Katrina batters Miami, and is back to hurricane status

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:09 PM GMT on August 26, 2005

Katrina is a hurricane again, after spending just seven hours over land, and briefly (for a four hour stretch) weakening to a 70 mph tropical storm. The unexpected southwestward path taken by Katrina (but hinted at for a long time by the GFDL model) put Miami in the bullseye for Katrina's strongest winds and heaviest rains. The eye passed directly over the National Hurricane Center and the Miami radar site, and Doppler Radar estimates of rainfall amounts show over ten inches of rain in a narrow band extending over the Hurricane Center. Some modest wind and flooding damage was reported by the media, consistent with typical Category 1 hurricane conditions. Four deaths, three from falling trees have been reported so far. Overall, Miami is extremely lucky--had Katrina had an additional 12 - 24 hours over water, she may have some ashore as a Category 3 hurricane.

Katrina has those 12 - 24 hours now, and more. The Miami radar loop continues to a well-organized storm, with a plainly visible eye. Upper level outflow is improving and slowing expanding. Katrina is in an almost ideal environment for intensification--31 to 32C waters, light shear, and no dry air. Katrina will likely be a Category 3 hurricane by Saturday night, and possibly a Category 4.

Although Katrina is currently moving just south of due west, the computer track models unanimously agree that a trough moving across the central U.S. this weekend will "pick up" Katrina and force it on a northward path towards the Florida Panhandle. These model predictions are high-confidence predictions, as the upper air environment around the hurricane is well-characterized thanks to the NOAA jet dropsonde mission flown last night. The NOAA jet is scheduled to fly another mission tonight. While New Orleans centainly needs to keep a wary eye on Katrina, it seems that the Florida Panhandle has its usual hurricane magnet in place, and the same piece of coast punished by Ivan and Dennis is destined for another strike by a major hurricane.

What's behind Katrina?
A large area of disturbed weather north of Hispanolia has diminished since yesterday. This disturbance lies in an area of high wind shear of 20 - 25 knots, and is not a threat to develop into a tropical depression in the next few days. The tropical wave spinning 900 miles east of the Leeward Islands is still experiencing wind shear, but still has the potential to develop into a tropical depression this weekend.

Katrina blogs
For observations of what's happening now in Southwest Florida, we have several bloggers writing today:

labsr4me (Naples, SW Florida)

Zeenster (Cape Coral, SW Florida)

evolution (Charlotte Harbor, SW Florida)

Dr. Jeff Masters

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214. steelmagnolia44
3:35 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
I posted this on Dr. Jeff's blog early this morning. I am posting it again here. STORMTOP's info is important no matter what case he uses! If there is even a remote possibility of Katrina striking around the N.O./Pass Christian area, we NEED to know it. There will not be enought time to prepare and leave unless we start now. That is not panic. That is common sense!
**********************************************************
A word about STORMTOP'S posts.....

I think it is important to have everyone's point of view about this potentially dangerous storm. Those of you with the education and experience can evaluate all the fine points in the data and have a legitimate debate. Those of us depending on accurate info need to hear all the opinions - including STORMTOP'S.

I live in the Pass Christian area. I remember Camille. As the adjuster said - Camille left slabs, and steps where a home once stood. Relatives of a friend of mine were found dead in a their neighbor's driveway because they did not heed the warnings and leave. If any one of you is even thinking another Camille, I, for one, want to know! There is not much time. I am beginning my serious preparations TODAY.

Over the years, I have observed that storms do not follow the NHC center line track. They go to either side of it.

Thinking of our friends in Florida this morning.......


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213. bekroweather
3:36 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
If I remember well the earlier GFDL model run that was taking her as south as she now was also calling for an explosive increase in strength. This was actually one of the reasons that some of the people here were ignoring that GFDL but it seems to have been the most accurate prediction over the last 12-18 hours.
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212. leftyy420
3:37 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
well the center has been heading due west but the convection has been blowing up on the southside getting sheared and than pooping up again on the north side. i am still watching her and she will be a named storm but if she doesnot make a sig turn out to see anytime in the next 24-36 she will have a good chance to impact land. i feel that is unlikely and i am expecting to see a sig turn here soon
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211. STORMTOP
3:36 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
yes lefty the gulf is just so hot i wouldnt be surprised to see her go past what i have her at 180mph...
210. leftyy420
3:36 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
here this is the link to the nooa websitye and from there you can go to radar or the hurricane website and xcheck sat images

Link
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209. STORMTOP
3:32 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
whirlwind in this case i dont think it matters as far as strengthing is concerned..but it will sure be a race to beat the trough that has to move down from the rockies and is still stationary waiting for the high over us to move west...it might just be this high over the northern gulf coast is a lot stronger then the hurricane center is saying...we will see,
208. raindancer
3:35 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
Special Advisory Posted... I'll just add a snippet...

