New Orleans to Pensacola at high risk from Katrina

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:05 PM GMT on August 27, 2005

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The Hurricane Hunters measured a central pressure of 949 mb at 11:14am EDT, up from the cental pressure of 941 mb measured at 7:07am EDT. Concentric eyewalls with diameters of 13 and 40 nm were reported, satellite images show that the eye has filled in with clouds and the cloud top temperatures have warmed. These observations indicate that an eyewall replacement cycle has begun. This was expected, since the 7:07am Hurricane Huneter report indicated that the eye diameter had shrunk to 9 nm, about the smallest diameter one gets before an eyewall replacement cycle begins.

The maximum winds may fall below 115 mph while Katrina undergoes this eyewall replacement cycle, as the inner eyewall collapses and a new outer eyewall forms. This would make Katrina a strong Category 2 storm, and indeed the maximum winds seen so far by the Hurricane Hunters were only 87 knots (100 mph) at 10,000 feet. This is a temporary affliction, since Katrina is in nearly ideal conditions for strengthening, and is expected to reach Category 4 status by Sunday. The convection and outflow are starting to look better on the north side of the hurricane, and Katrina should have a more symmetrical shape typical of Category 4 hurricanes by Sunday. As seen in the cumulative wind image below, Katrina has increased markedly in size the past 12 hours, and will deliver a widespread damaging blow wherever she comes ashore.



The favorable intensification conditions for Katrina are expected to last up until landfall, when some increase in shear may occur. Intensification forecasts are highly unreliable, though, and it would be no surprise if Katrina were a Category 2, 3, or 4 landfall. The track forecast is getting more believable, as Katrina's westerly motion shows that it has begun it recurvature, pretty much where NHC and the models were predicting. A landfall between New Orleans and Pensacola is on track for Monday morning or afternoon. I expect a Category 3 storm at landfall.

I'd hate to be an Emergency Management official in New Orleans right now. Katrina is pretty much following the NHC forecast, and appears likely to pass VERY close to New Orleans. I'm surprised they haven't ordered an evacuation of the city yet. While the odds of a catastrophic hit that would completely flood the city of New Orleans are probably 10%, that is way too high in my opinion to justify leaving the people in the city. If I lived in the city, I would evacuate NOW! There is a very good reason that the Coroner's office in New Orleans keeps 10,000 body bags on hand. The risks are too great from this storm, and a weekend away from the city would be nice anyway, right? GO! New Orleans needs a full 72 hours to evacuate, and landfall is already less than 72 hours away. Get out now and beat the rush. You're not going to have to go to work or school on Monday anyway. If an evacuation is ordered, not everyone who wants to get out may be able to do so--particularly the 60,000 poor people with no cars.

Dr. Jeff Masters

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481. MSY68
8:11 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
My heart aches for the poor of NO who dont have cars and are stuck here ..there are close to 100,000 people in NO w/out cars
480. iyou
8:10 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
What is being done to assist the 60,000 people Dr. Masters referred to, who do not have vehicles?
Member Since: July 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5219
479. herewegoagain
7:58 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
MSY 68:

If you think that NO will not be lose thousands of lives, please read the following (this is why NO needs to evacuate!)

"Camille's 200 mph wind gusts and 25 foot storm surge, destroyed 100 years of growth and progress along the Mississippi coast in only three hours. Survivors near the eye reported a deafening roar of wind, that was by itself truly terrifying, often compared to speeding freight train. Although the damage in all of southern Mississippi was appalling, within about 1/2 mile from the ocean, most of the structures seemed to have just vanished. Only footings and slabs remained. Even plumbing systems had been removed. (W.Guice 1970)."

