Ida weakens to a tropical storm; tropical disturbance 96E kills 124 in El Salvador

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:20 PM GMT on November 09, 2009

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Tropical Storm Ida is steadily weakening as it hurtles northwards towards the Gulf of Mexico coast. Rains from Ida have already pushed into south-central Louisiana, where radar estimates indicate up to an inch of rain has fallen. Winds along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle were 20 - 25 mph this morning, and will steadily increase today as Ida draws near. Winds at the Mississippi Canyon buoy 150 miles south of Gulfport, MS were sustained at 45 mph at 8 am EST this morning, with 19 foot waves.


Figure 1. Microwave "radar in space" image of Ida taken at 7:15 am EST on Monday, 11/9/09. The eye is visible as a dark spot, but the eyewall has partially collapsed. The strongest echoes are on the north side of the storm, and Ida's heaviest rains and highest winds will hit the coast tonight, well in advance of the arrival of the center. Image credit: Navy Research Lab, Monterey.

Infrared and visible satellite loops show that wind shear has substantially degraded the appearance of Ida, and there is very little heavy thunderstorm activity in the storm's eyewall. Most of Ida's heavy thunderstorms have been displaced to the north of the storm, due to strong upper-level winds out of the southwest creating 30 knots of wind shear. Water vapor satellite imagery reveals a large area of dry air to the southwest of Ida, and the shear has now driven this dry air deep into the core of the storm, significantly disrupting it. The latest 6:30am EST vortex report from the Hurricane Hunters reported that the eyewall was ragged, and the pressure had risen to 997 mb. A recent microwave satellite image of Ida (Figure 1) shows that the eyewall is weak and has partially collapsed. Ida's most intense thunderstorms are on the north side of the storm, and the heaviest rains and highest winds will hit the coast tonight, well in advance of the arrival of the center.

The intensity forecast for Ida
The intensity forecast models predict that Ida's winds will range between 50 - 65 knots (58 - 74 mph) at landfall. The high wind shear of 30 knots currently affecting Ida is forecast to increase to 40 knots by late afternoon, and 55 knots by midnight. With Ida now over waters near 26°C, which is barely enough to support a hurricane, and with water temperatures decreasing to 23°C near the coast, the combination of high wind shear and cold waters will act to significantly weaken Ida. However, Ida is beginning to transition to an extratropical storm, and it is often the case that during such a transition the winds will gain energy from the process, though that's looking unlikely in this case. I expect Ida's top winds will be in the 50 - 60 mph range along the coast tonight and Tuesday morning. Regardless of Ida's strength at landfall, the storm will be able to dump 4 - 8 inches of rain along the Gulf Coast and well inland. We can't rule out the possibility of an isolated tornado when Ida makes landfall, but the Storm Prediction Center Discussion maintains that the airmass in place over the Gulf Coast is relatively stable, and prospects for an appreciable severe weather threat appear low.


Figure 2. Maximum storm surge (depth of water above ground) for a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph winds moving north-northeast at 15 mph. Ida is expected to be moving at this speed and direction at landfall, but will be much weaker, so surges will not be this high. Furthermore, the storm will not create this level of surge along the entire coast--the image above is a composite worst-case scenario for all the storms shown by the black tracks with arrows. Image credit: NOAA SLOSH model run for Mobile Bay, 2008 version. Heights are given relative to the NAVD88 datum.

The storm surge forecast for Ida
Storm surge is the other major concern for Ida. With a strong high pressure system anchored over the U.S. today, the pressure difference between this high and Ida is creating a strong pressure gradient that was driving tides 2.5 feet above normal at Shell Beach, LA (on the east side of New Orleans) this morning, one foot above normal at Dauphin Island, AL, and one foot at Pensacola, FL (Figure 3). NHC is now calling for a storm surge of 3 - 5 feet above ground level, which is a reasonable forecast even if Ida weakens further. A large stretch of coast will be subject to very high water levels for an extended period of time today and tomorrow, with battering waves on top of the surge likely to cause a significant coastal erosion event. A particular concern is the western end of Alabama's Dauphin Island, when even a strong tropical storm can cause significant damage to the low-lying, heavily developed barrier island. The tidal range along the Gulf Coast varies by about 1.5 feet between low and high tide, and high tide is near 2 am EST on Tuesday.




