Eye of the Storm

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Tropical Storm Katrina Update 251900Z

At 3 PM EDT, the center of Tropical Storm Katrina was at 26.2 North 79.6 West, 35 miles east-southeast of Fort Lauderdale and 35 miles east of Boca Raton. Movement is to the west at 6 mph and is expected to slow during the next 24 hours. Maximum sustained winds are up to 70 mph and Katrina is expected to become a hurricane later today. Minimum central pressure is 990 millibars (29.23")

Tropical Storm Katrina Intermediate Advisory Number 8B


Katrina continues to have an atypical concentration of strong winds. Rather than existing in the northeast quadrant just outside of the eye, they have been further from the center to the east and southeast of it. But as I mentioned in a previous update, for the first landfall, the worry is rain, not winds.

Radar shows that the heaviest of the thunderstorms are in the southeast quadrant, while most of the northern half of the storm consists of less intense activity and dry air. As such, the areas most concerned for flooding are the rectangle formed by Fort Lauderale, Miami, Everglades City, and Naples, with the rest of the peninsula south of that box also being of concern. Totals in excess of a foot of rain are possible in the area defined by the box I've described, while other areas will probably have totals running in the high single digits. The situation is not quite as dire as that of Tropical Storm Allison of 1999, which caused extremely damaging flooding, but it is rather serious nonetheless.

Looking beyond the first landfall...

One of the more difficult things to do is to have faith in your forecast and be Gibraltar-like in your confidence and paying only minimal attention to a single run of the models that may shake that confidence.

I must admit to going wobbly due to the model runs last night. I adjusted my unofficial too far east, partially owing to giving due to a model that I had more or less been disregarding (the GFS).

With deep apologies for the flip-flop, I restore my unoffical watch area for the second landfall to extend from Mobile Alabama to St Marks Florida. My area of highest concern extends from Panama City Beach to Appalachicola. Concerns that I expressed earlier for a significant hurricane for the Florida panhandle remain, especially if the hurricane gets to the western part of my 'watch area'.

Yesterday featured one plane doing an upper-air mission to sample the enviroment around the storm. Today, in addition to the Gulfstream-IV jet, a WC-130 will be taking upper-air observations in the over-water areas along the path of Katrina. Like last night, the data will be fed into the computer model's forecasts which will be generated late tonight.


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