"In a truly biblical tale, one survivor told of sitting in his home during Camille, and watching as the ocean water spread through his yard and eventually flooded the first floor of his home. Retreating to the attic, the water was quickly neck deep, forcing him to kick out the small attic window and swim to a large transmission tower at the rear of his property. As he struggled to climb up the tower, he watched in horror, as the roof of his home went under water. He had lived 2 miles from the ocean (Coburn 1977)."
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478. Ronaydo
8:10 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Lefty, what do you think the chances of her moving one way or the other between now Monday?
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477. MSY68
8:10 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Thank You Cosmic...I think you are right...that said..the latest images and "explosion" are sending a chill up my spine...tpo think that my home and everything I know around me could be gone by Tuesday is unbelievable...all we can do is pray...
476. leftyy420
8:09 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
well u belive what u want but she now has a 45 nm wide eye. that alone should bother you don't u think. that eye if she does not doughnut would close and that alone would take some time. she could very well be a cat 5 165+ by the time she finishes ger cycle. all national news agencies are now saying 131-155+ and they are emphasising the +
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
475. SaymoBEEL
3:02 PM CDT on August 27, 2005
MobileGirl, Yeah, I just hate TV reporters saying MObull. If I get a sales or polling call, I give them a lesson in diction. Are you staying for this one? Based on the size and the fact we will most likely be on the east side, it will not be fun even if it is not a direct hit. I stocked up on gas and groceries and plan to ride it out. Hope the big oak tree near the house hangs in there.
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474. Carbo04
8:08 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Hey Lefty, how strong do you think we'll get here? If this eye is really going to be as big as it's looking going right over the Gulf Loop with no real shear am I crazy to think 180-190 isn't 100% out of the question?
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473. leftyy420
8:08 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
i am alarmed. i never saw this comming until it was ahppening and my mind is still blown. i went to take anap and i could not close my eyes
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
472. CosmicEvents
8:04 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
MSY....I doubt that any of us here are qualified to render a knowledgable opinion on the doomsday scenario. All we can do is read them. They were written by people who are educated in these things. I guess we can only pray that either they are wrong or the storm goes elsewhere.
Member Since: August 3, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 5646
471. MSY68
8:07 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
I agree Lefy and Panhandle...I live in The Garden District of NO...I think I can kiss my house goodbye
470. wcta
8:07 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
All,

Living in Slidell LA...sent my family east just before noon on I-10. They are now east of Pensacola (driving to Cen FL)...traffic was busy but moving with no problems. I'm sure it won't last.
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469. caymanray
8:05 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Wow that 8:00 image is very impressive-
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468. tmichelle1979
4:03 PM EDT on August 27, 2005
here's a link to the Andrew reclassification that someone requested.
http://www.usatoday.com/weather/hurricane/andrew-upgrade-science.htm
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467. leftyy420
8:04 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
i am sure u will see a very alarmed 5pm advisory from the nhc. this large eye was a worst case scenario. to put it in perspective when a storm has a 7-9nmis eyes and fors a concentric eye it will be about 20nm wide and skrink as the storms inner eye degrades. this storm has enlarged the outer eye while the inner eye has degraded to 20 percent. this storm is also about to hit the gulf loop. this is a really bad situation
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
466. FLPanhandle
8:02 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Look at the last frame on loop. Exploding!

http://www.intellicast.com/Local/USNationalWide.asp?loc=usa&seg=StormCenter&prodgrp=FloaterImagery&product=Float5Loop&prodnav=none&pid=none
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465. leftyy420
8:01 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
sh is moving maybe a little north of west for the last 2 hrs but i can not say that for sure cause the eye has been wobbling all over. this storm is exploding right now. she will have doubled her size by time she is done with this re orginisation. she will than tap the gulf loop and while i do not think she will maitain a doughnut eye for more than 18 hrs she would probly have shrunk that eye to 10-15 miles by landfall and that is the worse case scenerio. i still very confident in the storm making landfall near or east of no. i also see winds of 140-160 mph. strong cat4 or mod cat5
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
464. FSUstormnut
8:01 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Carbo04....Here is another one. This is the offical Andrew link from the NHC. Tons of info.

Link
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463. MSY68
8:01 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Max Mayfield is rasing the alarm...finally...just told everyone to get out of MSY and not wait for evacuations...hes saying Cat 5 at landfall is a real possibility
462. SoMissFan
7:56 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Hattiesburg has an emergency plan in place to try and ease the traffic situation on Hwy 49. Local traffic will not be able to access 49 AT ALL. All intersections will be blocked in order to keep 49 moving. It absolutely will NOT solve the problem, but it might help some. Officials haven't announced when they will implement this plan. Hwy's 57 and 63 to 59 are much better routes.
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461. Dragoon
7:59 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
The storm's inner eyewall is continuing to disintegrate, now down to about 25% coverage, as stated in the latest recon report. This means that the outer eyewall (which is still a very large 40-45 nm in diameter) is about to take over.. and once it does.. the storm will begin to intensify.
460. leftyy420
7:58 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
no, in the last recon rport there was only 25 percent of the inner eye left. couple more hours she will be goone. the new eye is 45nm wide and is hard to tell but it is not perfectly circular due to the collapse of the inner eye. winds are picking back up. latest flught level max winds were 98kts. i belive she will be a form of a doughnut hurricane in the next 3 hrs and how long she stays at that form is unknown. with such a large eye i assume she could be able to maitain a cat 4 or 5 thru landfall.
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
459. Wombats
7:58 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
when is the turn expected to take place according to the experts??? today, tonight?
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458. MSY68
7:58 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Thanks Lefty ..thats what I was hoping...otherwise im screwed...although worst case I can go to the Superdome...cant believe that wouldnt survive
457. FLMaverick
7:58 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Carbo04....Here is one link

You can google this and find hundreds.

