Katrina batters Miami, and is back to hurricane status

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:09 PM GMT on August 26, 2005

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Katrina is a hurricane again, after spending just seven hours over land, and briefly (for a four hour stretch) weakening to a 70 mph tropical storm. The unexpected southwestward path taken by Katrina (but hinted at for a long time by the GFDL model) put Miami in the bullseye for Katrina's strongest winds and heaviest rains. The eye passed directly over the National Hurricane Center and the Miami radar site, and Doppler Radar estimates of rainfall amounts show over ten inches of rain in a narrow band extending over the Hurricane Center. Some modest wind and flooding damage was reported by the media, consistent with typical Category 1 hurricane conditions. Four deaths, three from falling trees have been reported so far. Overall, Miami is extremely lucky--had Katrina had an additional 12 - 24 hours over water, she may have some ashore as a Category 3 hurricane.

Katrina has those 12 - 24 hours now, and more. The Miami radar loop continues to a well-organized storm, with a plainly visible eye. Upper level outflow is improving and slowing expanding. Katrina is in an almost ideal environment for intensification--31 to 32C waters, light shear, and no dry air. Katrina will likely be a Category 3 hurricane by Saturday night, and possibly a Category 4.

Although Katrina is currently moving just south of due west, the computer track models unanimously agree that a trough moving across the central U.S. this weekend will "pick up" Katrina and force it on a northward path towards the Florida Panhandle. These model predictions are high-confidence predictions, as the upper air environment around the hurricane is well-characterized thanks to the NOAA jet dropsonde mission flown last night. The NOAA jet is scheduled to fly another mission tonight. While New Orleans centainly needs to keep a wary eye on Katrina, it seems that the Florida Panhandle has its usual hurricane magnet in place, and the same piece of coast punished by Ivan and Dennis is destined for another strike by a major hurricane.

What's behind Katrina?
A large area of disturbed weather north of Hispanolia has diminished since yesterday. This disturbance lies in an area of high wind shear of 20 - 25 knots, and is not a threat to develop into a tropical depression in the next few days. The tropical wave spinning 900 miles east of the Leeward Islands is still experiencing wind shear, but still has the potential to develop into a tropical depression this weekend.

Katrina blogs
For observations of what's happening now in Southwest Florida, we have several bloggers writing today:

labsr4me (Naples, SW Florida)

Zeenster (Cape Coral, SW Florida)

evolution (Charlotte Harbor, SW Florida)

Dr. Jeff Masters

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264. spacecoastgirl
6:03 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
Hi there...just letting you panhandler(s) know that those of us on the Space Coast who were hit so bad last year (along with you all) are praying that this one passes you by! It sure seems that our magnet lost all its strength last year and we have been blessed and lucky!

Good Luck
263. stormydee
5:15 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
some people have a knack for prediction...maybe its luck or lots of education or a combo of both. Stormtop really impressed me from yesterday to today. I wasnt sure if it was some exagerration, but its almost like he can see where all the cards are playing 5 days ahead of the rest of us. It may be wise to pay attention to his pretty accurate information.
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 39 Comments: 517
262. Antivanity
4:59 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
She's try'n so hard to wrap that eyewall around. Some one stick an I.V. in her..
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 49
261. TotalDestruction
4:22 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
StormFlop on steroids! :S
260. automeris
4:18 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
I definitely see her flirting with category 5. But as I said in my blog, much of what goes into making a storm category 5 is internal, rather than external. She will not miss out for lack of fuel, though, and gulf conditions look perfect.
259. GetReal
4:17 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
satellite and radar loops confirm that Katrina has increased forward speed.
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8898
258. GetReal
4:14 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
Katrina is probably now to far south to make the telconnection with the TROF that has not dug south yet. Katrina will remain behind and take a path wnw and then nw towards central gulf coast. LOOK AT THE WATER VAPOR LOOPS!!! This will give hint to Katrina's future path.
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8898
257. STORMTOP
4:09 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
its to early gpt we have to see if this s component will still be there in the next 3 hours..
256. STORMTOP
4:06 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
you right cajun we need at least 36 hours are more..thats why i think if the nhc feels this is a threat to our area they have to come out with some info soon or they will be a stampede getting out of here...
255. leftyy420
4:05 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
i know computers alot. i could have esily gotten a job repairing themif i wanted
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
254. cajunkid
4:05 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
moving to new blog
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1281
253. leftyy420
4:05 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
all righ tybe giv eme enough time we will fix her for you
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
252. GPTGUY
4:04 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
that would put me on the east side :O(
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 391
251. GPTGUY
4:04 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
Stormtop im in Gulfport, MS do you still see Pass Christian as the highest probability
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 391
250. 53rdWeatherRECON
4:03 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
Yeah, the current intensification is nothing short of awsome. She is just exploding. WOW. I love all these visual tools I have gathered from here.
Member Since: August 5, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 80
249. TybeeIslandGA
4:03 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
Thanks Lefty...going to give it a try!! Be Back!!
248. STORMTOP
4:03 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
yes lefty i agree scary i wonder how many people are laughing at me now...i know the gulf i been forecasting these things for 30 years..the gulf is what you call a silent killer when it comes to hurricanes..
247. leftyy420
4:02 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
i believe she could be a cat 5 and yes i see her growing in size like issabelle did. she was huge
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
246. automeris
4:02 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
whirlwind asked:

> Storm== wouldnt it benefit her more if she was slow moving? more time over warm waters than if she picked up speed? i dont get it...

