Isaac approaching hurricane strength

By: Angela Fritz , 9:14 PM GMT on August 27, 2012

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Isaac is walking the line of hurricane status this afternoon after a hurricane hunter mission investigated the storm and found winds of 80+ mph with the SFMR instrument, which looks down at the surface from the plane and estimates what wind speeds are. This instrument has a notoriously rough time in doing so when there's heavy rain, and since the strongest winds were recorded coinciding with the strongest rain, you can imagine that this region of high wind speed could be suspect. The hurricane hunter mission is still in the storm, so I imagine they will issue a special update if needed. Currently the best estimate of wind speed within the storm is 70 mph. Isaac's pressure has been dropping today as well and is now 981 mb. Isaac is moving northwest at 12 mph--no change since this morning. Satellite loops show that Isaac remains large, though asymmetric, with most of the strong thunderstorm activity on the west and southwest side. Isaac's southeast side continues to struggle with dry air and wind shear, which could help to moderate Isaac's intensity as it approaches the coast.

An oil platform in the northern Gulf of Mexico is reporting sustained winds from the north-northeast at 40 mph this afternoon. A buoy west of Tampa, Florida is recording sustained winds around 30 mph, and platforms south of Louisiana are recording winds from 35-40 mph. The widespread heavy rain of yesterday has lightened up in Florida, but a strong line of thunderstorms in one of Isaac's outer bands is training northward along and offshore of the east coast of Florida, affecting everyone from Miami to Jacksonville.

This afternoon the AP reported that Isaac's death toll in Haiti jumped to 19, which puts Isaac's total death count at 21. It appears most of the deaths in Haiti were due to collapsing structures.


Figure 1. Satellite imagery of Tropical Storm Isaac around 3pm EDT on Monday.

Track forecast:
Models seem to be coming into better agreement today on where Isaac will make landfall, closing in on Louisiana and New Orleans as most likely landfall point. The ECMWF, HWRF, and UKMET all suggest New Orleans as the landfall location. The GFS is only slightly west of that. The GFDL is the farthest west, predicting landfall near the Louisiana-Texas border. Landfall timing remains Tuesday night. Beyond landfall, Isaac is expected to move north toward the Midwest through the rest of this week, however, models are showing that the system will likely slow down around landfall time, prolonging impacts like surge and inland flooding.

Intensity forecast:
The closer Isaac gets to landfall without having formed an eye, the better it is for intensity at landfall. Isaac has strengthened only modestly in the past 24 hours, and is still struggling with a less-than-conducive atmospheric environment. The HWRF remains on the high end of the intensity spectrum, suggesting Isaac will be a weak category 2 upon landfall. Other models suggest it will be a strong category 1, but the difference is splitting hairs. The National Hurricane Center's official forecast is for Isaac to continue strengthening over the next day, reaching category 2 at landfall.


Figure 2. Tide gauge data from St. Petersburg, Florida. The green line shows the storm surge. As Isaac's counterclockwise winds blew offshore this morning, water levels feel two feet at St. Petersburg. The winds switched to onshore this afternoon as the center of Isaac moved more to the northwest, bringing a storm surge of two feet to the city.

Storm surge observations from Isaac
This morning, as Isaac's counter-clockwise winds brought offshore winds to the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, ocean waters fell two feet along the coast. This afternoon, winds have shifted to blow onshore, and a two foot storm surge has been observed at Naples, Fort Meyers, and St. Petersburg on the west coast of Florida. Water levels have also begun to rise along the coast of Louisiana, with a storm surge of 1.5 feet already occurring at Shell Beach on the east side of New Orleans in Lake Borgne.

Angela and Jeff

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3654. Patrap
Tropical Storm ISAAC Public Advisory

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US Watch/Warning

000
WTNT34 KNHC 281458
TCPAT4

BULLETIN
TROPICAL STORM ISAAC ADVISORY NUMBER 30
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL092012
1000 AM CDT TUE AUG 28 2012

...ISAAC STILL JUST BELOW HURRICANE STRENGTH AS IT CONTINUES
NORTHWESTWARD...


