Isaac Taking the "Impossible" Path Towards the Central Gulf Coast

By: Levi32 , 4:05 PM GMT on August 26, 2012

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Isaac remains a tropical storm this morning, and though he has restrengthened some since yesterday, his proximity to Cuba has filled his large circulation with lots of dry air, and the inner core remains rather ragged on satellite and radar imagery. Due to Isaac's large size it will take a while to mix out all of this dry air, but once he does, significant strengthening may be possible over the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Radar is showing spiral bands with tropical storm force winds already moving into the Florida keys and the southern Florida peninsula. The forecast intensifies Isaac into a hurricane tonight, and a category 2 hurricane over the central Gulf of Mexico. Currently an upper-end Cat 2 is forecasted at landfall on the gulf coast, but if Isaac mixes out the dry air and establishes an inner core more quickly, he could easily strengthen more than forecast, and it is not out of the question that Isaac becomes a major hurricane before landfall.

The track forecast has been a wreck over the last few days, and everyone is having to shift westward with the models, which now take Isaac into Louisiana or Mississippi. This is the path I called highly improbable, but it looks like it may happen. Isaac has hit the "sweet spot" between the trough over the eastern seaboard and the ridge over the Rockies, a situation similar to what we had with Debby earlier this year, where my forecast also had to flip. When a storm is in this kind of a position, it is very hard to predict whether the storm will get recurved by the trough or brought westward by the ridge. This is the time when we are very glad to have computer models that can catch on to which path the storm will ultimately take at least 2-3 days in advance of landfall. The track forecast now calls for a landfall on the Mississippi coastline, very close to the 11am NHC track, though it should be noted that the cone of uncertainty fans out considerably near the gulf coast, and it is still possible that Isaac could deviate significantly to the right or the left, and everyone on the north gulf coast should be prepared for a hurricane hit. The NHC has expressed the abnormally high uncertainty with this track forecast as well.

We shall see what happens!



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13. dziban303
5:56 AM GMT on August 27, 2012
Another blown forecast, Levi.

Shame on you, son. Shame on you.
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 43
12. Hoff511
7:11 PM GMT on August 26, 2012
Thanks Levi!
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 265
11. RidingTheStormOut
6:09 PM GMT on August 26, 2012
Thanks Levi, always a pleasure, love your tidbits, even tho I'm a Upstate NY Yankee. Now if I could just get my Bro-in-law in Atmore, AL to take this a little more serious, I could rest easier. Perhaps I'll mail him your link. Keep up the good work my friend, and again, always a pleasure.
Member Since: October 2, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 55
10. zawxdsk
4:53 PM GMT on August 26, 2012
I guess it goes to show that you cannot discount outliers of reliable models. ECMWF runs yesterday morning are the consensus today - and then the ECMWF shift back more towards yesterday's forecast. Yikes.

So devil's advocate from yesterday. The 00Z ECMWF yesterday had this solution and 12Z went back towards the consensus. ECMWF is still an outlier and closer to yesterday's consensus while everyone has shifted west again. What is the ECMWF seeing differently from the GFS and the hi-res?
Member Since: August 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 198
9. airbusking
4:42 PM GMT on August 26, 2012
Well done, as always!

For what its worth .... Isaac's forward speed is a factor in where it hits the coast. Faster favors the Euro, if it slows then the GFS.
Member Since: June 28, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1
8. aislinnpaps
4:37 PM GMT on August 26, 2012
Thanks, Levi, always good to understand the hows and why's of these things. You you do it wonderfully. TWC should be showing your tidbits!
Member Since: August 22, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 3145
7. steelmagnolia44
4:34 PM GMT on August 26, 2012
Thank you, Levi. I was very interested to see what you would have to say about the NHC's new track. People in my area are in full prep mode now. Those I know in N.O. and Plaquemines Parish are leaving as soon as they can. I value your opinions about the storm and so do many others.
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 43
6. watercayman
4:29 PM GMT on August 26, 2012
Thank you Levi.
Member Since: September 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 82
5. mobilebayal
4:26 PM GMT on August 26, 2012
Thanks!
Member Since: August 17, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1098
4. jpsb
4:20 PM GMT on August 26, 2012
Quoting canehater1:
Thx Levi!
Thx Levi, I place a lot of faith in your forecasts.
Member Since: June 30, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1193
3. splash3392
4:17 PM GMT on August 26, 2012
Thanks Levi.
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 643
2. Bluestorm5
4:12 PM GMT on August 26, 2012
Thanks, Levi
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 8030
1. canehater1
4:10 PM GMT on August 26, 2012
Thx Levi!
Member Since: September 8, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 1078

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Levi Cowan has been tracking tropical systems since 2002, and is currently working on his bachelor's degree in physics at UAF.

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