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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1081. JaxAdjuster
12:16 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
That wind map is big. Anyone have any idea what the radius of the hurricane force winds are?
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1080. EZMonster
12:15 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
The buoy plot is kind of interesting cause it really shows what happens when the hurricane comes. It's not like one minute it's nice weather and the next minute you're dealing with 100+mph hr winds. You're in it for the long run with a buildup buildup buildup of storm intensity that by the time the real punch comes, you've already been in the midst of a miserable storm for a full day.
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1078. HurricaneSurvivor
12:11 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Folks, Ivan was suppose to hit NO last year. Guess who got it.... :(


About that surge graph there is one posted earlier in this Blog but you have to select storm surge when you click it.



HurricaneIvanSurvivor
P-Cola
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1077. errantlythought
12:12 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Thats honestly what I'm wondering about, We. During Ivan it was a bumper-to-bumper zone on 190 from the causeway towards the 12 and 59.. right now? Its moving along like a normal 5pm evening.
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1076. hagshome
11:59 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Just a small peeve...television coverage is lacking for the MS Gulf Coast while NO has two stations giving almost nonstop coverage. Even the Weather Channel has Jim C. on Biloxi beach. Don't know why WLOX is not giving this more coverage. For those of you heading out to the highways, a good info site is MPB on 90.3 AM and, of course, the AM channels for LA.
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1075. FLPhil
12:10 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
I found something called wave heights...don't know if this is what you are looking for Link
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1074. Weareallgunnadie
12:11 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
errrr...why are the highways leaving new orleans empty? Traffic cams make the highways look like they run through a ghost town...
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1073. HurricaneSurvivor
12:06 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
If I were the Hurricane I'd be afraid of Jim Cantore. ;)
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1072. WunderDogg
7:04 PM CDT on August 27, 2005
Phyler: I'm in Pensacola, too. I can't answer for you as to whether you should evacuate, but bear in mind that hurricanes are forces of nature, and no one can say what one will do for certain.

Even though it's been looking as if the storm will wind up west of the Pensacola area, a quicker turn to the north or a jog to the right that is unexpected could put us in or near its path. And at this point, if it does come nearby, it will probably be to the west of us, which (as with Ivan) would put us on the worst side...

If you're really wanting to evacuate should this thing come to town, then the best advice I can give you is get everything ready to go and then watch it like a hawk. When your gut says 'go', go. At least you're not ignoring it, so you're already ahead of the game.
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1071. Weareallgunnadie
12:08 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Does anyone know of a graphical storm surge forecast?
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1070. errantlythought
12:06 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
As a side note, there were a few slip ups today.

1. New Orleans is already planned for a total evac, the mayor of Biloxi gave that one away on TWC.

2. Contra-flow (All four lanes evac) was supposed to start at 4, it didnt get moving around here till 5:30 at least.. But the traffic really is surprisingly light.

3. Im sort of concerned: I have seen VERY FEW people leaving.
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1069. Damon85013
12:05 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
It's the least I can do from here, SouthernLady. Wishing you and everyone in Katrina's path the strength to get through this...

Take care :)
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1068. leftyy420
12:06 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
remeebr we can do our best to predict where we think they will go but only katrina knows where she is headed. be prepared to leave and keep watching her
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
1067. EZMonster
12:06 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
000
WTNT32 KNHC 272350
TCPAT2
BULLETIN
HURRICANE KATRINA INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 18A
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
7 PM CDT SAT AUG 27 2005

...DANGEROUS HURRICANE KATRINA BEGINS TO MOVE TOWARD THE
WEST-NORTHWEST...

A HURRICANE WATCH IS IN EFFECT ALONG THE NORTHERN GULF COAST FROM
INTRACOASTAL CITY TO THE ALABAMA-FLORIDA BORDER.

A HURRICANE WARNING WILL LIKELY BE REQUIRED FOR PORTIONS OF THE
NORTHERN GULF COAST LATER TONIGHT. INTERESTS IN THIS AREA SHOULD
MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF KATRINA.

