Katrina: Category 5

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:24 PM GMT on August 28, 2005

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Katrina is in the midst of a truly historic rapid deepening phase--the pressure has dropped 34 mb in the 11 hours ending at 7am EDT, and now stands at 908 mb. Katrina is now the sixth strongest hurricane ever measured in the Atlantic. At the rate Katrina is deepening, she could easily be the third or fourth most intense hurricane ever, later today. The list of strongest hurricanes of all time includes:

Hurricane Gilbert (888 mb, 1988)

The Great Labor Day Hurricane (892 mb, 1935)

Hurricane Allen (899 mb, 1980)

Hurricane Camille (905 mb, 1969)

Hurricane Mitch (905 mb, 1998)

Hurricane Ivan (910 mb, 2004)

Katrina's winds and storm surge
Maximum sustained winds at flight level during the 7am Hurricane Hunter mission into Katrina were 153 knots, which translates to 160 mph at the surface, making Katrina a minimal Category 5 hurricane. The winds are likely to increase to "catch up" to the rapidly falling pressure, and could approach the all-time record of 190 mph set in Camille and Allen. Winds of this level will create maximum storm surge heights over 25 feet, and this storm surge will affect an area at least double the area wiped clean by Camille, which was roughly half the size of Katrina. Katrina has continued to expand in size, and is now a huge hurricane like Ivan. Damage will be very widespread and extreme if Katrina can maintain Category 5 strength at landfall.

Landfall projections
The computer models are very tightly clustered and have been so for almost a day. The data used to initialize the models is excellent, since all available hurricane hunter aircraft have been in the air continuously making measurements for several days. Katrina has already made her turn northward, which makes the task of landfall prediction for the models much easier. The offical NHC forecast of a landfall in SE Louisiana, on the western edge of New Orleans, is thus a high-confidence forecast. The spread in the landfall location is just 90 miles, meaning the eye of Katrina is very likely to hit somewhere between New Orleans and a point just east of the Mississippi-Louisiana border.

Intensity forecast
Katrina's intensity at landfall is likely to be Category 4, but could easily be Category 3 or 5. She will undergo another eyewall replacement cycle before landfall, and this will weaken her maximum winds by 20 - 30 mph for a 12-hour period. Additionally, some increase in shear is possible in the 12 hours prior to landfall, which could weaken Katrina's winds another 10 - 20 mph. If we are extrememly lucky, both factors will conspire to knock Katrina down to a Category 3 and she will hit at low tide. Given that the storm is so large and is already pushing up a huge storm surge wave in front of it, even a weakened Category 3 Katrina hitting at low tide will cause an incredible amount of damage. A stretch of coast 170 miles long will experience hurricane force winds, given the current radius of hurricane force winds around the storm. A direct hit on New Orleans in this best-case scenario may still be enough to flood the city, resulting in heavy loss of life and $30 billion or more in damage.

Dr. Jeff Masters

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1309. aquak9
10:11 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
lefty I don't know if you're saying I'm wrong or sefl's wrong, either way I STILL think this will impact the nat'l economy, maybe not per-barrel prices but definitely at-the-pump prices.
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1308. CaneJunkie
10:08 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
Lefty,

I think the Baton Rouge comments are a little unjustified. I was here for Andrew where we took a direct hit. The winds averaged 70-75mph. I think Andrew hit with 135-140mph winds. We'll be on the west side and 60 miles from the center of this one. Even with it being a Cat 5 I don't see the winds over 75mph.
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1307. Governor
10:02 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
Thanks, LEFTY. That note on FIRST POSTYED really helps/
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1306. SportingWood
10:02 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
I served 3 1/2 years in Iwakuni, Japan in the early 90's during my Marine Corps days. I've ridden out typhoons of varying strength in the poured concrete barracks on base in Iwakuni, as well as in Okinawa.

Trust me when I say that a 120mph storm is not a joke. I've been in such a direct hit and I can't even IMAGINE 175mph, PLUS all of the water. Japan is built for hurricanes... NOLA is not.

If Lefty is right, and this blows back up to where it was, or even stronger, this will be the most significant loss of life we have ever seen outside of armed conflict. Even a stiff Cat 5 will probably kill 1000+ just because of the water and unique situation in NOLA.

As a weather enthusiast, I can't help but admire the beauty and utter power of this storm. This, however, is tempered by the severe loss of life that I envision over the next 24-48 hours. If the worst case pans out, 24-48 hours would likely just be the beginning of suffering. Remember this day, folks. I'm recording Fox News for the next 24+ hours so that I can remember. When we look back at the weather, the effect on humanity can sometimes be downplayed. I hope I'm wrong, but I think we'll have one of those "where were you when..." moments to look back on for the rest of our lives. Put politics, economics and any other contentious issue aside and soak in the utter reality of impending death on a massive scale. It's truly sobering.