SUMMARY OF 1000 AM CDT...1500 UTC...INFORMATION
-----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...28.1N 88.5W
ABOUT 80 MI...125 KM SSE OF THE MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER
ABOUT 165 MI...260 KM SE OF NEW ORLEANS LOUISIANA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...70 MPH...110 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NW OR 310 DEGREES AT 10 MPH...17 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...976 MB...28.82 INCHES


WATCHES AND WARNINGS
--------------------
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY...

THE HURRICANE WARNING HAS BEEN REPLACED WITH A TROPICAL STORM
WARNING FROM THE MISSISSIPPI-ALABAMA BORDER EASTWARD TO DESTIN
FLORIDA.

THE TROPICAL STORM WARNING HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED EAST OF DESTIN.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...

A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* EAST OF MORGAN CITY LOUISIANA TO THE MISSISSIPPI-ALABAMA BORDER...
INCLUDING METROPOLITAN NEW ORLEANS...LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN...AND LAKE
MAUREPAS

A HURRICANE WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* INTRACOASTAL CITY TO MORGAN CITY LOUISIANA

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* THE MISSISSIPPI-ALABAMA BORDER TO DESTIN FLORIDA
* MORGAN CITY TO CAMERON LOUISIANA

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* EAST OF HIGH ISLAND TEXAS TO JUST WEST OF CAMERON LOUISIANA

A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED
SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND
PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.

A HURRICANE WATCH MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE
WITHIN THE WATCH AREA.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA.

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA INCLUDING POSSIBLE
INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY
YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST OFFICE.


DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK
------------------------------
AT 1000 AM CDT...1500 UTC...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM ISAAC WAS
LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 28.1 NORTH...LONGITUDE 88.5 WEST. ISAAC IS
MOVING TOWARD THE NORTHWEST NEAR 10 MPH...17 KM/H. A NORTHWESTWARD
MOTION AT A SLIGHTLY SLOWER SPEED IS EXPECTED OVER THE NEXT DAY OR
TWO. ON THE FORECAST TRACK...THE CENTER OF ISAAC SHOULD REACH THE
COASTLINE OF SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA AS EARLY AS THIS EVENING.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 70 MPH...110 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. ISAAC IS EXPECTED TO BECOME A HURRICANE BEFORE MAKING
LANDFALL...AND BEGIN TO SLOWLY WEAKEN AFTER THAT.

TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 185 MILES...295 KM
FROM THE CENTER.

THE LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE REPORTED BY HURRICANE HUNTER
AIRCRAFT WAS 976 MB...28.82 INCHES.


HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
STORM SURGE...THE COMBINATION OF A STORM SURGE AND THE TIDE WILL
CAUSE NORMALLY DRY AREAS NEAR THE COAST TO BE FLOODED BY RISING
WATERS. THE WATER COULD REACH THE FOLLOWING DEPTHS ABOVE GROUND IF
THE PEAK SURGE OCCURS AT THE TIME OF HIGH TIDE...

* MISSISSIPPI AND SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA...6 TO 12 FT
* ALABAMA...4 TO 8 FT
* SOUTH-CENTRAL LOUISIANA...3 TO 6 FT
* FLORIDA PANHANDLE...3 TO 6 FT
* APALACHEE BAY...2 TO 4 FT
* REMAINDER OF FLORIDA WEST COAST...1 TO 3 FT

THE DEEPEST WATER WILL OCCUR ALONG THE IMMEDIATE COAST IN AREAS OF
ONSHORE WINDS. SURGE-RELATED FLOODING DEPENDS ON THE RELATIVE
TIMING OF THE SURGE AND THE TIDAL CYCLE...AND CAN VARY GREATLY OVER
SHORT DISTANCES. FOR INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...PLEASE
SEE PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE. NEAR THE
COAST...THE SURGE WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE AND DANGEROUS WAVES.

WIND...TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE BEGINNING TO OCCUR NEAR THE
MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER...AND WILL REACH OTHER PORTIONS OF
THE COASTLINE WITHIN THE TROPICAL STORM AND HURRICANE WARNING AREAS
BY LATE THIS AFTERNOON. HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO REACH
THE COAST BY LATE AFTERNOON.

RAINFALL...ISAAC IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF
7 TO 14 INCHES...WITH POSSIBLE ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 20
INCHES...IN SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA...SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI...
SOUTHERN ALABAMA...AND THE EXTREME WESTERN FLORIDA PANHANDLE.
THESE RAINS COULD RESULT IN SIGNIFICANT LOWLAND FLOODING.