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

AT 7 PM CDT...0000Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE KATRINA WAS LOCATED
NEAR LATITUDE 24.8 NORTH...LONGITUDE 85.9 WEST OR ABOUT 360 MILES
SOUTHEAST OF THE MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER.

KATRINA HAS BEGUN TO MOVE TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 7 MPH.
THIS GENERAL MOTION SHOULD CONTINUE TONIGHT AND SUNDAY.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 115 MPH...WITH HIGHER GUSTS.
KATRINA IS A CATEGORY THREE HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON
SCALE. STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS...AND
KATRINA COULD BECOME A CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE LATER TONIGHT OR
SUNDAY.

HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 45 MILES FROM THE
CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 160
MILES. NOAA BUOY 42003 LOCATED NORTHWEST OF THE CENTER RECENTLY
REPORTED SUSTAINED WINDS OF 54 MPH WITH A GUST TO 64 MPH AND
25-FOOT WAVES.

THE LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE REPORTED BY AN AIR FORCE
RECONNAISSANCE PLANE WAS 944 MB...27.88 INCHES.

DATA FROM BUOYS INDICATE THAT 12-FOOT WAVES ARE ALREADY APPROACHING
PORTIONS OF THE NORTHERN GULF COAST. STORM SURGE FLOODING ALONG THE
SOUTHWESTERN COAST OF FLORIDA SHOULD SUBSIDE TONIGHT.

KATRINA IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE ADDITIONAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 3 TO
5 INCHES OVER EXTREME WESTERN CUBA...AND 1 TO 3 INCHES OF RAINFALL
IS EXPECTED OVER THE YUCATAN PENINSULA. HEAVY RAINS FROM KATRINA
SHOULD BEGIN TO AFFECT THE CENTRAL GULF COAST SUNDAY EVENING.
RAINFALL TOTALS OF 5 TO 10 INCHES...WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS
OF 15 INCHES...ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS THE CENTRAL GULF COAST.

REPEATING THE 7 PM CDT POSITION...24.8 N... 85.9 W. MOVEMENT
TOWARD...WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 7 MPH. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...115
MPH. MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 944 MB.

THE NEXT ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER AT
10 PM CDT.

FORECASTER AVILA
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1065. errantlythought
12:01 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Indeed we are just barely inside of the mandatory evac area, but when you've lived around this area so long you start to learn the areas that flood. As far as that is concerned, even in a storm of this magnitude we're fine where we are.. The 12 at covington/mandeville has a tendancy to be safer than what most people think.

Thats not to say if she's a strong cat 4 we wont be hitting little used back roads that are not much more than gravel (Im so glad I bought my jeep ^.^). But as of right now, we're safe enough and have access to emergency areas fairly easily. (block and a half roughly through woods to a local hospital. Coverable in dire need. Plus my family's old hand as it were.)
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1064. lowpressure
12:02 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
i aggree lefty just wanted to see if you thought there was any chance left of a more esatern hit, sence the NHC seems to have a split the diffrenc approach with the models at times, and that dosent always wok out.
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1063. SouthernLady
12:02 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Toyotaman, yes I know..thanks, this old house made it through Camille..It is actually a house built on top of a house...Walls 8 inches thick....
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1061. leftyy420
12:02 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
phlyer u loomto be safe but u should have all preperations ready for if u need to leave in a hurry. if u feel uneasy than just leave. what will it hurt mayube ur pocket a little. only u know if u feel safe for your location and ur home. but atleast u should be prepared and have a plan in place.
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
1060. EZMonster
12:00 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Check out this plot of the windspeed and pressure at the buoy closest to the hurricane (still ~100 nm away)

http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/show_plot.php?station=42003&meas=wdpr&uom=E

Link

EZ
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1059. Toyotaman
12:00 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
Katrina now moving wnw.
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1058. leftyy420
12:00 AM GMT on August 28, 2005
the motion is wnw and she will wobble as allmojor hurricanes do. she is right ontrack with what the nhc has said for a couple days and all the models. i see ehr making landfall pretty closeto the nhc track for this storm
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
1056. Phlyer
11:57 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
I know this has been asked before, but I didn't see an answer to it.

