hcubed's WunderBlog

...and here we go...

By: hcubed, 12:00 PM GMT on May 31, 2011

The season starts tomorrow, and so far, everyone's calling for an active season (from 12-19 storms).

The us has been lucky - there've been no major hits in the past 3 years (IIRC).

That may change. There've been three invests so far, but no African waves till last week.

"...The Atlantic hurricane season officially begin on Wednesday, June 1, and recent computer model runs predict that we may have some early-season action in the Central Caribbean Sea to coincide with the start of this year's season.

The GFS, NOGAPS, and ECMWF models have all indicated in some of their recent runs that a tropical disturbance may form between Jamaica and Central America sometime in the May 31 - June 2 time frame, as a lobe of the Eastern Pacific Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) pushes across Central America into the Caribbean..."

So time to prepare, if you haven't already. Make a plan, check the supplies, watch the weather. We may have 2 weeks warning, we may see one form overnight.

Get ready, 'cause here it comes...

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Hurricanes and the Old River Control Structure

By: hcubed, 4:56 PM GMT on May 10, 2011

Recently, because of the Mississippi flooding, there has been a lot of attention paid to the control structures on the lower Mississippi River, in particular, the Bonnet Carre' Spillway (28 mi upstream from New Orleans), and the Morganza Spillway (35 mi upstream from Baton Rouge).

It's been speculated that if this "Old River Control System" ever failed, then the Mississippi River could change it's path, travelling down the Atchafalaya river basin, with catastrophic results.

But the river flooding might not be the only threat to the structure.

In 1973, massive flooding started to wash out the supports of the ORCS, and failure was imminent. The rains subsided, and the damage was repaired - so they say. The threat of failure is still there.

So I decided to look at the area (31.07N, 91.6W), and see if any hurricanes came within spittin' distance of the structure.

I used this site - NOAA Hurricane Tracks to see how close past hurricanes came to this structure.

Using a 10 mi radius, there were 8 storms that came close:

an H3 in 1875
an H2 in 1886
an H3 in 1909
an H1 in 1911
a TS in 1932
a TS in 1937
Brenda (TS) in 1955
Andrew (H5) in 1992

If you increse the radius to 20 mi, then there have been 12, including Betsy of 1965 (passed as a Cat1, 17 mi to the west).

Also in the time frame of the structure (past 1963), was Andrew of 1992. It passed about 4 mi to the east of the structure. While it did get to Cat5, it was only a TS/TD at the time it passed the structure.

The closest one was the TS of 1937, which came within a mile to the west of the current structure's location.

The WORST storm to go over the area was the unnamed storm of 1909. It was a Cat3 when it passed about 3 mi to the WEST of the current structure's location.

Any of these could be considered as direct hits.

Even if you filter out the TD/TS, that still left several hurricanes passing within 20 miles of the current structure's location.

So in my opinion, while a direct hit on New Orleans may be bad, a direct hit on the ORCS, taking it out, may be a bigger disaster to New Orleans (and the US) than Katrina's damage. And longer lasting.

Updated: 8:38 PM GMT on May 10, 2011

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Forecast for the season

By: hcubed, 12:13 PM GMT on May 10, 2011

With 22 days to the start of the "official" saeaon, and with 2 invests already, I'll put out a forecast of 18/11/6.

The real forecast is number of evacuations.

We haven't had to evacuate since 2008 (with Gustav). So we've been lucky in that regard.

I've got a feeling that, because of the "worst ever" flooding, the "worst ever" drought, the "worst ever" number of tornadoes, that this year might be a "worst ever" evac season.

The most times we've had to bug-out has been 2 (IIRC). So that's the real benchmark.

One we may beat this year.

I mean, if you go off the numbers alone, from 1900 to 1998, there were 63 major hurricanes striking the U.S., 5 during El Nino, 37 during neutral conditions, and 22 during La Nina.

This year is shaping up to be a neutral.

Updated: 12:21 PM GMT on May 10, 2011

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About hcubed

Living in Biloxi MS, have been here since '85 (first Hurricane was Elena).

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