TORNADOES...TORNADOES MAY OCCUR ALONG THE NORTHERN GULF COAST TODAY.

SURF...DANGEROUS SURF AND RIP CURRENT CONDITIONS WILL CONTINUE TO
AFFECT THE FLORIDA COASTLINE AND PORTIONS OF THE NORTHERN GULF COAST
FOR THE NEXT DAY OR SO.


NEXT ADVISORY
-------------
NEXT INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY...100 PM CDT.
NEXT COMPLETE ADVISORY...400 PM CDT.

$$
FORECASTER STEWART
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TomballTXPride:

Experts or bloggers? I go experts. No brainer.

Eat your crow.


Eating crow has to be the most overused/annoying phrase on this blog. And no, I will not. I stick by my statement.
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Quoting wxchaser97:
What happened to the 81mph surface winds from the dropsonde?
REPORTS FROM AIR FORCE AND NOAA HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT INDICATE
THE CENTRAL PRESSURE HAS DECREASED TO ABOUT 976 MB SINCE THE
PREVIOUS ADVISORY...BUT IT HAS LEVELED OFF OVER THE PAST FEW HOURS.
THE MAXIMUM 850 MB FLIGHT-LEVEL WIND OBSERVED HAS BEEN 89 KT...
WHICH EQUATES TO A SURFACE WIND OF ABOUT 71 KT. HOWEVER...
BIAS-ADJUSTED SFMR SURFACE WINDS HAVE ONLY BEEN AROUND 60-62 KT...
WHICH CORRELATES WELL WITH DROPSONDE BOUNDARY LAYER-DERIVED SURFACE
WINDS. AS SUCH...THE INTENSITY OF ISAAC IS BEING MAINTAINED AT 60
KT...WHICH IS JUST BELOW HURRICANE STATUS.


They are completly wrong, there is not doubt that Isaac is now a Hurricane...
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3651. Jstn568


With a pressure of 976mb, Isaac should be a weak Category 2 storm. Amazing that it can have such a low pressure and remain just under hurricane status!

Anyone happen to know the lowest pressure recorded for a Tropical Storm?
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3650. VR46L
Quoting CJ5:
LOL I see a lot of people that needed to be talked away from the ledge. The NHC just got removed from a lot of xmas card lists.

If you were being objective and looking at all of the data you would see that he just has not been able to sustain enough energy to be named a hurricane. He has never been able to close off the eye. He has looks no better than he did 4 days ago. The only change in the past 4 days is a pressure drop. The winds just never caught up and he was never able to spin up tight enough. This is good news to those in his path.


Thats a realistic post +1,0000,0000



The Gulf in rainbow
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Quoting MississippiWx:


HA. They'll come up with some other excuse. Meanwhile, the Louisiana coast will be getting pounded by those hurricane force winds mixing down to the surface from land friction.


read the discussions and listen to what experts are
saying...for this storm extrapolated data is not
following the normal guidelines...max winds are
not transferring down to the surface...
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3648. ncstorm
Quoting AtHomeInTX:
One more time

Hurricane Hunters said on the Weather Channel that's the first they've seen those high winds. It will take time for them to work to the surface.

It's ok. They are taking everything seriously. We got the best of the best up there looking. :)


athome, you sound like you trying to talk people off the ledge..LOL..patience is wearing thin on this blog..
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3647. Patrap
Quoting sunlinepr:


Is there a new facility down there in NOLA?


Well, Henry's Bar on Magazine St. is Open, so that could be a factor.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
What's going on with the storm? I'm on computer at school (at least WU is not banned...)
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Isaac is weak sauce :)
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I like my crow with a side of squash....that being said it appears Isaac just ate a huge slug of dry air that is heading for his rickety core....my prediction...55 mph tropical storm by the 5 pm
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Interpretation of dropsonde at NHC






Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11156
3642. Matt74
What's with the Reed and Cybr teddy bashing? Two good informative bloggers IMO .
Member Since: June 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 329
If Isaac has a voice, it would be saying this right now:

"Must... fight... dry... air..... GRRRRRRRRRR... Ok, Time for lunch now." - Isaac

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Quoting Levi32:


It's the extremely favorable upper-level pattern allowing evacuation of air from the storm area. The pressure is therefore falling but the integrated dry air is not allowing a complete eyewall to close off. We've seen plenty of Cat 1 and Cat 2 hurricanes without a closed wall. Only major hurricanes have clear, well-defined eyes as a general rule.


