Katrina--costliest hurricane ever?

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 11:49 AM GMT on August 27, 2005

The Hurricane Hunters measured a cental pressure of 941 mb at 7:07am EDT, up 2mb from the 940 mb pressure recorded at 5:32am. The maximum winds recorded at flight level (10,000 feet) were just 106 knots, which meaning that Katrina is still a Category 3 storm, even though the pressure implies she could be a Category 4. The reason for this is that a significant increase in the areal extent of the storm has occurred in the past six hours, so Katrina needs to spin up a much larger area of winds, which will take time. It is likely that by this afternoon, the winds will "catch up" to the pressure, and Katrina will go from being a small, weak Category 3 storm to a medium-sized strong Category 3 hurricane. Recon noted that the eye diameter has shrunk to 9 nm, which is about as small as the eye can get before an eyewall replacement cycle begins. If this is the case, Katrina will probably not attain Category 4 status until eyewall replacement cycle ends and a new round of intensification begins, which would likely not happen until Sunday. A few of the NHC intensification models from last night suggested the possibility that Katrina could reach Category 5, which is not unrealistic, given the warm waters and light wind shear over the storm. Katrina still has a way to go to reach Category 5; the convection and outflow are still looking restricted on the north side of the hurricane, and this area will have to "catch up" before we can talk about Category 4 or Category 5.

Figure 1. Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico at 4:20 PM GMT on August 27, 2005.

The favorable conditions for Katrina are expected to last up until landfall, when some increase in shear may occur. But as usual, intensification forecasts are highly unreliable, and we don't really know how strong Katrina will be at landfall. The track forecast is also problematic, until Katrina makes its northward turn. She is apparently beginning to do so now, as the track has been wobbling more westward that west-southwest the past few hours.

Emergency management officials in New Orleans are no doubt waiting to see where Katrina makes her turn before ordering evacuations. However, if I lived in the city, I would evacuate NOW! 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, so I would get out now and beat the rush. If an evacuation is ordered, not everyone who wants to get out may be able to do so.

Insurers estimate that Katrina already did about $1 to $4 billion in damage (total damage is roughly double insured damage). This is a shocking number for a Category 1 hurricane, and bodes ill for the residents of New Orleans and the U.S. insurance industry if Katrina makes a direct hit on New Orleans as a Category 4 storm, which would likely cost $100 billion. But, New Orleans' amazing run of luck could well continue at the expense of Mississippi or Alabama or Florida. Like Camille in 1969, Katrina may come ashore far enough east of New Orleans to largely spare it.

Dr. Jeff Masters

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317. novacancy
10:36 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
I'm truly amazed at the size of Katrina. Her outer bands and squalls have reached into western Florida. Here is a great satelite view during todays eyewall replacement.


This storm has grown in diameter significantly. This storm is going to be a big problem this week right up the eastern third of the country. Flooding is of big concern.
316. wcta
8:01 PM GMT on August 27, 2005

Living in Slidell LA...sent my family east just before noon on I-10. They are now east of Pensacola (driving to Cen FL)...traffic was busy but moving with no problems. I'm sure it won't last.
315. EZMonster
6:19 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Bad news re: the storm surge. The LOW tides for the north Gulf Coast in the next 72 hr are all positive (~0.2-0.3 ft) with the high tides at (2+ ft)
314. paperfrog
5:32 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
I live in Pensacola, where we've been hammered by two major hurricanes (and several tropical storms) in the past ten months.

With the memory of Ivan, in particular, still quite fresh, please allow me to urge those of you to our west to consider evacuating NOW. Get out of the way of others and spare yourselves the danger of being caught out on the highway.

As other have pointed out, the problem will be massive traffic on I-10 if New Orleans needs to take to their heels. I-10 really can't handle "routine" evacuation traffic from Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida -- much less some combination of those areas.

Right now, most people in Pensacola are staying in place. I bet there are still accommodations toward Tallahassee. Don't stop here -- just keep going east until you find something. Panama City, Tallahassee, Lake City, and Jacksonville are the big stops.

If I were in New Orleans, I'd run west. Everyone else goes east.

Good luck, y'all.

Member Since: May 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 37
313. Hairball
5:26 PM GMT on August 27, 2005

NOTE: There are many more hotels here than what I've listed. But the following hotels are ones I called in the past 15 minutes to check on availability for tonight and Sunday night. I live here in Galveston, and I haven't listed any hotels that I wouldn't stay at myself. I hope it's okay to list this here; I'm just trying to help. The national reservation numbers will have you on hold forever right now and internet access is probably hit-and-miss right now too. The following phone numbers are all local.

SATURDAY: Handful of rooms available ($154+)
SUNDAY: Plenty of rooms available ($134+)

**Sold out both nights**

SAN LUIS 409-744-1500
SATURDAY: Plenty ($189+)
SUNDAY: Plenty ($149+)

BEST VALUE INN & SUITES 409-740-9000
SATURDAY: 6 rooms left ($89+)
SUNDAY: Plenty ($49+)

HILTON 744-5000
SATURDAY: Handful left ($179+)
SUNDAY: Handful left ($159+)

THE VICTORIAN 409-740-3555
SATURDAY: **Sold Out**
SUNDAY: Plenty ($89+)

LA QUINTA (1402 SEAWALL) 409-763-1224
SATURDAY: 20 rooms left ($159+)
SUNDAY: Plenty ($89)

LA QUINTA (8710 SEAWALL) 409-740-9100
SATURDAY: Less than 20 ($129+)
SUNDAY: Plenty ($99+)

COMFORT INN 409-741-8888
SATURDAY: 15 rooms left ($129+)
SUNDAY: Plenty ($79+)

BEST WESTERN 409-740-1261
SATURDAY: Plenty ($99.95+)
SUNDAY: Plenty ($59.95+)

