Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:34 PM GMT on September 14, 2008
The National Hurricane Center has issued its last advisory on Tropical Depression Ike, which is now accelerating northeastward through Illinois. Ike is causing only modest trouble, dumping 2-5 inches of rain along its path and triggering scattered severe thunderstorms. Ike has generated just five tornadoes so far. Two small tornadoes affected Arkansas yesterday, and three were reported in Louisiana on Friday. The Storm Prediction Center has placed portions of Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio at slight risk today of receiving tornadoes as Ike speeds by.
In it's wake, Ike has left a Texas-sized disaster. AIR Worldwide, Inc, is estimating that total insured damage in Texas and Louisiana will be $10 billion. An additional $3.4 billion in damage was likely done in the Gulf of Mexico, due to wind and wave damage to oil platforms and the indirect loss of revenue attributable to reductions in oil and gas production. Using the usual rule of thumb that total hurricane damages are double the insured damages, the price tag for Ike will be about $27 billion. That would make Ike the third costliest hurricane in history. Only Hurricane Katrina of 2005 and Hurricane Andrew of 1992 did more damage than Ike has. So far, the death toll from Ike has been remarkably low, considering the level of damage this storm inflicted. Let's hope it stays this way.
Figure 1. Hurricane Ike approaching Galveston Island, as seen by Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). The white dot in the eye is the freighter Antalina, which got caught in the storm when its engines failed. A tugboat towed the Antilina safely to port on Saturday, and all 22 crewmen are well and the ship is undamaged. They'll have quite a story to tell (bet they barfed plenty)! Image Copyright ESA , captured and processed by CSTARS University of Miami under license from Eurimage. CSTARS runs jointly with the Canadian Space Agency and the European Space Agency a Hurricane Watch program where they take routine SAR images of tropical storms during hurricane season.
The tropics are quiet
On Monday, for the first time since August 15, we will not have a named storm in the Atlantic. The area of disturbed weather (91L) near the Bahamas that we were watching has been done in by dry air and wind shear. There is another area of disturbed weather (92L) midway between Africa and the Lesser Antilles Islands we are watching. This disturbance is under about 25 knots of wind shear, and is suffering from dry air to its west. NHC is giving this system a low (<20% chance) of developing into a tropical depression by Tuesday. Wind shear is now expected to remain high, above 20 knots, for the next five days, and I don't see much chance of this system developing.
None of the computer models are forecasting development of any tropical storms in the coming week. We have hit a much-appreciated lull in this season's activity, but we're probably not all done yet. I'll discuss the long-term outlook for the coming two weeks in a blog entry on Tuesday.
My next post will be Monday morning.
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