10 September 2004

Ivan very near Jamaica...

During the night and early morning hours, Ivan went through an eyewall
replacement cycle, and was hit by light northwesterly wind shear, and
weakened to 120kts as a result, but still a CAT4 hurricane.  The latest
satellite imagery shows gradual strengthening again, with the coldest
cloud tops wrapping around a clearing eye.

As of 21Z, Hurricane Ivan was located at 17.0N 76.2W and tracking WNW at
11kts.  Aircraft-measured intensity is 120kts and 937mb.  The storm is
just now entering enhanced SSTs and oceanic heat content as it nears
Jamaica and then again between Jamaica and Cuba.  The very dangerous
storm is just 80 miles away from Jamaica, and is expected to hit it
head-on tonight (around 1-2am local time) as a CAT4 storm... even
stronger than Gilbert '88 which was totally devastating.  Major
hurricane-force winds could ravage the island for up to 8 hours.

The death toll has already reached 25, and it hasn't even hit Jamaica,
Cuba, or the US yet.  But hopefully enough precautions and evacuations
have taken place that people will be safe.  The Florida Keys are
presently being evacuated.

The forecast is certainly of great interest to a LOT of people.  It
looks more and more apparent that Florida is indeed the target of yet
another tropical assault.  Jamaica will be hit late tonight, then
western-central Cuba on Sunday evening, then it should be very close to
the FL Keys midday Monday.  It is too early to give an exact landfall
location in mainland FL, aside from saying the panhandle and western
peninsula.  Intensity at US landfall will depend on what effects Cuba
has on it, so we'll have to wait until early Monday perhaps to see that.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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