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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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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430. FLMaverick
7:46 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Andrew was not reclassified until 10 years after landfall. I doubt it was because of insurance.
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429. HurricaneSurvivor
7:46 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Dragoon we agree a lot.

The idea that Andrew was reclassified for insurance reasons is absurd. State Farm never asked me how strong the winds were when they wrote the check for my house. Fema didn't care either. As I stated, it's well documented why, and Ivan is under investigation as well to be reclassified.
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428. Hawkeyewx
2:41 PM CDT on August 27, 2005
Sorry, Carbo, Andrew was reclassified because real experts found real cat 5 wind damage after a detailed survey.
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427. Dragoon
7:45 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Link

Thats a big storm.
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426. SaymoBEEL
2:44 PM CDT on August 27, 2005
MobileGirl, This is the site link for that loop. It includes several instruments including a loopnig water vapor. Thanks!
Say Mo-Beel
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425. icebear7
7:45 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Shera, where were YOU when i was making coffee, huh?

Hhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmm......


(just joking)
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424. Carbo04
7:43 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Dragoon, I don't buy it. Why have no other storms ever been reclassified? You mean to tell me that just for that one storm the air craft was measruing things wrong? The Divorak scale images were malfuctioning? I'd believe it more if other storms were reclassified as well, but no. It was just done for people to get more insurance money, which is fine. But it wasn't a 5.
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423. HurricaneSurvivor
7:40 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
According to NOVA Andrew was reclassified when Mr. Tornado Dr. Fujita observed evidence of damage in the "mini swirls" of the eye wall. This was damage you would only see in 200 mile per hour tornados he said. It also explains it well in a National Geographic film titled "Cyclones."
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422. 147257
07:43 PM GMT op 27 Augustus, 2005
relax tonight it will strengthening
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421. Sheraqueenofthebeach
7:41 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Don't think Cosmic is angry about storm predictions.... AT ALL.
Just curious how a few disappear...at the same time.... that's all.
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420. icebear7
7:42 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
unless i missed something... TWC is expecting it to landfall later on in the day Monday than i thought they said earlier...i thought this morning they were expecting it rather early Monday
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419. IKE
7:39 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
stormtop said the 10 am advisory would have Katrina at 125 mph..which it wasn't.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
418. ChrisPC24
7:40 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
thunderswc, I was wondering where you went; glad to see you're alright. Sorry to hear about your Dad. I hope everything is OK again this time.
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417. Dragoon
7:40 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Carbo, Andrew was a 5. That's why it was reclassified. They looked at the damage and came to the conclusion that the winds were closer to 165 mph rather than 145 mph.
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416. paulfrmpasschristian
2:38 PM EST on August 27, 2005
Hey Thunder, sorry about your Dad.. This time thunder, its coming up my A^^!!
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415. HurricaneSurvivor
7:37 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
I will add again that a Westward evacuation through Pensacola will be a nightmare for you. Find alternate routes to I-10 because the Escambia Bay Bridge is still Ivan damaged. It's only 1 lane. I posted the picture prior in this blog.
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414. icebear7
7:38 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
StormTop hasn't been here for hours, lefty went to take a nap about 2 hours ago and StHurri, i have no idea when disappeared... i don't see your connection
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413. Carbo04
7:37 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Actually Cat. 5's tend to be bigger. Gilbert was the largest in size in the Atlantic, Allen was huge, Ivan was huge, Isabel was quite big too. Andrew was small, but it was never a 5. It was only reclassified for insurance reasons.
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412. StormJunkie
7:37 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Get over it Cosmic. You are just angry cause STorm T had this thing dead on.
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411. mobilegirl
7:32 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Saymo, that's a great link. I like it with the grid and the forecast points on... looks like a slight job n ahead of plan... but it's still hard to know with the eye still not "recovered" from this latest cycle.
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410. HillsboroughBay
3:31 PM EDT on August 27, 2005
We are in feder band Now w/ Lightning ( Unusual but with all the heat). I measured 298 Mils to the eye.

