact that your first indication of forecast track, timing and intensity
changes are likely to come from sources other than the hurricane center.
All of this said, the storm track continues to rumble over significant oil and natural gas rigs and in fact may portend even more disruption to those industries than a more easterly track to or east of New Orleans.
And the intensity forecast, which has been upped by the NHC (but had been being trumpeted by other outside sources like AccuWeather), certainly does not bode well for Morgan City and New Iberia.
Some members of our HurricaneNow team rode out hurricane Andrew (some forget it made a second landfall after Florida near Morgan City) in Morgan City and have fond memories of a night spent in a high school gymnasium as the Cat 3 hurricane roared ashore. The ride back to New Orleans in a rental van with no windows was also a treat one has to experience to appreciate.
Yes, Gustav may have temporarily
lost its hurricane status. But, make no mistake, it is hard to envision a scenario
in which we will not have a significant hurricane to deal with somewhere on
the Gulf coast sometime next week. Yes it has been weakened by interaction by
the mountains of Haiti. Yes it is a ways out. Yes the National Hurricane Center
track only takes us 5 days so technically it does not yet forecast a US landfall.
Even the models don't project far enough into the future to take the storm to
But make no mistake, there are very few scenarios which envision anything other than any large and powerful storm somewhere in Texas, Louisiana or perhaps even Florida, Mississippi or Alabama before next week is done.
If you check the historical
storm tracks on the Weather Underground website,
http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/tracking/at200807_climo.html#a_topad you see that every August hurricane that passed within 300 miles of Gustav's position over the past 150 years has made landfall either along the US or Mexican Gulf coast.
All of the models, as you
can see summarized here on the HAMweather site,
are sending the storm to the Texas or Louisiana coasts.
And the path most models traverse
takes it across the warmest of water anywhere in the Gulf. Check out the blog
by WeatherUnderground's Dr. Jeff Masters.
As Masters points out, these kinds of warm waters are just the type responsible for the rapid intensification of hurricanes Charley, Katrina, and Rita.
Yes, it is possible an unlikely track directly over Cuba could begin to take the storm apart. Yes it's possible a severely weakened storm could miss the very warmest of the warm Gulf water. If so perhaps a weak hurricane or even tropical storm is what emerges and hits a relatively unpopulated area on the Texas coast or Florida panhandle. That is the most favorable of scenarios.
The worst: after Haiti, Gustav stays mostly over water...intensifies to a Cat 3 or 4 and then hits that warm eddy in the Gulf and blows up to a huge and powerful Category 5 storm and heads it right for the battered but, as yet, unbowed New Orleans.
The official forecast right now: a Cat 3 that comes in just west of New Orleans...perhaps the Texas/Louisiana border. Stay tuned...
Hurricane Gustav quickly grew into a powerful storm literally overnight Monday and forecasters call for further strengthening after it passes Haiti. This one is serious. The NHC indicates this could be 'an extremely dangerous hurricane in the NW Carribbean Sea in a few days' with a major southwest shift in the path as well. We'll know in a day or two what Gustav is thinking.
Who expected this? Tropical Storm Fay continues to meander across Florida at a crawl, dumping record rainfall as it turns west into the panhandle. With sustained winds of around 60 mph, this wannabe hurricane will be remembered by many as the annoying storm that dumped as much as 30-inches of soaken misery across the state. Look for a weakened Fay to wander into the Gulf late Friday or early Saturday, then turn into Alabama and Mississippi before fading away.
Tropical Storm Fay, already this season's 6th, is expected to approach hurricane status as it nears the Florida Keys on Monday. Forecasts warn that Fay could strengthen rapidly IF it becomes well organized over water. All residents of the West Coast and panhandle of Florida should brace for an early week impact- how powerful we won't begin to know for at least another 24 hours.
Tropical Storm Edouard looms in the Gulf of Mexico moving slowly toward a mid-Tuesday landfall in Texas. Despite a weakening trend, tropical storm force winds are anticipated from Morgan City, Louisiana to Galveston Bay.
Hurricane Dolly brought 100mph winds and up to 20 inches of rain as she made landfall 35 miles north of Brownsville, Texas around 1pm CDT. Near-hurricane force winds continue throughout the evening. Floods could be the lasting impact of this season's first major landfall.
What's next? The tropics look calm with a large tropical wave in the far Eastern Atlantic. The NHC says there's less than a 20% probability of tropical depression development with this wave over the next several days.
