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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Models Zero Gustav in on Louisiana

I said last week that I would be amazed if this storm worked out with precision on the LA coastline. In fact, I continued to call for the model bias to far west. Well, I was wrong, here this morning you can see the model agreement slamming just west of New Orleans. This reminds me of the super-storm of '93, when the MRF model was put on the scene with a near perfect forecast 120 hrs (5 Days) out. Sometimes the really big ones don't have to deal with being impacted by other systems to screw things up.
This path would keep the storm surge on the worst case scenario. Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River will take a steady flow from the east and pile up more water than Katrina just based on track alone.

Fluctuation in Strength

Here is the Potential Heat Map showing the warm pool loop north of Cuba, while the depth of the warm water and the temperatures are not as supportive closer to the coast. This is why Katrina weakened just before landfall, and Gustav should do the same. So while it may get back to Cat 4 or maybe just barely a 5, it should break down a little as it reaches land late tomorrow. The bad news is that the 'wave memory' will have a surge resembling the strong version of the storm. This is mush like Isabel did for us. It peaked out at 150mph winds 3-4 days before making landfall, but was beat down to a Category 1/2, with much stronger surge than anyone truly expected up the bay. Consider the forward speed as well, acting like a boat pushing a wake. As of this morning, it was swiftly moving at 16mph, and may speed up. That shortens the time until landfall, and it's chance to weaken much. It also itself increases the wave pressure in front of the storm. so a Category 3 storm moving at 15-20mph may produce a higher surge than a Category 3 moving at 5 mph. In fact you might equate the surge to that of a Category 5- pushing the limits of 25-35 feet of water, similar to what Katrina did to Biloxi, MS.

Tropical Storm Hanna is like the GOP convention. It's still there, but not getting the press coverage it should. We will have to watch this storm, as it may now shift north from the Bahamas to the east coast.
Here is the GFS model showing it at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay next Saturday. Wouldn't that just stink! I'm supposed to host a Fantasy Football League Party that day!
This is just one of the many potentials, and still 1 week away.
It's good TV, but a horrible set up for too many people. Good luck and G-D speed to the people on the coast.

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