Does anyone think that Pensacola is going to get hit? I want to evacuate if we are going to get hit here, but with all the uncertainty of this storm I just don't know.
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1055. lowpressure
11:55 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
lefty// on WV imagery she appers to be keeping the north motion, and the eyewall cycle appers to be near an end ,, what do you make of the motion
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1054. FLPhil
11:58 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
If anyone has problems with the link previously posted you can also find the windswath here: Link Just scroll down & you will find it.
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1053. AySz88
7:56 PM EDT on August 27, 2005
errantlythought: this map (just posted by someone else) shows one projected extant of the winds (hurricane force is all the red and worse).

Aren't you under that mandatory evacuation south of I-12 I've been hearing about over the web broadcast?
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1052. Toyotaman
11:55 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
southernlady, you never want a storm like this to hit west of you unless it is a couple hundred miles. The east, northeast part of the storm is the worst.
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1051. iyou
11:57 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
FLPhil - it worked for me also - thanks
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1050. FLPhil
11:56 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Ok EZ, must be something with my computer settings...
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1049. SouthernLady
11:55 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
First Baptist Church Magee, Ms. has opened a shelter....
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1048. Damon85013
11:48 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
I am copying this from my blog in case anyone evacuating tonight may benefit...

I just want to wish for the safety of everyone in harm's way. We will most certainly lose Internet contact with many bloggers in the hurricane's path as power systems fail, and this will concern those of us who have made online friends whom we have never met in person. As part of the "lifeline," after the storm passes, I will gladly post updates for any WU members who lose power (but maintain some sort of phone service) and wish to pass along their experiences or verify their safety to your concerned fellow bloggers throughout the country. If this is something that may interest you, please write down my home (Arizona) phone number BEFORE the power fails. Feel free to call anytime and leave a message with your handle (screen name) and what you wish to have posted. Evacuees at hotels and shelters who want to "check in" with messages to online pals are also welcome to call. Your safety and well-being mean a lot to all of us.

I will also gladly relay messages by telephone or email to loved ones who for any reason you are unable to reach...especially if you are in imminent danger of losing battery power to your telephone and need to establish contact. I will be home without interruption through next Wednesday, so please do not hesitate to call day or night if you need this service

My phone number is (6o2) 279-113o

PLEASE be safe, everyone...
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1047. errantlythought
11:38 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Hey there all. Long time lurker around wunderground, finally decided I might as well pop in an account. I'm on the northshore @ covington just below the I-12 (Literally about 200 feet from it).

Family and I are staying here for the time being, but prepared for an emergency get the hell out of dodge tommorow if she gets to a strong 4-5 range and stays. (Dont worry, house is beyond code and we're about 15 feet above the bayou and several miles off the lake.) I'll be recording everything I can and will upload when able.. Digi's ready as are notebooks and a laptop. (No worries about doing anything stupid. Family's got betsy and camille survivors so I know just what this can do.)

Now, as far as the storm goes.. Ive been following and catching right along, if you follow me. Considering the size of the storm currently, how far west would you figure hurricane force winds will extend? Just a ballpark figure, Im well aware this isnt exact. But I've a friend out in hammond that wants to know if she's safe. (Above the 12) And to be honest, Ive not got a clue as far as it goes for that area. (20 miles west of Covington/Mandeville. As a side note, C/M is almost directly on 90w on the north side of lake ponchitrain for reference.)

Thanks in advance, and appologies for the long post.
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1046. paperfrog
11:38 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
> Jim Cantonre is doing a live report, advising people of the Voluntary Evacuation for MS. Telling them to go to Baton Rouge! Huh?

Yeah, I believe westbound I-10 is closed at the LA state line.

We're still not beathing easy here in Pensacola. God help whoever gets in the way of this nasty storm.

Those of you in coastal Mississippi thinking about getting out: you might wanna work the northbound state roads off Hwy 49. We'd always take the back routes through the backwoods, rather than the big feeders. Hwy 15 to hwy 57 at Beaumont is a good call -- never much traffic, and you can keep going north through Richton until you find shelter (or cut over onto 49 well north of the crush). Highways 613 and 57 are infinitely preferable to the bigger feeders. Just don't get caught out.