-Wood
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1305. pseabury
10:09 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
SEFL - I have to disagree with you on the disruption to the Port and shipping. It will be very widely felt. You can't send ships to ports that already operate at full capacity. At least not without impact. Keep in mind that I refer to the "Port of Nola" as more than just shipping as well. There are many oil/gas facilities/terminals/pipelines that will be severely affected.
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1304. 147257
10:08 PM GMT op 28 Augustus, 2005
I feel sorry for new orleans
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1303. IKE
10:08 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
Maybe Joe called it after the models shifted west, but I was listening on the local radio station Friday morning. He said...and I'm quoting..."a direct hit between Pensacola and Cape San Blas". I'm glad it didn't materialize for my sake, but he's bullshooting on Fox News saying he called it all along. Thanks Joe...my opinion of what you think just went down about 99% for lying.
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1302. POTMROTS
10:09 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
Question:

Can anyone give me an idea of Katrina's top wind gusts currently.

Thank You
1301. leftyy420
10:09 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
ur wrong. 25 percent of the usa oil is produced in the gulf. 2/3rds of the oild rigs may not make it thru the storm. there are pipelines that will not make it thru the storm. the refineries will be damaged and production will be unable to meet demand. its a scary situation. the mayer of no said expect to pay no less than 4.50 for gas in no gets a direct hit
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1300. Orleans77
10:08 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
At this point no matter if you are in Houma, New Orleans, Grand Isle, Buras, Gulfport, Biloxi, Pascagoula and Hattiesburg. -- This WILL be CATASTROPHIC...and liek Lefty said the Inlad Areas, which are not really prepared will be hit hard too
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1299. bluefish
10:04 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
New from Baton Rouge here, been reading all weekend. It's been amazing on the WV loop how this thing has been expanding and gulping up the Gulf and is now going to dump that all over the US, probably until Friday. LA/MS is just the beginning of a LOT of damage. I'm all hunkered down with supplies, hoping we'll be spared winds that are too horrible.
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1298. HurryCane
5:07 PM CDT on August 28, 2005
Bastardi just said he believes it will come in just a bit east of New Orleans. Yes, Stormtop did nail it all along. I am glad he did. I am in Gulfport and made my preps before anyone else. I am set for a rough 24 hours.
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1297. leftyy420
10:08 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
it loos like baton rouge will see the eye of the storm and will be in the eye wall for some time. all people in baton rouge be prepared for one of the worst nights u will ever experiance
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1296. SEFL
6:02 PM EDT on August 28, 2005
The price of a barrel of oil may go up $2-3 tomorrow because of this storm. But that is simply traders reacting to the oresent situation. This is affecting a very small part of worldwide production. Gasoline prices will be no where near $4-5 a gallon. And shipping on the Mississippi River while it will be affected will not be catastrophic. Ships that would have gone to N.O. will go elsewhere. Just temporary disruptions.

This will be a distructive event for N.O. and the Gulf Coast. It will not have lasting national or international effect.
1295. TipOfIsland
10:03 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
Is Sheraqueenofthebeach the monitor on here? Just curious.
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1294. Orleans77
10:06 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
NHC now saying landfall Grand Isle to 5 E of NO..
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1293. StormJunkie
10:07 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
DIERNAL PERIOD. She will strengthen but I don't think that makes much of a difference now.
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1292. EvilKarkyBR
5:03 PM CDT on August 28, 2005
Long time avid reader first time poster.

Writing from Baton Rouge after finishing getting every thing readied. How all here is in BR tonight?
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1291. leftyy420
10:06 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
if any of you are in a hurricane warning i hope u have made all ur preperations. time is almost up
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1290. StormJunkie
10:06 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
Joe did call it I think, but then when the models came in to consensus on Panhandle he went with them. StormTop called the whole time.
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1289. Orleans77
10:05 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
u see the ships model? its calling for a 180MPH Landfall!!
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1288. 147257
10:05 PM GMT op 28 Augustus, 2005
i dont wanna know what happened tomorow is it likely btw the hurricane will strengten again?
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1287. IKE
10:00 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
Joe Bastardi on Fox News saying he called it as of Friday...landfall in SE LA and Mississippi. NO HE DIDN'T! He is the meteorologist for Florida Network News and on Friday he was saying a direct hit here in the panhandle of Florida. Sorry Joe...you're either an idiot for saying what you just said on Fox News and a total BS-er.
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1286. Orleans77
10:04 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
very good pint lefty
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1285. aquak9
10:03 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
how am I supposed to know who's on?

