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MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 105 MPH...165 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. IKE IS A CATEGORY TWO HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. ADDITIONAL WEAKENING IS FORECAST AS IKE MOVES OVER CENTRAL CUBA TODAY.
But flood control officials still were worried about a similar outcome with Dolly, noting that the levees on the Rio Grande have been deteriorating for decades and might not hold.
"We have done studies of our levee systems, which modeled what would happen if a 100-year flood went through," Spener said, "and there are some segments in Hidalgo County that would be topped."
Ike will be emerging into the GOM in a few hrs. The 12Z Track Guidance is surprisingly in reasonable agreement a WNW to NW turn over the GOM as the 1st of two upper troughs moves into the Central US. This first one will not be ebnough to pick up IKe, and pressure looks set to rebuild into the CS US. This will turn IKE more westerly over Thurs period. As we go into Friday, another trough emerges from the Western US and begins to move east. Global Models should have a better handle on the outcome here due to their larger ranges. The UKMET, ECM, and now 12Z GFS indicate that the trough will be deep enough to erode the ridge and turn Ike NW toward the Texas Coast. The amount of turn is down to the speed of Ike and the speed of the upper trough. however the GFS and UKMEt are similar, the GFS a little further SW. However the Central Coast of Texas has just seen its chances increase of a direct hit from Ike.
The intensity is problematical. The Oceanic and Upper level pattern is highly favourable for strengthening. The storm is forecast to pass over at least 3 warm eddys and the shear is light to zero. The Hurricane has a well established outflow that is excellent in all quadrants . Its negative for strengthening is its size. Ike is becoming a monster. TS force winds extend outwards a few hundred miles. These tpes of storm take a while to gather their strength and their is a chance Ike will not strenghten much. However if the favouable factors combine and the inner core does start to deepen quickly again then Ike could become a real huge hurricane. ITs satellite presentation even over Cuba tonight looks very impressive and much stronger than it actually is. I am not quite bullish enough to support the HWRF, but all the Globals suggest Ike will deepen over the GOM, now whilst they cannot gauge a hurricanes internal structure they can model the upper atmosphere and that is forecast to be very conducive to strengthening. Ike could be a very powerful Hurricane approaching the Texas coast in a few days...
Hurricane Ike has taken advantage of the warm Gulf of Mexico waters it is over, and has already built an eyewall. At 7:02 m EDT, the Hurricane Hunters found a complete eyewall, which can also be seen on infrared satellite loops and Key West radar. The infrared satellite imagery also shows a rapid cooling of the cloud tops in Ike's eyewall and some of the spiral bands, indicating that the thunderstorms are penetrating higher into the atmosphere--a sign of strengthening. The latest data from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicates that the pressure has begun to fall, but Ike's winds remain at minimal hurricane force, 75 mph. All indications are that Ike will intensify into a very dangerous major hurricane that will hit the Texas coast Friday night or Saturday.
Tropical Storm Chris moved to the northwest and gradually strengthened before reaching its peak strength on August 2 with winds of 65 mph (100 km/h), when it was to the northeast of the United States Virgin Islands. More » The storm was forecast to strengthen further and become a hurricane as it moved into the Bahamas. However, Chris began to be affected by wind shear and became disorganized.
Intensity forecast for Ike
Ike survived the passage of Cuba well, and remains a large and well-organized hurricane. Significant strengthening is ready to occur, now that Ike has built a new eyewall. I expect Ike will be a Category 2 or 3 hurricane by Wednesday night, and Ike has the potential to become a Category 4 hurricane by Thursday, as forecast by the HWRF and GFDL models. Water temperatures are a warm 29.5°C in the Gulf of Mexico, and wind shear is expected to be modest, 10-15 knots, for the remainder of Ike's life. Ike will be crossing over two regions of high heat content associated with the Loop Current and a Loop Current eddy (Figure 3). There is much higher oceanic heat content off the Texas coast than was present off the Louisiana coast for Gustav. Thus, it is more likely that Ike will be able to maintain major hurricane status as it approaches the coast. The GFDL model predicts landfall near Corpus Christi as a Category 3 hurricane Friday night. The SHIPS model is less aggressive, and foresees a strong Category 1 hurricane at landfall. Given the impressive appearance of Ike on satellite imagery, and the forecasts of high heat content and low shear along its path, I would be surprised if Ike hit as anything weaker than a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds. Here's my rough probability break-down for Ike's strength at landfall, I forecast a 50% chance Ike will be a major hurricane at landfall:
Category 1 or weaker: 20%
Category 2: 30%
Category 3: 30%
Category 4 or 5: 20%
I noted earlier that Brownsville and the county it lies in has weak levees. I hope that's not the case in CC.