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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381. MSY68
7:24 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
I want to see the turn though before I uproot and evacuate
380. wxfan
7:23 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
I think that Northern movement component was just the result of the eyewall finally collapsing on the NE side of the storm, allowing convection to push northward as it misses the "turn."
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379. Dragoon
7:23 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
icebear7 Cat 4 is the most likely outcome. There have only been three cat 5s to hit the US in recorded history.. while there have been far more cat 4s. Forecasts have to go with the most likely outcome.
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378. MSY68
7:22 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
In New Orleans here..starting to get nervous...
377. StormJunkie
7:23 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Katrina's will be much larger than Ivans.
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376. Joshfsu123
7:19 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Depends on the speed, Storm Junkie. The NHC forecast has a slight easterly component to it at landfall and I agree. However, the flow should change to a Northern flow, not NNE flow, and so however far west it goes when it turns north, if you are directly south of the Hurricane, chances of you getting hit are very high.

But the NNE component depends on the TROF but as of now, I don't see much of one just looking at the data. That can change though.

Texas is safe from a hit, period. The Ridge is moving west and will block any movement towards Texas. Moreover, the TROF over the Gulf of Mexico will also act as a shield. Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle are at greatest risk.

In regards to the North wobble, I think that is all it is, a wobble. The thunderstorm explosion to the Northeast of the center probably caused the jump, which normally happens with powerful or strengthening Hurricanes.
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375. Dragoon
7:21 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
And for those of you calling Dennis "small and compact".. it was larger than Katrina is right now lol
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374. Seawall
7:19 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Hey, Beaumont, I'm awaiting that turn, as well. I'm west of Lake Charles, next to the TEX border. Was born in Beaumont.....
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373. FLPhil
7:16 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
It could get as large as Ivan with respect to how far tropical storm winds extend (Ivan's windfield at landfallLink).

Tropical strom force winds would have to roughly encompase an area from New Orleans to Cedar Key. Its smaller than that right now but just the fact that it has expanded its windfield might be a sign of things to come.
372. icebear7
7:21 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
TWC is still saying only potential of cat 4..... but they could be trying to be conservative on that?
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371. USAmet
7:19 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
definite northern movment right now... id say wnw as of right now, should be interesting to see how the models react to this one
370. StormJunkie
7:19 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
The Ukmet has shifted E, but don't take stock in this.
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369. HurricaneSurvivor
7:17 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
FLPhil I agree... I think we're looking at another Ivan situation or probably worse. For all intensive purposes Ivan was a much worse storm than Charlie. Charlie had higher measured winds, but was small and compact sorta like Dennis. Ivan was a MONSTER in size and had hurricane force winds 115 miles for the center! Tropical storm force was much further. Not to mention the surge built by Ivan was similar to a strong Cat 4 since the storm was Cat5 for longer than any storm on record prior to landfall. Gov Bush even said "there was no close 2nd" talking about the effects of Ivan. I'm not saying that because it destroyed my house. It's the truth...
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368. Dragoon
7:19 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
tornado the storm is nowhere close to being as large as ivan

Ivan had hurricane force winds out 105 miles, and tropical storm force out nearly 300

Katrina is half that at best.
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367. 147257
07:18 PM GMT op 27 Augustus, 2005
but i'm going again i wish everyone good luck with this monster
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366. Beaumont74
7:17 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Been waiting for that more northerly turn...hasnt happened...should I be concerned? I am in Beaumont, Tx about 30 miles west of the TX/LA border.
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365. StormJunkie
7:17 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Any chance for an easterly component proior to landfall Josh?
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364. 147257
07:15 PM GMT op 27 Augustus, 2005
Sayo maybe youre right it maked a big move to North
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363. tornadoty
7:14 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
This storm already is almost as large as Ivan. I fear that it appears that the eyewall replacement cycle is about to end and, with the size of this hurricane and it probably being cat. 4 intensity, it would take a larger than normal increase in shear to weaken it to any measurable degree.
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362. Sheraqueenofthebeach
7:15 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
By the way....we haven't been graced by Lenny's presence....perhaps he's boarding up and getting the heck out of Dodge?

SMART thing if so!
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361. HurricaneSurvivor
7:06 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
That's interesting that Ivan's waves were higher, but then again it was a Cat 5 monster at that point.

I'm going to Evacuate my home in P'cola because it's on a bay and I'm still afraid of a NE turn and the surge.

For those that are extrememly worried just hope for the best and be prepared for the worst. Lots of hype goes on here and elsewhere and that last few storms I recall were ALL suppose to be huge and devestating. I don't want to get your hopes up, but there is no reason to start thinking your NOLA house will be destroyed.... yet.... :0


On that positive note.. ;)

If NOLA floods it will be WEEKS if not MONTHS before you can return to your home. I hope you have backup plans. Pensacola Beach Residents couldn't return to their homes for over a Month. In NOLA you will need scuba equipment. Take plenty of pictures so you can prove it to the insurance company. Put in a claim ASAP to insure you get an adjuster to your house SOON. If it's fixable most insruance companies let you make immediate damage repairs to halt further damage. If you do not have proof you're a resident take it with you. There were national guard checkpoints here after Ivan and you had to prove you were a citizen to get back in the county. If it hits as projected be prepared to be gone a very long time! Good Luck!

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360. Joshfsu123
7:11 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
She is growing. I also point to something developing in the western Gulf of Mexico with the TROF...

