01 October 2002

Kyle still a TS and meandering, Lili nearly a CAT2 hurricane over Cuba.

At 21Z yesterday, Kyle was downgraded to a TD, experiencing fairly
strong vertical shear and undergoing what appears to have been
circulation splitting.  However, as of 15Z today, he was re-upgraded to
a TS based on satellite estimates.  The location at 15Z was 28.0N 67.3W
and motion was stationary.  Winds are 35kts and MSLP is 1005mb.  The
forecast is for persistence... same place and same intensity for the
next three days.  A Tropical Storm Watch is still in effect for Bermuda.

The real concern is Hurricane Lili, who continues to intensify on her
track over Cuba and toward the U.S. Gulf coast.  She has passed directly
over the Isle of Youth and is over extreme western Cuba now.  Aircraft
flying into the storm have reported that the eyewall has been damaged by
the passage over land, and IR satellite imagery confirms that the
central convection is slightly weaker.  However, this is almost
certainly a temporary disruption in the intensification process... and
an expected one.  Lili will soon be over the open Gulf waters, which are
warm enough to support a major hurricane.  Shear is very low through the
storm and is expected to remain low.

At 15Z today, Lili was at 21.8N 83.7W and tracking WNW at 11kts (note
the increase in speed compared to during the weekend).  Maximum
sustained winds are 80kts (nearly CAT2) and the minimum central pressure
is down to 971mb.  A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the northern
Yucatan Peninsula, and a Hurricane Warning is in effect for the Isle of
Youth and western Cuba.  I strongly suspect that a Hurricane Watch will
be issued for LA and eastern TX by later today.  

Early this morning, I spoke with Hucky Purpera, the Natural and
Technological Hazards Division Chief at the Louisiana Office of
Emergency Preparedness, and although nothing has been ordered yet, he
believes their meeting this afternoon will initiate evacuations. 
Precautionary evacuations need to begin very soon, since landfall is
only about 48 hours away (volunteer evacuations are always appreciated
for those who wish to do so).  Recommended evacuations should begin
tonight or early Wednesday morning, and mandatory evacuations should
begin midday Wednesday at the latest.  The official forecast is for
landfall as a moderate CAT3 hurricane on Pecan Island, LA on late
Thursday morning.  This is about halfway between New Orleans and
Galveston, so a track deviation could put either of these major cities
at risk.  A storm such as this will force everyone south of I-10 and in
her path to leave; this could include Cameron, Lake Charles, Baton
Rouge, and/or New Orleans.  See
http://www.dotd.state.la.us/maps/lacoastlandsurf.pdf for a very good
coastal map of LA and evacuation routes.  LA has only experienced 12
major hurricane landfalls in the past 103 years, so it's not an
every-year occurence!

Elsewhere, a tropical wave and associated 1011mb Low is located at 10N
55W and moving W at 10kts.  There is a well-defined surface circulation,
but convection is sparse and the system is disorganized.
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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