sheraque...what are your feelings...
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1284. 147257
10:03 PM GMT op 28 Augustus, 2005
damn TS winds are starting now and damn 215 miles of the eye is exeriencing TS winds :S suc6 people out there
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1283. leftyy420
10:03 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
so many people will lose there lives tonight cause they think they are safe. i am so sorry the news has focused on the coast and no and not on the inland areas
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1282. houstongator
10:00 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
Wind Speed at the I 510 bridge
http://waterdata.usgs.gov/la/nwis/uv?dd_cd=02&format=gif&period=7&site_no=073802338
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1281. StormJunkie
10:02 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
Those are the tornado bands coming in to NO now. There are still blocks of people to get in to the Dome.
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1280. aquak9
10:01 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
What were they thinking???

"thinning the herds"???

WHY did they wait till TOO LATE??
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1279. Sheraqueenofthebeach
10:00 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
aquak....lurking....
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1278. leftyy420
9:58 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
and so you know here is the weather forcast for no who we all know will see the eye wall and 175 mph. it does not state anything about this. thats the thing. u people need to understand that iuf u are in a warning u r goin to see sugnificant damage baton rouge is in a hurricane warning. i wonder why hmmm, maybe there is a cat 5 comming

TODAY...PARTLY CLOUDY. SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS IN THE MORNING...
THEN NUMEROUS THUNDERSTORMS IN THE AFTERNOON. HIGHS IN THE LOWER
90S. NORTHEAST WINDS 10 TO 20 MPH INCREASING TO 20 TO 25 MPH IN
THE AFTERNOON. CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS 60 PERCENT.
.TONIGHT...WIDESPREAD SHOWERS AND ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS.
HURRICANE FORCE WINDS. SOME THUNDERSTORMS MAY PRODUCE HEAVY
RAINFALL. LOWS IN THE LOWER 80S. NORTHEAST WINDS 20 TO 45 MPH
WITH GUSTS TO AROUND 60 MPH INCREASING TO 35 TO 75 MPH WITH GUSTS
TO AROUND 105 MPH AFTER MIDNIGHT. CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND
THUNDERSTORMS 90 PERCENT.
.MONDAY...WIDESPREAD SHOWERS AND SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS.
HURRICANE FORCE WINDS. SOME THUNDERSTORMS MAY PRODUCE DAMAGING
WINDS AND HEAVY RAINFALL. LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL POSSIBLE. HIGHS
IN THE UPPER 80S. NORTHEAST WINDS 60 TO 90 MPH WITH GUSTS TO
AROUND 125 MPH BECOMING NORTHWEST AND DECREASING TO WITH GUSTS TO
AROUND 115 MPH IN THE AFTERNOON. CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND
THUNDERSTORMS 90 PERCENT.
.MONDAY NIGHT...DECREASING CLOUDS. SCATTERED SHOWERS AND ISOLATED
THUNDERSTORMS. STRONG WINDS. SOME THUNDERSTORMS MAY PRODUCE HEAVY
RAINFALL. LOWS IN THE UPPER 70S. WEST WINDS 25 TO 55 MPH WITH
GUSTS TO AROUND 75 MPH BECOMING SOUTHWEST 20 TO 30 MPH AFTER
MIDNIGHT. CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS 50 PERCENT.
.TUESDAY...PARTLY CLOUDY WITH ISOLATED SHOWERS. HIGHS IN THE
LOWER 90S. WEST WINDS 15 TO 25 MPH DECREASING TO 10 TO 15 MPH IN
THE AFTERNOON. CHANCE OF SHOWERS 20 PERCENT.
.TUESDAY NIGHT...PARTLY CLOUDY IN THE EVENING THEN CLEARING.
ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS. LOWS IN THE UPPER 70S. CHANCE OF
THUNDERSTORMS 20 PERCENT.
.WEDNESDAY...PARTLY CLOUDY WITH A 20 PERCENT CHANCE OF
THUNDERSTORMS. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 90S.
.WEDNESDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS IN THE MID 70S.
.THURSDAY...PARTLY CLOUDY WITH A 20 PERCENT CHANCE OF
THUNDERSTORMS. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 90S.
.THURSDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS IN THE MID 70S.
.FRIDAY...INCREASING CLOUDS. A 20 PERCENT CHANCE OF
THUNDERSTORMS. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 90S.
.FRIDAY NIGHT...PARTLY CLOUDY. LOWS IN THE MID 70S.
.SATURDAY...PARTLY CLOUDY WITH ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS. HIGHS IN
THE LOWER 90S. CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS 20 PERCENT.