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/NOAA_pr_8-21-02.html
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456. Sheraqueenofthebeach
7:57 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
L if you're lurking...check e-mail.
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455. Carbo04
7:58 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Thanks FSU.
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454. PascMississippi
2:57 PM CDT on August 27, 2005
Hey Lefty,
Can you give us an update on what you think the storm is doing now?
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453. MSY68
7:57 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Does anybody here really think the doomsdat scenarios / thepories that if MSY takes a direct CAT 4 or 5 Hit..there will be NO building left standing and 50,000 dead???
452. Carbo04
7:56 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Anyone got a link to a real detailed story about Andrew's reclassification? I'd like to look at it.
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451. leftyy420
7:56 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
that 5pm flight would be close but the airports should still be open
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
450. MSY68
7:56 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Bought a fully refundable ticket..that way im covered either way...I did not want to battle the traffic on the roads...have doen that too many times
449. herewegoagain
7:55 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Looks like the eye is forming again, with a concentric eye around it. http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/TROP/DATA/RT/gmex-vis-loop.html
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448. FSUstormnut
7:55 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Carbo04:

This is why Andrew was re-classified!
Link

The storm was so intense they never got accurate readings! The page came right off the NHC page!
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447. MSY68
7:55 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
At what time do you think the Airlines will stop flying?? I have a flight out Tomorrow (Sunday) at 5pm...jus in case
446. jackfish28
7:43 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Goula people and Jackson County people should take 57 though Vancleave to get out heading north, then 59 to Meridan and backtrack if you need to get to Jackson. Stay off 49 and 1-10 at all cost. 63 may be ok, but check it first. If you leave tonight or at night less traffic.

Last storm time, we left 6 hours after our friends who got an early am start but used 1-10 and 49. One of them had to give up in Mandeville and the other took 23 hours to get to Jackson. We got to Meridan with no traffic in an easy and uneventful trip.

Plan your departure time and route with a good map or mapquest and you will be better off.
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445. Dragoon
7:53 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Carbo the reason for the reclassification was the measurements of instruments.. not just one or two.. but a multitude of them that recorded winds near the maximum suspected landfall intensity for a LONG period of time (with some of them even failing at a time when the pressure was not consistent with the strongest portion of the hurricane being over that instrument)

This, along with the type of damage seen.. is the reason for the reclassification.
444. hmfynn
7:51 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
What exactly is the progress of the TROF now? Is it on its way low enough to start pulling this thing, is it still too far away to start impacting this, or is it already here and the storm just isn't responding well?
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443. captg8r
7:53 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
additional one-way outbound lanes will be added in an hour in NO
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442. StellarCyclone
7:47 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Cosmic is very cool - probably just busy - myself I'm just taking a quick break - then it's back to battening down the hatches. Prayers for all ... adios
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441. icebear7
7:53 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
i have to go pick up hubby from work

oh, hey, look...Lefty is back.


i won't be able to keep watching this blog for a few hours now...
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440. FLMaverick
7:51 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
I know Dr. Landsea who is one of the people from NOAA's Hurricane Division who worked on reclassifying Andrew. I trust his judgement. If he says Andrew was a Cat 5, then I believe it was a Cat 5.
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439. mobilegirl
7:50 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
AHhhh - I just 'got' your name. Very funny. Are you in Mobile?
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438. Dragoon
7:52 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
And there are other storms that have been reclassified. Gaston last year, for example, is one. Erika from 2003 I believe is another. Both were posthumously reclassified as hurricanes. Not much was made of those upgrades because neither storm caused a terrible amount of destruction.. but reclassifications do happen.
437. sailfool
7:45 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
jackfish,

i hear you. we were 50 miles south of pascagoula last friday. only in 200 ft or so of water but it the water temp was as hot as i have ever seen it. Could get nothing to bite on the weed lines and all we could come up with at the deepwater wrecks were kings on the bottom. Seemed unusual.
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436. leftyy420
7:51 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
hey lets not worry about it. andrew did enough detrsuction to in my opinion be in a selcect class of storms i refer to as the hand of god. it may not have beeen close to camile, or the labor day storm but u can not deny that was a hurricane you do not see but once every so many years
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
435. Sheraqueenofthebeach
7:51 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
creating*
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434. leftyy420
7:49 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
isabeal was not reclassified but her winds were dropped down from what she was supose to be at landfall.
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
433. Carbo04
7:49 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
So then every storm should be reclassified. If the measurements the air craft crews were getting, and the Divorak scale numbers were way off for Andrew, then it was probably way off for every other storm.
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432. Sheraqueenofthebeach
7:46 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
creaing zen at the beach icebear
;)
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431. Dragoon
7:47 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
The winds observed by instruments in Andrew also point to a stronger storm. There were a few instruments that measured 140 mph winds for TEN minutes straight. You can't tell me that these instruments were fortunately placed enough to have sampled the maximum winds of the hurricane.

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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.