STORMTOP is worried about a New Orleans hit, which is more likely if Katrina gets far enough west to be less influenced by the developing weakness (trough) in the high pressure air to her north. If the high pressure weakens while Katrina is still far enough east, Katrina will be drawn north, and pushed east. If it weakens after Katrina passes it will have less effect on her. This means a more westerly landfall.

A stronger storm, or a faster moving storm, will be harder to turn, as well. So faster motion now might actually delay eventual landfall and give more time for strengthening than slower motion.
245. leftyy420
4:01 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
okman lets try this. if u use explore go to tools and click internet options. make sure u have java enabled, u are accpetiong cookis and in the advanced section make sure u have play vidoes in webpages clicked. also click the play sound in webpages as well. than restart ur computer. it will prompt u to do this mostlikely, than when u restart close any programs in your tool bar by the clock that u do not need running. usuely a right click will give a list of options selct exit. after that try it again. let me know could be coupleof other things but do all this and let me know
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
244. GetReal
4:00 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
Hey cajun I've been jumping all over the water vapor loops the past two days.
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8898
243. GPTGUY
4:00 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
how many of you think Katrina could become a cat. 5
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 391
242. STORMTOP
4:00 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
another thing lefty is katrina is going to grow in size...like now hurricane force winds extend only 25 miles from the center and gales extend out 85 miles from the center...expect that to increase by tomorrow to hurricane force winds 75 to 100 miles from the center and gale force winds 150 to 200 miles from the center..this will be a very destructive storm where ever she goes and it kind of reminds me a good bit on betsy in 1965...
241. cajunkid
3:58 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
storm top Ihope you aren't right, N.O. needs to make a call the evening, we are about out of time to have a smooth evac.
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1281
240. GetReal
3:58 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
Sustaining category 5 status at landfall definite possibility if Katrina takes a more westerly coarse towards LA or MS due to water temps from 90 to 94 degrees. Plenty of energy there for the taking. Less likely to sustain cat 5 status going into AL/FL due to water temps slightly lower, 84 to 88 degrees and shallower continental shelf causes upwelling.
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8898
239. TybeeIslandGA
3:57 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
Lefty...Thanks for the link. I have been trying since last night to make it work to no avail. I have the latest everything and a 1.5mb DSL connection. The problem I have is I Click on the WebCast and a window pops up. There is an ad on the left side and a screen on the right. The screen on the right just has an annimated NBC logo and the word "Buffering" the whole time. Is it because my DSL is too slow? Any ideas? Thanks Man!!
238. leftyy420
3:57 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
this is scary. very scary.
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
237. leftyy420
3:56 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
yeah but the reason she weakend near the va,nc coast was due to shear. i dopn't see a drop in intensity like we saw over the last couple years of gulf storms. no shear sizzling water temps. if u live in this area please leave go somewhere goto a sheltr just get out of the way
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
236. cajunkid
3:56 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
left, remember I said to look at those vapor loops over the gulf the past two days, man I got a bad feeling about this one
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1281
235. pirateotobx
3:54 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
lefty..you may be right...isabelle was over the deep atlantic when she was a 5 and ended up being a mild 2, strong 1 when she finally came ashore...her eye was 15 miles from where I work..in NC. The gulf is hot but shallower water near the coast...too many variables...anything is possible with these storms...just looking at odds hoping to find a bright spot...hang on down there guys and gals....
234. leftyy420
3:54 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
stormt from what isee the are warmer west of the onhandle but still in the lowers 90's 901 92 off the coast of the panhandle. so i think its crazy no matter where she goes
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
233. Carbo04
3:54 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
This thing is going to blow up big time. Probably to CAT 4, and maybe possibly CAT 5. But the difference between whether it hits as a CAT 4, or even CAT 5 or as a CAT 2 or 3 depends on how far west it goes before it turns. If it gets into the central Gulf I would not be suprised at all to see a CAT 5. Not only is the water near 90 degrees, but the heat content is super high there. Meaning the water is really warm, and it stays really warm very far below the surface. If it turns pretty sharp like forecasted and heads toward the FL panhandle it will probably get to CAT 4, then weaken to a borderline CAT 2/3 at landfall since the heat content is super low.
232. CaneJunkie
3:54 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
Hi guys and gals,