Figure 3. Observed vs. predicted water levels at three coastal stations. Top: Shell Beach, LA (just east of New Orleans); middle: Dauphin Island, Alabama; bottom: Pensacola, FL. The green line shows how high above normal the water is. For Shell Beach, it was 2.5 feet above normal at 9am CST, while it was just over 1.0 feet above normal at the other two locations. Image credit: NOAA Tides and Currents.

Comparing to Hurricane Kate
The last November hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico was Hurricane Kate. Kate struck the Florida Panhandle near Mexico Beach on November 21, 1985 as a Category 2 storm with 105 mph winds. According to Wikipedia, Kate killed five people in Florida and did $300 million (1985 dollars) in damage. Ida will cause relatively minor damage compared to Kate.

Links to follow:
U.S. Severe Weather Page
Wundermap for the Gulf Coast of Alabama.
Long-range radar out of New Orleans, LA.
Navarre Beach, FL webcam.
Coastal observations from the University of South Alabama.
Coastal observations from LSU.

El Salvador floods kill 124
Heavy rains that began on Thursday due to tropical disturbance 96E have killed at least 124 people in El Salvador, with 60 people still missing. The flooding hit the capital of San Salvador and rural areas to the east. The heavy rains were due to tropical disturbance 96E (Figure 4), which formed off the coast of El Salvador on Wednesday, November 4. The counter-clockwise flow of air around the disturbance pulled large quantities of moist, Pacific air over the coastal mountains in El Salvador, dumping heavy rains of up to five inches, according to satellite estimates. The rains must have been much heavier over a small area that the satellite could not resolve. The terrible devastation I'm seeing in news photos indicates much higher rains of perhaps 10 - 15 inches must have fallen in a concentrated area in the mountains.


Figure 4. Satellite image of tropical disturbance 96E, which moved over El Salvador Thursday through Saturday, bringing heavy rains. Also pictured is Tropical Depression Eleven, which intensified into Tropical Storm Ida later that day. Ida was not responsible for the flooding in El Salvador, though it may have helped pull 96E into El Salvador. NASA has a nice zoom image> of 96E from November 5.

I'll have an update on Ida this afternoon.

Jeff Masters

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Between Bowden Way and Fort Pickens Road ~ ALWAYS just completed/open and then BLAMMO ~ you wonder if they were ever meant to be there. The Rangers at the Fort have to be gnashing their teeth.
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I can't believe the NHC named this one. Stretching for numbers I see, sheesh.
Quoting IKE:
Think I got her COC on Mobile long-range radar now...



looks like movement is with a hint eastward but i'd rather wait a few more frames.
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3710
Quoting K8tina:


That's hurricane strength, right? I was never good at conversion from kts to mph! LOL!

Quoting StormChaser81:


70 knots = 80.55 mph

Thanks heaps! :)
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Quoting Thundercloud01221991:
if that is truly the center then she is strengthening because the storms right around the center is blowing up into what looks like an eyewall


It could be that she is just getting within radar range too
if that is truly the center then she is strengthening because the storms right around the center is blowing up into what looks like an eyewall
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Concur with the COC on radar... also it is nicely cleared out at this time...
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 141
Hey Ike does this thing and I say that as I am beyond confused as to what it really is now at hurricane strength?
Member Since: August 19, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1601
312. atmoaggie

Also after thinking about it I believe the averaging time is 8 minutes, not the 1 minute given for cyclone winds, so a net-net neutral?
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318. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting lilith:
I have a winter rental at Pensacola Beach and wanted to know which roads on the beach are the first to go under. The condo is on the Ft. Pickens end, not far from the park entrance.

Thanks!


Here's some WU surge maps you can pour over.
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Rain creeping toward Leon County, should be here by 6pm.
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3710
Quoting K8tina:

That's hurricane strength, right? I was never good at conversion from kts to mph! LOL!


70 knots = 80.55 mph
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2315
Quoting lilith:
I have a winter rental at Pensacola Beach and wanted to know which roads on the beach are the first to go under. The condo is on the Ft. Pickens end, not far from the park entrance.

Thanks!


Heard earlier, Ft. Pickens Rd. already had some overwash. Think it's down toward the Ft. and probably some overwash down by Opal Beach (between Pcola Beach and Navarre). Both roads were just completed from being redone since Ivan/Dennis.
Also heard they are expecting to close the bridge around 4pm. That could change if conditions are worse/better before then.
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313. IKE
Think I got her COC on Mobile long-range radar now...