RECENT REPORTS FROM AN AIR FORCE RESERVE UNIT HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT NOW INDICATE MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 100 MPH...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. KATRINA IS NOW A CATEGORY TWO HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. SOME STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS...AND KATRINA COULD BECOME A CATEGORY THREE OR MAJOR HURRICANE ON SATURDAY.
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207. whirlwind
3:33 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
thanks lefty..got it


HEY..whatever happened to YOUR wave ;)
it keeps going north then south and wobbling all over...
any insight on that?
206. leftyy420
3:35 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
good link man thanks
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205. MandyFSU
3:29 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
Can someone please send me a site where I can watch her "grow?" Key West or Naples radar maybe?

The NHC has most certainly got their work cut out for them... especially if she gets bigger... more evacs- less time to get em done. I just wish I KNEW, ya know?
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 82 Comments: 2564
204. leftyy420
3:33 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
as time goes storm, i am seeing more and more like a cat 5 is possible. this is just crazy
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203. whirlwind
3:32 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
heres an interesting link




Link

its interactive...
202. leftyy420
3:32 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
well she will eventually slow down but the faster she goes the harder she will be to turn the further west she will go and she will cross more water in the long run thats it in a nutshell
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201. STORMTOP
3:31 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
she is strengthing rapidly she will have no problems becoming our fist cat 5 of the year...
200. automeris
3:06 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
to STORMTOP:

If you a) used all lower case instead of all caps; b) were not so defensive, and c) were not so adamant about your predictions--if they happen, people will see; you would be one of the most respected posters here.

Try to realize that no one can know what Katrina, or any hurricane, will do in advance, because it isn't deterministic. Everyone has guesses. A truly accurate portrayal of Katrina would be a list of behaviours with probabilities for each. Your scenario is not as outlandish as your manner makes it appear to some people. Other people's scenarios would be on that list, too, though.

I would have posted this in your blog if you had any recent entries, rather than cluttering up this blog with it. When I have a longish response, even if it relates directly to this discussion, I post it in my blog and just make mention of it here.
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199. whirlwind
3:30 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
Storm== wouldnt it benefit her more if she was slow moving? more time over warm waters than if she picked up speed? i dont get it...
198. leftyy420
3:29 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
she is now a cat2 hurricane. wow
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197. leftyy420
3:28 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
just so u know the winds are now atleast 100mph reported sustained winds form the recon
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196. leftyy420
3:23 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
sorry its directx and here is the link. also make sure u have the latest windows media player. if after all that it doesn't work let me know cause we need to probly fix couple things here is the link

Link
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195. STORMTOP
3:26 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
i sure hope not get real...this will be and all timer for the record books and definitely will be retired..
194. SEFL
3:27 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
Stormtop, what I want from you is exactly what you are doing now. Having a lower case conversation and not pontificating. Thank you.
193. Valence
3:26 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
oh, and BTW, check out the (only) two posts on my blog. Im curious to see if some of you disagree with the most recent post. Adios for now.

JV
192. STORMTOP
3:24 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
the trough is still stationary.....katrina is picking up forward speed...its just not looking good ..the nhc will shift the track west about 150 miles in the 5 pm advisory ..i dont see no change in the new track coming out at 11am unless they have some new info which i doubt...
191. Valence
3:24 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
Sorry guys...

Gotta jump out of here for a little while again. I'll be back though. And im sure it'll take me another half an hour just to catch up on posts that i missed!

Happy forecasting!

JV
190. GetReal
3:20 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
Could this be the huricanne that NOLA's 40 years of luck (since Betsey 1965) finally runs out???
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 9103
189. Lovethetropics
11:07 AM AST on August 26, 2005
Hey Lefty glad to see you. You are needed.
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188. leftyy420
3:22 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
no it should be a free program. i will try to find it for you give me a couple seconds
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187. STORMTOP
3:20 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
yes lefty i have her at 115 by the end of the day....explosive development saturday...
186. Valence
3:19 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
Lefty-

People should stop referring to the area when Katrina hit as S Florida. No one lives in the Everglades, and I can assure that the W coast of the state has gotten little damage so far. (And if she keep moving W, we're not going to get much). This was entirely and an event for SE FL, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Homestead, etc. And unfortunately, they got a lot more than they bargained for. Its a good thing she didn't have another day or two out at sea.