That would make the noticeable effets have diameter of up to 600 Miles. This has been pounding Cuba & The yukatan for over 24 Hrs.

That's a lotta H2O. Should be cooling the Gulf though & hopefull breaking up the red tide!

Larger bands yet to come & will most likly reach Orlando by tonite.

My heart is with those trying to get away in the Panhandle & LA/MS :-)


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409. Dragoon
7:37 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
HurricaneSurvivor Isabel's windfield at landfall was larger than Ivans. Not as strong though.
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408. jackfish28
7:18 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Here we go again. (I leave in Ocean Springs, Mississippi just east of Biloxi, west of Pascagoula.) I was fishing in the water South of the mouth of the Mississippi where this storm is forecast to hit before landfall in a big game tournament last week. About 60-100 nm south around Ram Powell and Ursa rigs (3000 to 5500 feet deep)and south the water was obscenely hot. We were reading surface temps above 96 all over. Some of the locals were even saying that it was too hot for the fish to bite and everything was staying 200 feet down and deeper during day. Many of the charter boat had resorted to night fishing. All the winning boats caught fish in much closer than normal where they found good water (blue) that was a little cooler. If any of you are fisherman we ran a very think rig with grass islands 100 yards thick in colbalt blue water for over 5 miles within sight of ursa and never say a single fish. My captain 50 years plus on the water had never seen anything like it. We started looking for bananas. (Old fishing curse.)We didn't see any surface fish except schooling yellowfins for days. 100 hours trolling and not even one bite. No dolphins, no wahoo, no kings, nothing. Did see a pod of three blue whales if anyone knows who tracks that now that Texas A&M project of Gulf mammals is dead.

Anyway, the water is very very hot for a good depth and will have to turbo charge Katrina unless something cancels this out. Not good news for anyone I am afraid.

Steve muyllins
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407. StormJunkie
7:36 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
The water vapor is VERY impressive EZ. That is why I think she will be larger than anyone is giveing her credit for.
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406. HurricaneSurvivor
7:36 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Josh, too late, I'm already booked at the Doubletree downtown. :)
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405. CosmicEvents
7:20 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Mysteriously.....Stormtop, leftyy, and sainthurrifan have all left at the same time. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.
Member Since: August 3, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 5456
403. HurricaneSurvivor
7:31 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
I will say that trying to compare storms is tiresome. There are just too many factors to compare. For instance, the topography of the ocean floor also plays a roll in the height of storm surge in an area. The 200+ mile wide hurricane windfield of Ivan is the largest I can recall making landfall. I would even suppose that if Ivan had hit a large population then it would have been more costly than Andrew. Those Cat 5 storms are usually small and compact.

Was Charlie bad ... of course...
Was Ivan... Yes
Is any hurricane? Yup!

That's why it's tiresome. It's tough to tell someone who lost their entire home and belongings that the hurricane that wiped them out wasn't devestating. Sure, some are more powerful, but they are all bad.
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402. Joshfsu123
7:33 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
BTW, to all the people who are leaving, Don't come to Tallahassee. Jim Cantore said you should head over our way but classes at FSU, FAMU and TCC begin on Monday and we are already packed enough. We don't need anymore people.

I'm sure Jacksonville would love to have you.

Member Since: July 6, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 578
401. bigpoppapascagoula
2:35 PM CDT on August 27, 2005
Here's a shoutout to my friend Dan...reading the boards...sweating it out in Pensacola with a pregnant wife... it's going to be okie dokie!
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400. bigpoppapascagoula
2:33 PM CDT on August 27, 2005
I'll check back later ... thanks for all the interesting information.
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399. EZMonster
7:29 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Do a 30-image, medium ZOOM water vapor loop on the GOES12 satellite (about 4.5 hr). The amount of water the storm has pulled into it in that time is frightening.

http://www.ghcc.msfc.nasa.gov/GOES/goeseastconus.html

398. StormJunkie
7:32 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
That is what I have been thinkg all along Salter. Bad damage all the way from Charleston to Charolete.
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397. MSY68
7:32 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
LOOKS LIEK NO IS TAKING IT SERIOUSLY NOW...im gonna wait until tonight to decide whether to go
396. thunderswc
7:29 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Hey Paul, et. al....the WU's favorite Jewish OBGYN here. Sorry I never got on the party plan. The week after the last storm, I lost my Dad.