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Yeah, the anemometer is at 122 meters, but this at 56 knots and still going up(?). NW of Ida...



And H*Wind analysis update shows further weakening/tightening?!?
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Quoting TampaSpin:
Quoting dearmas:
I'm in Tampa and will I hope be closing on a house tomorrow, what kind of effects does anyone see for us?


Don't think you can close with a Named Storm within so many miles...don't remember what the miles are tho.


This does bring to mind though the special issues that the hurricane season bring when you are trying to Buy or Sell a home. I am talking about home owners insurance. The problem is that all insurance companies that write policies in the sunshine state suspend writing of any NEW business when a storm threatens Florida.There are two ways insurance companies determine when to temporarily suspend issuing new coverage:

1. When the National Hurricane Center issues a tropical storm or hurricane watch or warning.
2. When a tropical storm or hurricane enters a company’s “storm box.”


Hubby used to work for an unnamed insurance company...
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Quoting CycloneOz:
The Pensacola News Journal got a picture of my van's hurricane flags flying at Pensacola Beach this morning.

Link

When you open the link...click "Show Thumbnails" and you'll see the pictures of the hurricane flags.



thanks, I always wondered what the hurricane flags on your van looked like. Now I know.
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 527
Quoting 850Realtor:
Still laughing at the Pcola native who was quoted saying this was nothing...he had been through Erin with 180 mph winds... :)


maybe he is related to the Kite flying idiot who became the dunce of the world during Fay last year lol
Erin with 180 mph winds...

Would like to keep reading the blog but my eyes won't stop rolling...
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307. Skyepony (Mod)
Drak~ I agree. Still should see some surge. The weaker storms do tend to bring more rain, AL & GA have already had their share this summer.
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Quoting BobinTampa:


He should be fine. Most carriers have only restricted binding in the panhandle. the rest of the state is open.

Absolutely wrong !
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Quoting 850Realtor:
Still laughing at the Pcola native who was quoted saying this was nothing...he had been through Erin with 180 mph winds... :)


If thats the case than TS Ernesto over S Fla was a minimal hurricane.
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3710
Quoting TampaSpin:
Quoting dearmas:
I'm in Tampa and will I hope be closing on a house tomorrow, what kind of effects does anyone see for us?


Don't think you can close with a Named Storm within so many miles...don't remember what the miles are tho.
first, it has to be a hurricane (once a hurricane is in the "box", insurance companies will not write binders); second, if you have an insurance binder in place you are also ok to close (if it is a cash deal then you need not have the binder in place prior to closing...if it is a RESPA, or residential mortgage closing, the binder would need to be in place prior to closing)...bottom line answer, its all about your insurance binder.
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I have a winter rental at Pensacola Beach and wanted to know which roads on the beach are the first to go under. The condo is on the Ft. Pickens end, not far from the park entrance.

Thanks!
Quoting TampaSpin:
Quoting dearmas:
I'm in Tampa and will I hope be closing on a house tomorrow, what kind of effects does anyone see for us?


Don't think you can close with a Named Storm within so many miles...don't remember what the miles are tho.


He should be fine. Most carriers have only restricted binding in the panhandle. the rest of the state is open.

Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 527
Still laughing at the Pcola native who was quoted saying this was nothing...he had been through Erin with 180 mph winds... :)
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Quoting kmanislander:


If she turns now get the fire hose out for the blog.


LOL the blog will end up in Kansas or some such place if it turns now:)
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Quoting Thundercloud01221991:


it would be except that it is flight level not surface level

Thanks! I missed that part! Ooops! ;) Thanks also for all the updates from the HH's!
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Quoting presslord:
Chucktown! Just the man I wanna see....What's in store here the next couple of days?


If the current track holds, we could see a window for some severe weather by Tuesday afternoon. Deep moisture will be feeding NE into South Carolina and with the cyclonic turning of Ida, we could spin up a few tornadoes. Good rainmaker, either way. We'll learn a lot more by this evening.
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Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:


At least with Ida there are no debates about whether she should be named or not lol


Thankfully we got by that one unanimously LOL
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Quoting kmanislander:


That is true. That's why I like to take frequent breaks from the blog whenever the skirmishing starts. With so few systems close to home this year I suppose it was inevitable that when one came along we would see some of what we saw on the blog over the last two days.

Still a great hobby though.


At least with Ida there are no debates about whether she should be named or not lol
Quoting Drakoen:
I see Ida has weakened nicely which is good news for the people in the panhandle. The main threat from Ida will be flooding.


