12 September 2008

Ike heading for Galveston and Houston...

The forecast track for Ike has not budged in the last day, and it still looks like Galveston/Houston are in extreme danger.  Ike has strengthened a little to 90kts, but appears that it's finally completing the dragged-out eyewall replacement cycle, which should allow it to intensify before landfall.  It's getting much better organized, with rejuvenated convection encircling the eye.  Its tropical storm force winds already extend inland from Galveston eastward to the LA/MS border.  Hurricane force winds extend out as much as 120 miles from the center now.  This is a VERY large and powerful storm, carrying with it the potential for a 25' storm surge into Galveston Bay.  This surge could be greater than Camille's, Carla's, and Katrina's, so it should certainly be taken seriously.

Galveston Island is already flooding, and Ike is still 200 miles offshore.  Eastern Houston is also expected to flood later tonight and into Saturday morning.  So far, only 1/2 of Galveston had been evacuated... hopefully the remainder make it out in the next few hours, or we could face a catastrophe not unlike the Galveston Hurricane of 1900.  A pier on the Gulf side of Galveston Island is already reporting water levels 6' higher than normal.  And a buoy just offshore from the northern tip of the island is experiencing 19' significant wave heights (individual waves could be twice that high)... and still increasing.

The latest full-resolution visible satellite loop is at:
and 1-minute imagery from GOES-W is at:

A long-range radar loop from Houston is at:
and the short-range version is at:

You'll find additional reports on the storm at http://topics.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/hurricanes/

Landfall is still expected to occur in the early morning hours on Saturday, but that's when the center of the eye crosses the coast.  Severe weather and flooding is already occurring inland, and will only get worse as the day goes on.  It could come ashore as a CAT3 storm, given its recent trend in appearance.

Elsewhere, an easterly wave that had been strongly sheared is entering a more favorable environment and is now located just east of the Bahamas.  This seems to be related to the remnants of Josephine... it will be monitored for development as it heads toward the southeast US coast.  This could be another potential TS/CAT1 landfall as early as Monday.  The next name on the list is Kyle (unless it's determined that it has enough Josephine ancestry, then it would be brought back as Josephine).

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

No comments:

Post a Comment