I've seen plenty of TCs at the 970 mb level without a closed eyewall, but they were all in the weakening phase and had one at some point. I can't remember one strengthening to the mid/low 970 mb level without one to get there. I'm not even talking about a cleared or well defined eyewall, just a complete/stable one.
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3639. ncstorm
for all of those who are redeeming their tickets for the massive crow buffet being offer at WU, please remember to keep your stubs as there will be a giveaway door prize after the big feast..

I redeemed my ticket on sunday..I suggest you all try the boiled crow, it goes down faster..
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Quoting gulfbreeze:
Heavy rain 50 mph wind gust!!


Might be nice to mention where you are on a map before posting this. Hell for all I know you are living in Egypt and there is a good dust storm going on
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Quoting olihomer:


Dropsondes give momentary measurements of wind, not sustained wind speed. That 80mph surface measurement could have been a gust - not enough to justify an upgrade if other indications are lower.


The radar shows a -64kts area about the size of a parish on the NE eye wall, and the SW eye wall is in and out of plus 64kts, again an area about the size of a parish.

It's not an isolated reading, it can't be...
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3636. hydrus
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21183
One more time

Hurricane Hunters said on the Weather Channel that's the first they've seen those high winds. It will take time for them to work to the surface.

It's ok. They are taking everything seriously. We got the best of the best up there looking. :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3634. Gearsts
Quoting stormchaser19:
Great work so far is doing the HAARP with Isaac XDD
lol
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3633. CJ5
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
I would be furious if I was on the plane that got the 81mph winds... You proved beyond any doubt that the system is a hurricane and they totally blow off your reading?


That is not how it works.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tazmanian:
there nothing boarded up in down town New Orleans, LA there is going too be a lot of windows blowing out on the higher levels


Not really. Cat1 won't be that bad. Surge is the issue here with Isaac.
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MID-LEVEL DRY AIR ENTRAINMENT CONTINUES TO PLAGUE ISAAC. AS SOON AS
THE CYCLONE DEVELOPS INNER-CORE CONVECTION AND THE APPEARANCE OF AN
EYE IN RADAR AND SATELLITE IMAGERY...THE CONVECTION ERODES DUE TO
THE DRY AIR. DESPITE THE FAVORABLE OCEANIC CONDITIONS AND
UPPER-LEVEL OUTFLOW REGIME...ISAAC ONLY HAS ABOUT 12-18 HOURS FOR
FURTHER STRENGTHENING TO OCCUR.
THE OFFICIAL INTENSITY FORECAST IS
SIMILAR TO THE PREVIOUS ADVISORY...WITH ONLY TIMING ADJUSTMENTS
MADE TO THE INTENSITY FORECAST...AND CLOSELY FOLLOWS THE INTENSITY
MODEL CONSENSUS.

Dry air at mid-levels..same story over and over...
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3629. SLU
Well the difference between a 70mph TS and a 75mph cat. 1 hurricane is purely immaterial. The damage they will cause is virtually the same. It's all in our minds. Still a mystery why Isaac wasn't upgraded to a hurricane yet though.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Give the NHC credit for not overhyping the storm. I went through Ike and the barometric pressure was abnormally low for a cat 2 storm. We have a similar situation here. On the other hand both storms have a large wind field which is challenging to deal with.

Let's hope everyone prepared properly. We were without power for 15 days after Ike hit.
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I'm not sure if I really get that flight level winds of 100 mph or above aren't translating to at least 74 mph at the surface.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Isaac should be upgraded at 2pm or 5pm at the latest. The fact that it wasn't upgraded at 11 am is ridiculous.


HA. They'll come up with some other excuse. Meanwhile, the Louisiana coast will be getting pounded by those hurricane force winds mixing down to the surface from land friction.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
While the rest of the surface specific data did agree with below hurricane status, the dropsonde data the flight level winds pressure made a convincing case.