Pressure dropped to 992mb, it may strengthen just a bit.
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3710
Quoting fishinfool33825:


Lucky you are not in Panhandle area trying to close. Insurance binder for mortgage would not happen... but you should be okay in Tampa


Check with your Realtor, Closing Agent or Attorney. Most times, regardless of landfall...if there is a storm in the "box", no insurance binders, no exceptions. If it hits here, Tampa is still within the box. The box is all of GOM, east to the Bahamas and south near South America. If you already have your insurance, then you should be able to close, I think. The problem is with those that have not secured insurance already.
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I see Ida has weakened nicely which is good news for the people in the panhandle. The main threat from Ida will be flooding.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29864
Wowsahs, CycloneOz! I was wondering how it was at the beach (we're on the west side), but had to do a last minute commissary run instead of a jog out to Perdido.
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Quoting dearmas:
I'm in Tampa and will I hope be closing on a house tomorrow, what kind of effects does anyone see for us?

Hi, I'm not the best to advise you...but you looks like there's a bit of a chance of tornados for you, along w/some other "normal" stormy weather.
Florida has some of the best storm info and prep. info I've ever seen. Here's one site:
FloridaDisaster.org
Link

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ida Weakens to a Tropical Storm...Landfall on Western Panhandle Likely Tonight...All Hurricane Watches and Warnings Discontinued but Tropical Storm Warnings Still in Effect...Rip Current Risks Elevated...Flash Flood Watches and River Flood Warnings in Effect Across NW FL
Updated 11:00 AM EDT Monday

At 10am EDT, Hurricane Ida has weakened to a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 70mph and was located 275 miles SSE of Pensacola FL. Ida is expected to continue weakening as it moves north-northeast at 17 mph as a cold front moves into the region and turns the system extra-tropical. Ida is a strong tropical storm and is expected to make landfall near Mobile, AL early tomorrow morning as a tropical storm before rapidly loosing strength and becoming a depression by Wednesday. All hurricane watches and warnings have been discontinued. Latest tropical weather outlook from the National Hurricane Center.

***A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect for the western Panhandle and FL Big Bend from Grand Isle, Louisiana to Aucilla River, FL including the cities of Pensacola and Panama City. This means that tropical storm conditions are expected within 24 hours.***

A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for all areas of Northwest FL from 1pm Monday to 1pm Tuesday EDT. Ida could produce rainfall accumulations of 3 to 6 inches with locally higher amounts possible across the panhandle. A Coastal Flood Watch is also in effect for coastal areas of Northwest FL. The threat for Inland flooding & coastal flooding and isolated tornadoes will increase on tonight and Tuesday. All FL residents need to watch this situation closely today and Monday.

Storm tides will cause a 3-5 foot storm surge along the coast near & to the east of where Ida makes landfall. Large and destructive waves will also be present and coastal erosion is likely.

Strong winds from Hurricane Ida are causing high rip current risks across South Florida and moderate to high risks along the western Panhandle and FL Big Bend beaches. Moderate risks are in place for East-Central, Northeast, and West-Central FL beaches today. A High Surf Advisory is in effect for West-Central FL. Swimming is not advised in these conditions.

A River Flood Warning is in effect for Big Coldwater Creek near Milton, the Shoal River near Crestview,the Styx River near Elsanor, Murder Creek at Brewton & Blackwater River near Baker in the western Panhandle. This will affect Okaloosa, Santa Rosa & Escambia Counties. Heavy rains expected over the next 24hrs will raise the river above flood stage. This warning is in affect from Tuesday afternoon until Wednesday Evening.

A Wind Advisory is in effect for much of the peninsula until 3pm this afternoon. Wind are expected to reach 25 to 30mph across Northeast, Central, and South FL. A Gale Warning has been issued for the FL Keys.

The western Panhandle and FL Big Bend will receive the greatest impact from the Hurricane Ida. Only isolated showers are expected across the state today, but skies will be mostly overcast throughout the FL.

The threat of tornadoes will increase as this system makes landfall tonight. Tornadoes are likely to form in tropical cyclones in the Gulf of Mexico, occur near and far away from the eye of the storm, and will affect all of North FL and possibly Central Florida.