Just checked I-10 here in Pensacola. Still quite moderate. Roll east towards Tally until you find accommodations. Important, though: we are having spot gas shortages in Pensacola and you may have trouble finding fuel, even in town. Plan ahead. Good luck.
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1045. icebear7
11:54 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Which might be why he is in Biloxi...if i am getting the drift?
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1044. SaymoBEEL
6:49 PM CDT on August 27, 2005
I'm no "expert" but it still looks like its headed somewhere between Gulfport and Biloxi. Having said that, If I were in NOLA, I'd leave. Some things aren't worth the gamble.
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1043. lowpressure
11:54 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
yes
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1042. EZMonster
11:54 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
FlPhil, linked worked nice, thanks!
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1041. leftyy420
11:47 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
well if ur near the coast u sghould expect danaging winds and a huge surge but it depends on how far u ar from the center.. u will be in the more damaging sine the ne quadrant and would see the worst conditions. also chances for tornados are high. i would say that since u are in a hurricane watch u should plan for a landfall. if ur communioty issues volountary eveacs u should leave. also now is the time if u haven't to plan for the owrst. prepare to be without of power for a lomg period of time. u need to protect ur property so u have no loose flying debri but u should def plan for the owrse and pray for the best
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
1040. mobal
11:51 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
No science here but Jim Cantore seems to always be on the W. side
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1039. SouthernLady
11:51 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Like I said earlier...I don't think Jim Cantore is stupid enough to try to ride out a severe hurricane in La.
My prayers for everyone..
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1037. icebear7
11:51 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Cantore is crazy, but possibly in an intellegent way :)
Member Since: August 20, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5
1036. jeff14photos
4:52 PM PDT on August 27, 2005
so lefty is this thing going to develop or what its been a cat 3 for a day now just wondering who is this catchaser guy not another stormtop i hope
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1035. wxgssr
11:48 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Hello from the Wx cave, LOL. House takes on an eery feel when its all boarded up. Off to Sat nite poker game over in Gulfport...will check back in later.
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1034. FLPhil
11:47 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
For those interested on the current forecasted windswath go here:Link
It was not updated last time I looked & now I can't get it to load. If anyone tries the link tell me if it works/shows up.
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1033. fortlauderdalegirl
11:48 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
BIGDADDY1978 -- Yes, I believe the beaches are open. A1A was open the next day -- people were driving over the sand :). I saw a news clip showing the sand being cleaned up later. Back to your newsanchor cousin on Ch. 10 -- you gave me a clue -- male. African-American or Caucasian?? I need another hint :).
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1032. BiloxiMike
11:48 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Jim Cantore is either an unbelievable hurricane forecaster or a human hurricane magnet. I started to get worried when I saw his bald head down on the beach.
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1031. EZMonster
11:48 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
I hadn't realized this about hurricanes, but it probably won't apply to our friend Katrina since she is Cat 3+

Diurnal Variations in the Landfall Times of Tropical Cyclones over the Eastern United States
Issn: 1520-0493 Journal: Monthly Weather Review Volume: 129 Issue: 10 Pages: 2627-2631
Authors: Konrad, Charles E.
Article ID:10.1175/1520-0493(2001)1292.0.CO;2

ABSTRACT

Best track tropical cyclone data are examined for the period 195096 to estimate the landfall times of all tropical storms and hurricanes over the coastal margins of the eastern United States. The analysis reveals a marked diurnal pattern with tropical cyclones making landfall more frequently during the evening and midmorning hours. Lulls in cyclone landfall are identified during the afternoon and early in the morning. Weak hurricanes display the strongest diurnal cycle of landfall. Category 3 and stronger hurricanes display little diurnal variation in landfall time. An examination of the diurnal pattern of cyclone passages within 300 km of the coast reveals that the pattern is most coherent and displays the greatest statistical significance at the coastline (i.e., points of cyclone landfall).
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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.