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1277. Joshfsu123
9:59 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
I filled up today. On Friday the stock market thought it would go towards my area and thus, they kept the prices low. Now it's going to hit some of the oil rigs and thus, on Monday and Tuesday, the price for oil will go up a lot.

This should influence an increase in gas prices by at least a 1/2 dollar to a dollar or more.

I was taking no chances and filled up today.
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1276. aquak9
9:57 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
people just dont realize (even in my area) this is gonna impact the economy terribly....many people think "oh, slow news day, media's gonna concentrate on the weather, haha" $70 buck a barrel? Try eighty.
Nothing in the area will be recognizable by tuesday.
I hate the helplessness.
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1275. StormJunkie
9:59 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
I heard Bob Brinker demanding that Bush release from the reserve today so that the price does not skyrocket.

Not to get in to politics, but I am glad that we did not break in to the reserve because we were tired of high prices.
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1274. TampaSteve
5:37 PM EDT on August 28, 2005
New Orleans radar loop: http://radar.weather.gov/radar/loop/DS.p20-r/si.klix.shtml

You can see the eye already.
1273. CosmicEvents
9:50 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
geauxtigers......IMO you're probably in a much better place than New Orleans.....but I think you should be prepared for the worse.....and be thankful if the best happens. The best for you as I see it is 70-90 MPH winds with gusts to 100+...all from the north. The worst would be 110-130 MPH winds...from the south then east then west. My prayers are with you and I hope that you are in a strong home, or at least have a safe room in your home. Go out now and add to the ice and water that you have.
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1272. Hurricaneryan
9:56 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
Has anyone heard anything about the Oil Rigs??? and the rumors that gas could be 4-5 dollars a gallon in some places of the country by Wednesday???
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1271. StormJunkie
9:55 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
14 + hrs of tropical storm force winds. Ya'll need to listen to lefty if you are inland. Baton Rouge will see gusts to 135 easy.
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1270. Joshfsu123
9:52 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
HurricaneSurvivor: Welcome to Tallahassee! Make yourself at home. We do not claim Jeb as our own though. =0)

Tallahassee's weather is this:

70% chance of rain with winds between 20/30mph with higher gusts in rain bands.

I'm one of the crazy ones that if I didn't live at home and have work tomorrow and school, I would have gone to Pensacola to experience more of the storm.

I hope they let all those people into the SuperDome soon because they weather will start to get real bad soon.
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1269. pseabury
9:53 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
CajunKid - As I said earlier....the delta will be unrecognizable on Tuesday. What this means is that the passes (SW pass et al) will not exist like they do today. There will be hundreds of cargo ships, tankers, etc in the coming days and weeks that will have no place to go.

Putting aside the problem of not having a navicable channel anymore, what port are they going to go to? The Port of New Orleans? Yeah right.

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1268. StormJunkie
9:53 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
The mayor is also counting on using the pumps to get the water out in that time frame. Those pumps will not run again. He is being very optimistic.
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1267. leftyy420
9:53 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
lol.this si not from me.its from the nhc.i hope ur prepared and when it gets bad i hope u have a safe room. use the bathroom and get in the tub. u need to get the matress off your bed and cover urself with it. no matter what happens u need to stay under that matress. you might lose your roof but do not get up stay as low as you can. i am sorry for the night u will have ahead of you. god bless your sould and i will pray for u
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1266. aquak9
9:52 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
sorry jed.I don't know how to tell who's on except by posts..didn't see any from you...so sorry..only w/respect for you and what you have to post...how can you tell who's on?
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1265. IKE
9:53 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
I'm watching/listening to Sheppard Smith on FoxNews. You have a link to watch it?
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1264. pseabury
9:51 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
IKE. - The owners of those establishments should be ashamed of themselves and are causing a real danger in order to sell a few more beers. I'm ashamed that those people are from MY city.

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1263. cajunkid
4:38 PM CDT on August 28, 2005
do you all realise that river traffic into the heart of the country will be crippled THIS IS BIG FOR THE WHOLE USA
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1262. aquak9
9:50 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
ike do you have a link to the bourbon st activity? aren't the evac's mandatory? is it legal to still be boozing people up? (it's the end of thier world as they know it)
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1261. PascMississippi
4:50 PM CDT on August 28, 2005
How often are the coordinates updated to the public? Can I keep refreshing this image to get updates?Link
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1260. geauxtigers
9:49 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
i understand the severity lefty. but pardon me if i'm more inclined to believe the tons of trained meterologists we have in our local area, including those at LSU, over you. thanks for the prayers, they are appreciated.
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1259. Jedkins
9:48 PM GMT on August 28, 2005
I am on lol what are you talkin about aquak.
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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.

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