At about 23Z yesterday, Katrina made landfall as a CAT1 hurricane on North Miami Beach, FL. The storm was highly asymmetric, and nearly all of the rainfall occurred on the south side, quite extreme in some places. Wind gusts to nearly 85kts were observed at several places, and radar-estimated rainfall totals in southern FL are 10-20" along the south side of the track. So far, this hurricane has killed 4 people, and left 5 missing at sea. The hurricane barely noticed that it was over land, since the land is flat and mostly swampy. Then, a peculiar turn to the southwest allowed the storm to spend just 7 hours over the peninsula before exiting into the Gulf. It responded well to the transition and is now strengthening very quickly. The pressure at first landfall was 985mb, and shortly after landfall was 971mb (usually is the other way around!). Conditions over the Gulf are ideal for rapid intensification -- the SSTs will remain above 30C and the northerly shear that has been affecting it is expected to relax. At 15Z today, the center of Hurricane Katrina was located at 25.1N 82.2W and crawling W at 6kts. Intensity measured by aircraft is 85kts and 971mb, making it a CAT2 storm. The forecast is for continued strengthening, reaching at least CAT3 by the end of the weekend, and then hitting the FL panhandle (perhaps between Pensacola and Panama City) on Monday morning. Ahh, the Sunshine State... Elsewhere, the same circulation and area of disturbed weather I've mentioned lately in the deep tropics east of the Lesser Antilles struggles to get organized (it exited Africa on Aug 19). It still has persistent deep convection, but it is still well separated from the low-level center. It's located at about 20N 46W.Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.
26 August 2005
Katrina slams southern FL and intensifying...
Posted by at 11:48 AM