JV
185. TybeeIslandGA
3:19 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
Lefty...Was it DIVX that you said to download to watch the Web Cast? Is this "play bundle free download" what you are talking about? Thanks!!

http://www.divx.com/divx/play/download/
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184. leftyy420
3:20 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
yeah thats my feeling. she is bombing out right now. major pressure drops in only a few hours very impressive.


i was trying to explain the strength vs steering last night to some wishcasters if you will and explain that the stronger she appers to be the less east her track would be. what would spare mobile would for her to start to turn in the next 12 hrs or she might be headed right for that area
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183. STORMTOP
3:18 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
yes whirlwind i would say if she picked up to 12mph and the trough was still stationary then we are in big trouble...
182. leftyy420
3:19 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
the damage she caused over south florida is just amazing
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181. GetReal
3:16 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
The winds have in Katrina have not got up to the quicly falling pressure. strong cat 2 now for sure.
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 9103
180. leftyy420
3:18 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
lol i am watching it still now
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179. wpb05
3:15 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
food for thought........she is stronger than they had anticipated at this point.......I am wondering if the stronger and stronger she gets, the less likely she is to be influenced by lighter steering currents....when these storms deepend, they ten to go where THEY want to g
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178. STORMTOP
3:15 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
lefty i dont want to see a shift as close as mobile..this will be a huge storm ..i mean in diameter..a much bigger storm then dennis in size and we got close to hurricane force winds when dennis went on shore east of us...i just want the s component right now to go away...
177. leftyy420
3:16 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
the faster she goes the harder she will be to turn so her speed and trength will determine where she goes as well. major hurricanes tend to stay on a corse they are on with only a slight jog so most of the central and west gulf is under the gun. the nhc has to try to figure all this out in the next 12 hrs cause evacs will be needed real soon
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176. Valence
3:15 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
Good morning Lefty. Im glad you finally went to sleep last night. I stayed up until almost 6 watching your damn webcast!
175. whirlwind
3:15 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
Stormtop...would her being slow help or if she picked up speed to what u say to 12mph
174. wpb05
3:14 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
yes...she measn business........she is alot stronger when she re-emerged this morning than they ever expected
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173. leftyy420
3:15 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
i see her close tocat 3 stregnth by the end of today
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172. whitewabit
3:13 PM GMT on August 26, 2005

lefty look at the experimental radar site - just click on the site you want


http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ridge/index.shtml
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 387 Comments: 36916
171. STORMTOP
3:14 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
i agree lefty.
170. leftyy420
3:13 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
yes i see a westward shift but don't think it will be all the way tonew orleans but we have to watch that cause a cat 4 or stronger and all of a sudden stormtop is the man lol will just devestate that area period
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169. STORMTOP
3:11 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
valence at this point im hoping you are right..i just dont like the movement she is picking up in speed gradually from 4mph now to 7 mph..by 5pm i wouldnt be surprised to see her at 12mph the easterlies are quite strong down there pushing her...
168. wpb05
3:09 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
yes 971 was reported by recon
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167. leftyy420
3:09 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
i do believe the nhc is really beig conservitive with the intensity of this storm and has only at the 11 am update showed that a major hurricane will be affecting the gulf states. i must say while the track is still uncertain all the models have been shifting slightly westward. i doubt neworleans will see a direct impact but there is still about a 15 percent chance specillay since its 3 days out. my feeling is those poor people who got crushed by ivan and dennis will see another major huricane. she will be a storm to remeebr. mark my words. i am not going to say how strong she could get but a safe bet she will be a major hurricane of some sort
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166. OneDay
10:09 AM CDT on August 26, 2005
That rapid intensification predicted by a lot of people is really starting to show up...I hope (and I'm sure) the NHC will take this into consideration in future forecasts. In other words, I hope they don't maintain continuity in their forecasts just for continuity's sake.
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165. wxgssr
3:09 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
THE TIMING OF THE
EROSION OF THE RIDGE AND AN INDUCED NORTHWARD MOTION OF KATRINA IS
THE MAIN DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE MODELS...WHICH HAS RESULTED IN A
LARGE SPREAD AFTER 48 HOURS. THE NOGAPS AND GFDN MODELS HAVE MADE A
LARGE JUMP TO THE WEST OVER LOUISIANA...WHEREAS THE MAJORITY OF THE
NHC MODELS TAKE KATRINA INLAND OVER THE NORTHEAST GULF COAST. THE
OFFICIAL FORECAST TRACK REMAINS IN THE RIGHT PORTION OF THE MODEL
GUIDANCE ENVELOPE.

STRENGTHENING TO A MAJOR HURRICANE IS EXPECTED. IN FACT...A RECENT
DROPSONDE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT
INDICATES MAXIMUM WINDS ARE NOW UP TO 80 KT. SO...A SPECIAL
ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED SHORTLY TO UPDATE THE CURRENT AND FORECAST
INTENSITIES.

FORECASTER STEWART

They are starting to make the case for westward shift.
164. whirlwind
3:12 PM GMT on August 26, 2005
whhoops heres the link

Link

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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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