Eye of the Storm

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Saturday, August 27, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Update 280300Z

AT 10 PM CDT...0300Z...A HURRICANE WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR THE NORTH
CENTRAL GULF COAST FROM MORGAN CITY LOUISIANA EASTWARD TO THE ALABAMA/FLORIDA BORDER...INCLUDING THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS AND LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN. A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.

At 10 PM CDT, the center of dangerous Hurricane Katrina was at 25.0 North 86.2 West, 335 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and moving to the west-northwest at 7 mph with a turn to the northwest expected to begin on Sunday. Maximum sustained winds are 115 mph and minimum central pressure has fallen to 939 millibars (27.73").

Hurricane Katrina Advisory Number 19

While maximum winds are unchanged, the wind field has increased in size. Enviromental conditions are favorable for intensification. Changes in the structure of Katrina could alter her strength, but they are not possible forecast with our present knowledge of hurricanes; they can only be reported as they happen. "The bottom line is that Katrina is expected to be an intense and dangerous hurricane heading towards the northern Gulf coast and this has to be taken very seriously."

It appears that the anticipated turn to the northwest has begun due to the retreating upper-level ridge of high pressure. The offical forecast closely follows the consensus of the global forecast models.

Hurricane Katrina Discussion Number 19

Official forecast track with watch and warning areas

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As Brendan notes, traffic is light in New Orleans. Tomorrow will probably feature the worst traffic in the history of the city. Plan and take action accordingly.

The most recent report from the Hurricane Hunters indicated that the eyewall is still ragged. However, pressure continues to fall, so while setup for the next round of intensification is not quite in place, it is near. Also, as noted in the discussion, Katrina is beginning to hog the Gulf of Mexico as she has expanded in size over the past few hours. Clouds from Katrina now extend from Belize to the edge of the Florida panhandle.

Several years ago I spoke to my high school principal about the then recent F5 tornado that struck Jarrell Texas , killing 27 people and leveling an entire subdivision of houses. I made a comment to the effect that things like that that make you realize that while we think we are the biggest and baddest thing around that there is something far bigger than us out there. He nodded and alluded to the MC Hammer song 'Pray' ("that's we pray".)

And such is the situation is tonight. While the traditional worst case refence for a hurricane is Camille, the potential path of Katrina makes me reach further back for such a reference, 105 years to be specific. I am referring, of course, to the Galveston storm of 1900. If Katrina bears on New Orleans, that is the sort of devestation we will see. While the death toll need not be high, inaction by individuals and the government could lead to that.

Pray for last minute shear, pray for an ever so slight delay in the sharpening of the turn to the north south that Katrina heads towards the less populated areas of the coast.

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