My guess is that they felt the something was wrong with the dropsonde (perhaps its GPS which is used to get windspeed was malfunctioning).


That plus the deteriorating inner core again = no upgrade
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3624. CJ5
LOL I see a lot of people that needed to be talked away from the ledge. The NHC just got removed from a lot of xmas card lists.

If you were being objective and looking at all of the data you would see that he just has not been able to sustain enough energy to be named a hurricane. He has never been able to close off the eye. He has looks no better than he did 4 days ago. The only change in the past 4 days is a pressure drop. The winds just never caught up and he was never able to spin up tight enough. This is good news to those in his path.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting stormchaser19:
Great work so far is doing the HAARP with Isaac XDD


Is there a new facility down there in NOLA?
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3622. Patrap
Allison..still the Only Tropical Storm to have been Retired.

It dosent have to be a Major for the er, Impact to be deadly. It only has to Linger
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Quoting ncstorm:
two blobs on the east coast and tropical storm in the GOM..




The lower East Coast blob is the blob that Isaac cast off over Florida when he split in two, what is the upper blob? Leftover trough? Baby Isaac blob expanding???

I see we are forcasted for more rain in south florida, clouds going from south to north, but who is influencing them? the blobs on the east coast or Isaac in the gulf?
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Quoting sonofagunn:


They couldn't find any other instances of winds that fast. One reading could have been a localized gust or waterspout.


Or a Hurricane, but that's neither here-nor-there
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Isaac should be upgraded at 2pm or 5pm at the latest. The fact that it wasn't upgraded at 11 am is ridiculous.

The evidence they had was enough, Isaac should've be upgraded at 11am. Isaac is still a big threat hurricane or not. If Isaac is not a hurricane after 5pm then idk what would happen.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7942
Quoting Skyepony:





Thank you!
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Quoting TomballTXPride:
Crow anyone?

LOL


No. I will not take "crow" for stating something that is fact. When the HH have a dropsonde that reports winds at the surface as being 80mph as well as multiple flight level wind speeds of over 100mph, I have to wonder what is going on at the NHC.
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3615. JeffM
Did anyone just see the guy on TWC in NOLA acting like he was having a hard time standing straight up due to the wind while folks were walking by him with zero issues?
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3614. Patrap
Pink Floyd, Goodbye Blue Sky
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I see so many griping about Isaac not being a hurricane. I wonder how many remember Tropical Storm Allison from 2001? She stalled out over Houston, causing massive flooding and several billion dollars in damage. So much so, that Allison is the only tropical storm that I know of to have her name retired. If Isaac stalls out over land in any way, he has the potential to do the same thing. In fact, he's already caused a lot of flooding in Florida. I don't even want to think about potential death toll. There's an old saying, "Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst." IMO, I'm glad that it isn't stronger. For a storm that has already been a nightmare to so many people, it would be a much worse nightmare if it was the Cat 2 or 3 (or higher) some idiots seem to want it to be.
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Quoting Levi32:
They didn't upgrade Isaac. Unbelievable.


Not surprising. Total energy slowly increasing, but it is dispersed over a larger area. Looks like center jogged north and last recon pass missed center to the south.

If it jogs too far north it will never have a chance to develop a good eye and become a hurricane.
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there nothing boarded up in down town New Orleans, LA there is going too be a lot of windows blowing out on the higher levels
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115079
Quoting HurricaneDevo:
Live coverage on WDSU in New Orleans. The on-air weatherman just said that rain amounts should not amount to much, and this will be a minimal tropical storm. Not sure where he is getting that information. Gonna be a lot of flooding in New Orleans.



The radar?
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TWC hurricane expert said that they did found hurricane winds but it wasn't consistent enough b/c after they found hurricane winds then they found tropical storm winds with the second readings.. So thats they declared a tropical storm still.. I guess that is the excuse that I can find..
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Isaac should be upgraded at 2pm or 5pm at the latest. The fact that it wasn't upgraded at 11 am is ridiculous.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32017
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
How are they going to ignore their own dropsonde.


Dropsondes give momentary measurements of wind, not sustained wind speed. That 80mph surface measurement could have been a gust - not enough to justify an upgrade if other indications are lower.
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Heavy rain 50 mph wind gust!!
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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.