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Originally posted by Tentickles
I just enjoy the fact that I am right in the way of this one. Should be interesting since we havent had a good Storm in my area in afew weeks.
Hurricane Ike's winds remain at Category 2 strength, but Ike is a freak storm with extreme destructive storm surge potential. Ike's pressure fell rapidly last night to 944 mb, but the hurricane did not respond to the pressure change by increasing its maximum winds in the eyewall. Instead, Ike responded by increasing the velocity of its winds away from the eyewall, over a huge stretch of the Gulf of Mexico. Another very unusual feature of Ike is the fact that the surface winds are much slower than the winds being measured aloft by the Hurricane Hunters. Winds at the surface may only be at Category 1 strength, even though Ike has a central pressure characteristic of a Category 3 or 4 storm. This very unusual structure makes forecasting the future intensity of Ike nearly impossible. The possibilities range from a Category 1 storm at landfall--as predicted by the HWRF model--to a Category 4 storm at landfall, as predicted by the GFDL. Ike is now larger than Katrina was, both in its radius of tropical storm force winds--275 miles--and in it radius of hurricane force winds--115 miles. For comparison, Katrina's tropical storm and hurricane force winds extended out 230 and 105 miles, respectively. Ike's huge wind field has put an extraordinarily large volume of ocean water in motion. When this swirling column of water hits the shallow waters of the Continental Shelf, it will be be forced up into a large storm surge which will probably rival the massive storm surge of Hurricane Carla of 1961. Carla was a Category 4 hurricane with 145 mph winds at landfall, and drove a 10 foot or higher storm surge to a 180-mile stretch of Texas coast. A maximum storm surge of 22 feet was recorded at Port Lavaca, Texas. Despite the fact that the center of Carla hit over 120 miles southwest of Houston, the hurricane drove a 15-foot storm surge into the bays along the south side of the city. I don't expect Ike will reach Category 4 strength, thus its maximum surge is not likely to reach the extreme values above 20 feet seen in Hurricane Carla. Like Carla, though, Ike will probably inundate a 180-mile stretch of Texas coast from Port O'Connor to just north of Galveston with a 10-15 foot storm surge. This will occur even if Ike is a Category 1 storm at landfall. The latest experimental storm surge forecast From NOAA's SLOSH model (Figure 1) shows a 10% chance that Ike's storm surge will exceed 15-21 feet at Galveston.
According to the NOAA tide gauges, the storm tides along the Mississippi coast have peaked at 4 feet above normal, and are currently running 5 feet above normal on the east side of New Orleans at Shell Beach in Lake Borgne. A storm surge of 5.9 feet was observed in New Orleans' Industrial Canal at 10:45 am CDT, and 5.75 feet in Waveland, Mississippi. Coastal Alabama is reporting a 4-6 foot storm surge, with 10-15 foot waves. Considering the center of Ike is over 250 miles south of these locations, it is not hard to imagine that Texas will get a 15-20 foot storm surge, even if Ike does not strengthen.
Ike will probably inundate a 250-mile stretch of Texas coast from Port O'Connor to the Louisiana border with a 10-15 foot storm surge. This will occur even if Ike is a Category 1 storm at landfall. If Ike is a Category 3+ hurricane at landfall, surges of 20+ feet are possible. The latest experimental storm surge forecast From NOAA's SLOSH model (Figure 1) shows a 10% chance that Ike's storm surge will exceed 18-21 feet at Galveston. The Galveston sea wall is 17 feet high, so it may get overtopped. At noon today, a mandatory evacuation of the entire island was ordered in case this worst-case scenario is realized. The official NHC forecast is calling for maximum storm surge heights of 20 feet.
Life threatening inundation likely!
All neighborhoods... and possibly entire coastal communities... will be inundated during high tide. Persons not heeding evacuation orders in single family one or two story homes will face certain death. Many residences of average construction directly on the coast will be destroyed. Widespread and devastating personal property damage is likely elsewhere. Vehicles left behind will likely be swept away. Numerous roads will be swamped... some may be washed away by the water. Entire flood prone coastal communities will be cutoff. Water levels may exceed 9 feet for more than a mile inland. Coastal residents in multi-story facilities risk being cutoff. Conditions will be worsened by battering waves. Such waves will exacerbate property damage... with massive destruction of homes... including those of block construction. Damage from beach erosion could take years to repair.
The only thing I have to worry about at the moment are the enormously tall industrial power lines next to my house.
The intensity guidance has come down since this morning...although
the GFDL still makes Ike a major hurricane. Factors inhibiting
development include the large broad wind field...strong winds over
areas of limited ocean heat content along and north of the path of
Ike...and an upper-level ridge over Texas that is forcing descent
and creating dry air ahead of the path of the hurricane. Indeed...
convection on the west side of Ike has been rather thin for much of
the day. However...this latter upper feature is forecast to slide
northeastward as Ike enters the northwestern Gulf...and in this
configuration would provide an upper pattern more conducive to
strengthening right before landfall. Currently the outflow is very
well established to the northeast and southwest of the center. The
official forecast is unchanged from the previous advisory and is in
best agreement with the GFDL guidance.