Hurricane warnings are posted from Brownsville to Corpus Christi and the televison crews are flooding the beaches of South Padre Island. Forecasters don't expect much more than a category 1 or 2 at best, but the warm waters of the gulf can do strange things to wandering storms.
Rain could be the real story here with localized amounts of up to 15 inches.
Storm surges are predicted to 3-6 feet. Check out our VBlog on storm surges in the video window below. Meanwhile we'll watch the storm as it makes landfall Wednesday in extreme southeast Texas.
Cristobal heads out to the North Atlantic, no longer impacting land. Bertha is just a memory.
We just received the 70th and final advisory from the NHC on Bertha as she's officially gone extra-tropical over the North Atlantic. Bertha was the longest lasting July Atlantic storm on record. Is this a mark of what's to come?
Cristobal is skirting the East Coast, bringing well-needed rain to the parched southeast. Unfortunately it doesn't look like it'll drop enough moisture to break the drought conditions as it parallel's the east coast of the US on it's way north. Best guesses keep this out to sea with some squalls and heavy surf along the Eastern Seaboard.
Dolly is expected to impact the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico as a tropical storm before passing into the warm and open waters of the Gulf. Interests in Texas should keep an eye on this storm. The five-day cone has the storm crossing the US/Mexican border as a full-blown hurricane on Wednesday. We'll need to keep a close eye on Cristobal.
Looks like we could be in for another busy season.
It's now looking more and more like we will get our first hurricane of the 2008 season. The National Hurricane Center now forecasts tropical storm Bertha to reach wind speeds in excess of 75mph and become a hurricane within the next day or so. Wind shear should be light and sea surface temperatures warmer allowing for the upgrade. But it also seems likely the storm will begin to curve to the northwest and eventually north and finally back to the northeast before it reaches any land. Models are now coming into much better agreement in calling for the curve to sea before getting anywhere near the US.
So it seems the name "Bertha" will again bring a hurricane, but one that falls short of being retired. The last hurricane Bertha struck the US coast in North Carolina in July 1996. It was expected to be a fairly weak, cat 1 storm as it neared shore, but intensified before landfall to a a near Cat 3 hurricane. The name Bertha was used again in 2002, btw. -JF- READ OUR ARCHIVE FROM 2005 - 2007 HERE >>
HurricaneNow co-founder Tom Casale covered hurricane Bertha in 1996 on assignment for CNN and remembers a tricky storm that packed more punch that first forecast...one that made for some interesting television.
Here are Tom's recollections:
It was probably smart for
the Weather Channel crew to give us their rooms in the two-story motel just
yards off the beach and Mercer Pier in Wrightsville Beach, NC.
They sped away too fast for us to change our minds. We anticipated Bertha's landfall as a category 1 and felt fairly safe in this old concrete structure.
Four hours later the gusts of the storm began to blow out the motel windows one loud crash at a time. Beneath us the ocean poured across the dunes as we quickly lost the only escape route. Our only connection to the mainland now was was a radio and cellphone with dying batteries. Another hour later the ground floor was filled with three feet of salt water, the winds were blowing in excess of 110 MPH, and the Mercer Pier had broken into dozens of pieces, the largest of which were smashing into the pilings of the motel, shaking the entire structure with each smash.
We were stuck. All bridges and roads to the mainland were closed and travel on the city streets was ridiculous. We looked around the motel to find a 'just in case' way out. We scoped out some ropes and cables to secure ourselves in case things got really rough.
The four of us huddled in the room while Jeff Flock filed reports to Atlanta from the cellphone. The radio (and the CNN anchor) encouraged us to find shelter- thanks. We listened to the winds calm as the eye approached. It gave us a chance to venture down to the garage to find our vehicles floating and the ocean flowing like a river through the main street feet away.
The backside of the storm brought a shift of the winds, still gusty enough to blow out the windows on the opposite side of the motel. Now the only dry (and safe) haven in the motel was a small dark area in the hallway, next to the melting ice machine. We took stock of our gear, took turns dozing , and shot video every 30-minutes or so throughout the rest of the night to save a chronology of the storm. By sunrise the winds were calm. We were exhausted, sandblasted and soaked.
At 6am we ventured into what was the main street outside the motel. We looked up. Almost every window in the hotel was smashed, more than 3 feet of sand replaced the ocean water in the garage and our cars were curiosly parked by the tide. The entire Mercer Pier was littered across the beach and thoughout our garage.
Slowly the other residents wandered into the streets like zombies, surprised by the fury of the storm that grew much larger than anyone predicted.
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