High temperatures will reach the low 70s across the panhandle and FL Big Bend, low 80s across Northeast FL, and mid to upper 80s across Central and South FL. Lows tonight will drop to the upper 60s across North FL, low 70s across Central FL, and mid to upper 70s across South FL.
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Chucktown! Just the man I wanna see....What's in store here the next couple of days?
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Flight level temps are indicating somewhat of a warm core, but also very broad so ???
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IT IS NOT TURNING!!!!!!
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12:00 PM CST Mon Nov 9
Location: 27.5°N 88.4°W
Max sustained: 70 mph
Moving: NNW at 18 mph
Min pressure: 992 mb
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Quoting K8tina:

That's hurricane strength, right? I was never good at conversion from kts to mph! LOL!


it would be except that it is flight level not surface level
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283. IKE
BULLETIN
TROPICAL STORM IDA INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 23A
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL112009
1200 PM CST MON NOV 09 2009

...IDA CONTINUES TO APPROACH THE GULF COAST...

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM GRAND ISLE LOUISIANA
EASTWARD TO THE AUCILLA RIVER FLORIDA...INCLUDING NEW ORLEANS AND
LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL
STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA
WITHIN 24 HOURS.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...PLEASE MONITOR
PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST
OFFICE.

AT 1200 PM CST...1800 UTC...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM IDA WAS
LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 27.5 NORTH...LONGITUDE 88.4 WEST OR ABOUT 115
MILES...185 KM...SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF THE MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI
RIVER AND ABOUT 220 MILES...350 KM...SOUTH-SOUTHWEST OF PENSACOLA
FLORIDA.

IDA IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHWEST NEAR 18 MPH...30 KM/HR. A
TURN TOWARD THE NORTH AND THEN TO THE NORTH-NORTHEAST IS EXPECTED
OVER THE NEXT 24 HOURS. ON THE FORECAST TRACK...THE CENTER OF IDA
IS EXPECTED TO MAKE LANDFALL ALONG THE NORTHERN GULF COAST TUESDAY
MORNING. AFTER LANDFALL...A TURN TO THE EAST IS EXPECTED ON
TUESDAY.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 70 MPH...110 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. SOME WEAKENING IS EXPECTED LATER TODAY AND TONIGHT AS IDA
APPROACHES THE COAST.

TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 200 MILES...325 KM
FROM THE CENTER.

THE LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE REPORTED BY AN AIR FORCE
RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT WAS 992 MB...29.29 INCHES.

RAINS FROM IDA ARE ALREADY MOVING ACROSS THE COAST WITHIN THE
WARNING AREA. TOTAL STORM ACCUMULATIONS OF 3 TO 6 INCHES...WITH
ISOLATED MAXIMUM STORM TOTALS OF 8 INCHES...ARE POSSIBLE THROUGH
WEDNESDAY MORNING FROM THE CENTRAL AND EASTERN GULF COAST NORTHWARD
INTO THE EASTERN PORTIONS OF THE TENNESSEE VALLEY...THE SOUTHERN
APPALACHIANS...AND THE SOUTHEASTERN UNITED STATES.

A DANGEROUS STORM TIDE WILL RAISE WATER LEVELS BY AS MUCH AS
3 TO 5 FEET ABOVE GROUND LEVEL ALONG THE COAST NEAR AND TO THE
EAST OF WHERE THE CENTER MAKES LANDFALL. NEAR THE COAST...THE SURGE
WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE AND DESTRUCTIVE WAVES.


...SUMMARY OF 1200 PM CST INFORMATION...
LOCATION...27.5N 88.4W
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...70 MPH
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NORTH-NORTHWEST OR 345 DEGREES AT 18 MPH
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...992 MB


THE NEXT ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER AT
300 PM CST.

$$
FORECASTER FRANKLIN
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting dearmas:
I'm in Tampa and will I hope be closing on a house tomorrow, what kind of effects does anyone see for us?


Don't think you can close with a Named Storm within so many miles...don't remember what the miles are tho.
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Looks like the turn is coming! She always points the direction she goes....


If she turns now get the fire hose out for the blog.
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280. IKE
..IDA CONTINUES TO APPROACH THE GULF COAST...
12:00 PM CST Mon Nov 9
Location: 27.5°N 88.4°W
Max sustained: 70 mph
Moving: NNW at 18 mph
Min pressure: 992 mb
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Looking more and more extratropical by the minute - taking on that classic comma shape
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Quoting Thundercloud01221991:
They have found 70 knts winds at flight level

That's hurricane strength, right? I was never good at conversion from kts to mph! LOL!
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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