There's a new post out by Dr. Masters.
231. leftyy420
3:52 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
yeah and i could see an explosion of inensity right at the coast like she diid off offlorida cuase the water temps are impressive right near the coast
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
230. STORMTOP
3:51 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
pirate a point i would like to make the temps along the la miss and alabama gulf coast are running 95 degrees now...the temps are quite a bit cooler over the panhandle at 85 degrees..if katrina comes inland on the northern gulf coast she will strengthen all the wat till she is inland...this is just my opinion from foreccasting gulf storms..however that scenario you are talking about could happen in fla...with temps being a lot cooler
229. leftyy420
3:51 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
hte most danger will be that she will be so damaging well inland of the coast that will cause alot of problems
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
228. wxgssr
3:50 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
GIVEN THE RAPID IMPROVEMENT IN THE INNER CORE STRUCTURE AND THE
SHARP PRESSURE DROP...RAPID INTENSIFICATION SEEMS LIKELY FOR THE
NEXT 12 HOURS OR SO. AFTERWARDS...STEADY INTENSIFICATION TO NEAR
CATEGORY FOUR STRENGTH BY 72 HOURS APPEARS TO BE IN ORDER GIVEN THE
VERY WARM GULF WATERS BENEATH THE HURRICANE AND THE VERTICAL SHEAR
FORECAST TO DECREASE TO LESS THAN 10 KT BY 48 HOURS.

FORECASTER STEWART

well well well.....
227. leftyy420
3:49 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
wow the gfdl has her as a strong ts weak cat even as she passes into va where i am. i wouldjust be shocked to experience that
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
226. GPTGUY
3:47 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
stormtop do YOU still think Pass Christian is the highest probablity
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 391
225. leftyy420
3:47 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
don't let that fool yopu man. the water temps near the coast are 95 degress and isabelle was a cat 5 monster for 5 days so don't assume that she will weaken like ivan and dennis did at the coast. i just don't see that happening
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
224. leftyy420
3:45 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
dunno man i dunno. i have never tracked a storm like this. my best guess is to follow the gfdl and figure around the fl,ms,al border or any point west
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
223. pirateotobx
3:45 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
well one thing...if she intensifies too rapidly the odds are that she won't sustain a cat 4 or 5...and at landfall will probably be a strong cat 3...through history most landfalling cat 5's were intensifying just before or at time of landfall....there's a little hope in that as far as stength at landfall....
222. STORMTOP
3:45 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
pasc in new orleans
221. GPTGUY
3:45 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
The last major hurricane we had here was Elena in 1985 cat 3 with 125 mph winds
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 391
220. STORMTOP
3:44 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
i agree lefty and i think they have to shift the track westward by the 5pm advisory...hurr watches will go up sometime saturday .........
219. GPTGUY
3:44 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
Lefty im here in Gulfport, Ms how far west do you think the storm will make landfall
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 391
218. leftyy420
3:43 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
at this point u guys lets just watch the track. she will gosomewhere in the gulf area and she will be totally detructive. this will be a camile, she will be a andrew, and i have a sick feeling this morning. very sick feeling
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
217. PascMississippi
3:42 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
Hey STORMTOP,
Where are you located? I am in Pascagoula.
216. STORMTOP
3:42 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
im interested in her forward speed ...i dont want to see her go to 12mph .....the easterlies are quite strong lefty pushing her quite fast...i dont want that...thats bad for my first original land fall pass christian ms...
215. leftyy420
3:41 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
well i dunno bout that but anything with this storm is possible stormt. i def feel this will be another andrew, a storm other storms are measured against it. the funny thing is all the news agencies are still calling for a cat 3 onlandfall cause thats all noaa has said so far. by the end of today i expect them to state a major cat 4 or weak cat 5 at landfall. thats my expectations right now
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
214. steelmagnolia44
3:41 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
I posted this on Dr. Jeff's blog early this morning. I am posting it again here. STORMTOP's info is important no matter what case he uses! If there is even a remote possibility of Katrina striking around the N.O./Pass Christian area, we NEED to know it. There will not be enought time to prepare and leave unless we start now. That is not panic. That is common sense!
**********************************************************
A word about STORMTOP'S posts.....

I think it is important to have everyone's point of view about this potentially dangerous storm. Those of you with the education and experience can evaluate all the fine points in the data and have a legitimate debate. Those of us depending on accurate info need to hear all the opinions - including STORMTOP'S.

I live in the Pass Christian area. I remember Camille. As the adjuster said - Camille left slabs, and steps where a home once stood. Relatives of a friend of mine were found dead in a their neighbor's driveway because they did not heed the warnings and leave. If any one of you is even thinking another Camille, I, for one, want to know! There is not much time. I am beginning my serious preparations TODAY.

Over the years, I have observed that storms do not follow the NHC center line track. They go to either side of it.

Thinking of our friends in Florida this morning.......


Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 43

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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.