Here we are a few days later (it seems) and we are looking at another one. We have not evacuated yet. The kids are not throwing up and my wife still doesn't move.

How are you guys? Where is this one going?
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395. sailfool
7:26 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
just boarded up the windows at my business in pascagoula to be on the safe side. will do the house tomorrow morning depending on where it looks it is headed at that time.
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394. Hairball
7:28 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
You New Orleans poeple (and others) who want to go west to Texas better leave NOW. I-10 West is a virtual parking lot as I write this at 2:30pm CST.
Link
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393. Dragoon
7:30 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Ultimately I believe a good comparison for Katrina's wind field will be that of Hurricane Isabel's in 2003 during the time in which it was a Category 5 storm. Hurricane force winds out 60-70 miles.. and tropical storm force out perhaps 200..

Large but not as large as Ivan.
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392. wombadomp
2:26 PM CDT on August 27, 2005
I went into work at 5 this morning and found 6 men working. My opinion was to close the business, but the GM wanted it open. He changed his mind at 10. Most of them weren't planning to leave until the morning. I don't think N.O. is taking this seriously at all. I think my hubby plans to work as late as possible, sleep a little and drive west in the early morning hours -- 3 a.m. or so. I'll check to see if others are leaving. I think there are going to be far too many people stranded, as the interstate is going to be in complete gridlock, if it isn't already.

Does anyone know where to find the updated models. I left all my notes with my husband.
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391. icebear7
7:30 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
so, she's a 3 now
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390. salter
3:26 PM EDT on August 27, 2005
stormjunkie
try comparing it to hugo that was a big storm
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389. PascagoulaGal
7:04 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
I am still sitting here in Pascagoula about 1 mile from the beach on the Pasc. River. No word from city or county officials on anything. The EOC has met today but are just watching and waiting. The Jackson Co. Board of Supervisors are meeting at 4:00 to access the situation. Hope to hear something from them or the Govenor soon. I enjoy the posts and hope we have the electricity to continue reading them during landfall. Everyone stay safe.
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388. Dragoon
7:26 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
The storm has a large circulation, but not really a large wind field. This could change but remember Ivan had days and days to broaden its wind field.. and the effects of the shear it was fighting toward the coastline also helped to expand the wind field. Katrina may indeed become a bit larger.. but don't expect an Ivan sized storm. The factors aren't there.
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387. FLPhil
7:22 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Each storm is different, some are small while others are large. I guess its just a gut feeling I have with Katrina.

One thing I have a question about: Do landfalling storms that are weakening/have weakened result in an expanded wind field?
386. SaymoBEEL
2:25 PM CDT on August 27, 2005
I have been watching this sat. loop. I'm sure most everyone is aware of this. But, the superimposed lats/lons and forecast points give a great visual reference.

http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/TROP/DATA/RT/float-vis-loop.html
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385. IKE
7:20 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Joshfsu123...you right about that trough digging SE off of the Texas coast. That'll be what turns Katrina. I'm still not convinced this storm will ever make it as far as 90 degrees west. I think it goes east of there.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
384. 147257
07:25 PM GMT op 27 Augustus, 2005
l00k how big this storm already is
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383. salter
3:11 PM EDT on August 27, 2005
stormjunkie,
i was checking out you wv loop and if you look close it has an imagie of a gator in it check it out
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382. HurricaneSurvivor
7:21 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Yes, don't mistake size for intensity...

Charlie was intense and small... the size and trajectory are the main factors you had hardly any surge from it.

Ivan was less intense but LARGE... very large. That much over a large area pushes a lot of water and as most know, the surge is the most destructive and deadly from a Hurricane.

Katrina has the possiblilty of growing in size as it weakens in intensity toward landfall.
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381. MSY68
7:24 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
I want to see the turn though before I uproot and evacuate

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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.