Caribbean-On-Line's Caribbean Hurricane Blog



Ike weakens to a category 1 - track still unsure

Published on September 9, 2008 9:07 AM | Comments

HURRICANE IKE DISCUSSION NUMBER 33 NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL092008 500 AM EDT TUE SEP 09 2008

SURFACE OBSERVATIONS AND DATA FROM A RECONNAISSANCE PLANE INDICATE THAT IKE HAS A LARGE AREA OF TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS BUT THE INNER CORE OR EYE IS VERY SMALL BUT WELL DEFINED...ABOUT 6 TO 8 NM. THE EYE CAN BE SEEN FROM CUBAN AND KEY WEST RADARS. ALTHOUGH THE MINIMUM PRESSURE HAS BEEN AROUND 963-965 MB...THE MAXIMUM FLIGHT LEVEL WINDS MEASURED SO FAR WERE ONLY 69 KNOTS. THE INITIAL INTENSITY IS KEPT AT 70 KNOTS ASSUMING THAT THE PLANE HAS NOT SAMPLED THE ENTIRE CIRCULATION...BUT THIS VALUE APPEARS QUITE GENEROUS AT THIS TIME. ON THE OTHER HAND...GIVEN THE WELL DEFINED STRUCTURE ON RADAR AND SATELLITE AND THE FACT THAT IKE HAS SEVERAL MORE HOURS OVER THE VERY WARM WATERS SOUTH OF CUBA...THE WINDS WINDS COULD INCREASE SOME NEAR THE CORE BEFORE MOVING OVER WESTERN CUBA. ONCE OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO IN ABOUT 24 HOURS...IKE WILL HAVE PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITY TO STRENGTHEN SINCE THE ENVIRONMENT IS CONDUCIVE...AND THE HURRICANE WILL LIKELY MOVE OVER SEVERAL AREAS OF HIGH HEAT CONTENT. THE OFFICIAL FORECAST MAKES IKE A CATEGORY 3 HURRICANE AND THIS VALUE IS IN BETWEEN THE DYNAMICAL AND STATISTICAL MODELS.

FIXES FROM CUBAN AND KEY WEST RADARS AS WILL AS PENETRATIONS FROM A RECONNAISSANCE PLANE INDICATE THAT THE SMALL EYE OF IKE IS MOVING WESTWARD OR 280 DEGREES AT 10 KNOTS...VERY CLOSE TO THE ZAPATA PENINSULA ON THE SOUTH COAST OF WESTERN CUBA. A GENERAL WESTWARD TO WEST-NORTHWESTWARD TRACK BETWEEN THE ISLE OF YOUTH AND THE SOUTH COAST OF HAVANA PROVINCE SHOULD CONTINUE DURING THE NEXT SEVERAL HOURS. THEN...THE CENTER SHOULD CROSS WESTERN CUBA LATER TODAY. UNFORTUNATELY... IKE IS EXPECTED TO MOVE VERY NEAR TO WHERE HURRICANE GUSTAV CROSSED CUBA A WEEK OR SO AGO. THE STEERING PATTERN IN THE GULF OF MEXICO HAS CHANGED LITTLE AND IKE IS EXPECTED TO TURN MORE TO THE NORTHWEST DURING THE NEXT 2 DAYS OR SO AS THE RIDGE WEAKENS DUE TO THE PASSAGE OF A SHORT WAVE. THEREAFTER...THE RIDGE IS FORECAST TO RESTRENGTHEN AND SHOULD FORCE IKE ON A MORE WESTWARD TRACK. IN FACT...UNANIMOUSLY...GUIDANCE SHIFTED SOUTHWARD AND ONCE AGAIN THE OFFICIAL FORECAST WAS ADJUSTED TO THE LEFT AND STILL IS ON THE NORTHERN SIDE OF THE GUIDANCE ENVELOPE.

IT CANNOT BE OVEREMPHASIZED THAT ONE SHOULD NOT FOCUS ON 4 AND 5 DAY FORECAST POINTS SINCE THESE CAN BE SUBJECT TO SUBSTANTIAL ERRORS. DO NOT FORGET THAT FEW DAYS AGO...THE GUIDANCE UNANIMOUSLY HAD IKE NEAR SOUTH FLORIDA AND THEN GRADUALLY SHIFTED THE DANGER TOWARD WESTERN CUBA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO.



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