If you look at the NW Gulf of Mexico to Central Louisiana, the flow has now changed from east-west to southwest-northeast or a Northeast motion. This should continue to dig into the Gulf of Mexico and push a little more to the east. As it moves more into the Gulf, the flow will change to more of a Northernly motion and that will turn the Hurricane northward.

I could see this Hurricane moving NW by tomorrow morning. So people in the Panhandle to Louisiana (although Panhandle is less at risk now) should be watching this system. It's still south of Apalachicola and has NOT yet cleared Pensacola.
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359. StormJunkie
7:15 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Does anyone else think that she will be much bigger than Ivan? or am I crazy?
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358. SoMissFan
7:11 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
As of about 45 mins ago, I-59 North through Hattiesburg was fairly clear. Don't stop here. Our local Walmart/Sam's parking lot looked like Christmas. People here are taking it seriously. I vividly remember Camille.
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357. FLPhil
7:13 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Katrina has the chance to have a wind field the size of Ivan but with the strength of Charley (or possibly Andrew, Camille, and the Labor Day hurricane.. the only CAT 5's to landfall in the US)
356. 147257
07:14 PM GMT op 27 Augustus, 2005
Dragoon the water is much warmer when ivan entered it
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355. StormJunkie
7:12 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
I am watching that 007 the next several images will tell. Have you looked at the area of the carolina coast? Just intresting, most likely nothing though.
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354. Dragoon
7:13 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
I doubt Katrina will get as large as Ivan.
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353. 147257
07:11 PM GMT op 27 Augustus, 2005
people are screaming for 6 hours that its going N its only shoved from 24.4 to 24.5 this morning so first wait if this turn stays
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352. SaymoBEEL
2:09 PM CDT on August 27, 2005
I also see slightly north of due west. I have observed several instruments and they all look the same. Maybe they are "wobbles"?
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351. Wombats
7:12 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
maybe the size of an ivan but stronger winds wasn't ivan around 120 mph at landfall?
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350. StormJunkie
7:10 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
This thing will bigger than Andrew may not be stronger, but it will be much much bigger. She could be the new comaprison.
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349. FLPhil
7:07 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Wombats,
Charley was a farily small and compact hurricane. With an expanding wind field Katrina will likely be comparable to Ivan.
348. Dragoon
7:10 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
All the ingredients are there for it to be a very strong hurricane when it comes ashore. Possibly around the magnitude of Charley.. but Katrina is a larger storm than Charley was.
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347. CosmicEvents
7:04 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
It's a very very hard thing to leave your home and possessions, but in this situation it's a must for anyone near New Orleans, especially in New Orleans. Evacuating doesn't mean saying goodbye to your home. It means staying alive. The storm can easily go elsewhere, and then you can return to your homes in New Orleans on Tuesday. It's not worth the risk to stay. PLEASE LEAVE.
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346. Weatherwatcher007
7:05 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
This could either be a wobble or a turn to the north.

Link
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345. StormJunkie
7:03 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Holy $h!t. Have you looked at the W. Atlantic/Carib WV image. Look how far those curved bands extend to the south. She is a monster.

WV Image
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344. Wombats
7:10 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
damn that big a scale just trying to get an idea I have family in mobile and baldwin county ala...
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343. icebear7
7:09 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
when might we see the next Blog update?
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342. Dragoon
7:08 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
A lot of people want to compare this to Andrew or Camille. Time will tell.
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341. Carbo04
7:05 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
best of luck Carbo. You are very smart. Encourage Hubby to get outa town. Old locals will tell him "It's OK don't worry. "Iv'e been here for 1000 years..."

You are the wise one!

Hope you home & things survive. But at least you & the family will be OK.





lol, nah.. That wasn't me who said that. I was just quoting wombadomp, and telling her good move, and we're praying for her.
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340. Wombats
7:06 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
what storm of record does everyone compare this to?? maybe a charley or not going to be that large?
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339. 147257
07:04 PM GMT op 27 Augustus, 2005
not sure of that last year ivan passed by the waves where higher the whole day 12 hours before it passed it 200 miles north of us
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338. Carbo04
7:04 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Well, I'm off. Going to Chapel Hill to see the UNC Alumni game. Hope you guys in N.O. get out of there, and stay safe. I'll see you guys around midnight. I expect we'll be seeing a monster at that time.
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337. HillsboroughBay
3:00 PM EDT on August 27, 2005
best of luck Carbo. You are very smart. Encourage Hubby to get outa town. Old locals will tell him "It's OK don't worry. "Iv'e been here for 1000 years..."

You are the wise one!

Hope you home & things survive. But at least you & the family will be OK.

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336. Sheraqueenofthebeach
7:03 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Cosmic! Good to see you! and second your thoughts re win-win!
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335. PascMississippi
2:02 PM CDT on August 27, 2005
Hey Lefty, Where do you really think it is going to go?
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334. 147257
07:01 PM GMT op 27 Augustus, 2005
damn the storm is getting big
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333. captg8r
7:01 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
They're saying low-lying escape routes from NO will be underwater 3-5 hours prior to landfall. This does not bode will for those waiting until the last minute.
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332. Carbo04
7:02 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
storm still moving west ... damn 150 miles out of the eye you have TS conditions is that normal or large?


That is kind of normal. Just bad for people in Key West because even though Katrina was moving further away, the wind field was expanding. So the crappy weather stayed a long time.
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331. Dragoon
7:01 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
150 miles isn't unusual. Perhaps slightly above average.
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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.

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