10 September 2008

Ike strengthening as it heads for Texas...

Over the past 18 hours, Ike has strengthened by 15kts and 11mb, and much more is likely in the coming days.  As of 15Z, it's at 80kts and 957mb, and it appears that an eyewall replacement cycle is beginning.  This should put a halt on any rapid intensification, but opens the gate for substantial intensification once the cycle is complete.  The motion is WNW at 7kts, and this expected to continue, only gradually speeding up somewhat over the next few days.

You can view a great full-resolution visible image loop at:

The latest official forecast shows a landfall near Corpus Christi very early Saturday morning as a CAT3-4 hurricane.  In the meantime, SSTs will be in the 29-30C range, and weak to moderate vertical shear.

Some parts of the Texas coast have already begun evacuations, particularly the Galveston and Corpus areas.  So far, Ike is responsible for about 75 deaths in Haiti and Cuba.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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