If anyone needs any more information, just ask and I'll try to get it for you. ALL of the hotels I called said they their phones had started ringing off the hook in the past hour or so from people fleeing the hurricane, so I don't know how much longer these rooms will be available.
312. novacancy
4:26 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Katrina is a large and frightening hurricane. This storm is not to be taken lightly. For you folks in her line of sight please keep tune of all local advisories and warnings.
The storm is in some of the warmest waters seen in a long time. The potential for the hurricane to grow is great. There is no external weather event that appears to be capable of weakening Katrina at this time. Therefore Katrina will maintain herself to be a powerful threat to the gulf region.
Time to wait this one out from up north and see where the chips will fall in the next 72 hours. Be safe and wise down south.
311. Hairball
4:26 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
To LADobeLady:

I really think you should leave now. We have lots of hotel rooms left in Galveston. Can't you take the River Road (isn't that the name of the scenic route that takes you east to I-10??) Take that to I-10 and come to Galveston. You can get off I-10 somewhere around Winnie, I think (look for sign), and that will bring you the back way into Galveston. It takes longer under normal conditions, but may in fact be shorter under current conditions. You'll have to take the ferry from Bolivar to Galveston. During Ivan we had LOTS of people here. My boyfriend and I met people from all over. I live RIGHT on the seawall here so I feel your anxiety, and if I were you I'd leave NOW. If I can help in any way (finding you a room or whatever), let me know.

~Hairball (female in Galveston)

I'll ev
310. Skyepony (Mod)
4:21 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
central florida local news had her at 115mph, To hit bullseye on NO monday 8am 145mph
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 397 Comments: 43355
309. Dragoon
4:21 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
concentric eyewalls too. Katrina will weaken until this cycle is complete.. but after that, possibly beginning later today and continuing into tonight.. the storm should begin to deepen once again.
308. icebear7
4:16 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
hey, i got a question thatmay be kinda pointless, but i'm going to ask it anyway.

Where LA is so far below sealevel anyway, and if this hurricane makes a direct hit, i'm thinking what they sait when it bounced off the bottom most part of FL, where it was so swampy, the weather people said it basically didn't slow katrina down much because it wasn't like hitting true dry land....so when (if) she runs into LA directly, there won't be much resistance because Katrina will be making her own little warm water bay out of NO and bring in the ocean with her and basically her own fuel supply.... is it likely that she won't lose much punch on landfall and therefore wreak even more havoc further inland than normally expected...notwithstanding the expected and previously estimated damage to NO that is writen up in the link StormJunkie has been providing......

did my question make enough sense?
Member Since: August 20, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5
307. Dragoon
4:16 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Pressure up 8 mb to 949.
306. whitewabit
4:13 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Dr Masters has a new thread up - worth reading
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 385 Comments: 36818
305. leftyy420
4:12 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
yeah i know stormj
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
304. icebear7
4:11 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Good afternoon StormJunkie ;)
Member Since: August 20, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5
303. StormJunkie
4:10 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
No webcasts from in NO yet I would like to here what the local stations are saying.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 17164
302. HillsboroughBay
4:05 PM GMT on August 27, 2005

Here is a site for EARLY data BEFORE NHC public site.

While it is in Corpus Christy The data is NHC.

It also has a live Noaa Radio link.

See column of links to the left.

I wish Tampa had a site link this! BayNews 9 is always at least an hour late.

301. leftyy420
4:02 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
check out this sat img. it is impressive. set speed to fast and enjoy

Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
300. StormJunkie
4:00 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Afternoon every one.


flooding map of NO
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 17164
299. wxgssr
3:58 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Katrina will start to move WNW and will increase forward speed this afternoon.
298. LAtigerchic
3:57 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
If she gets W of 90 degrees, then Lafayette, Opelousas, and Alexandria are in for it
297. leftyy420
3:56 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
i expect to see at the next advisory a pressure below 940 and a increas in winds, to around 130 to correlate with the pressure
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
296. ChrisPC24
3:55 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Has anyone else noticed how it looks like Andrew in reverse? Cat 1 in Miami, then Cat 4 in LA.
295. Joshfsu123
3:54 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
The TROF is strong and it is now in Texas, continuing to push Southeastward. However, it's not strong enough to push the system ENE unless Katrina stalls for 12 hours (Which won't happen) and stops moving West all together.

The model that shows landfall near Panama City is not a great model. However, it does show that if this system continues to move at only 6 mph for the next 24 hours, that path may mean something a little more. She is expected to start to increase her forward speed as the influence of the TROF begins to take effect.
Member Since: July 6, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 580
294. leftyy420
3:54 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
the trof is not going topush her at all. it is not that strong, it will weaken the ridge and start it to erode as it moves west. this will open up a weakness or a road if u will for the hurricane to move north and the riadge moving west will prevent her formmoving any more west at that point.

also recon reported pressure has risen to 949 mb. this is on track with a eye wall cycle of 5-10 mb weakening. the pressure will fall rapidly here for the next 12 hrs as in the vis u can now see the eye again meaning the cycle is almost complete
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
293. LAtigerchic
3:53 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
stormt or lefty....

what are chances of this thing going any further W than Morgan City, say Lafayette (Lili's landfall)?
292. Selu
3:51 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
hagshome. All major chains are booked. If you want to stay in a Holiday Inn, and you head out west, you won't find anything until you get to Houston.

Nothing at all is available in McComb. Nothing in Meridian. Nothing in Philadelphia. The closest vacancy I could find LAST NIGHT, prior to NO initiating evacuation, was in Oxford, MS and Greenwood, MS.

I'm not repeating rumors. I've been on the phone with the major chains.
Member Since: February 5, 2004 Posts: 7 Comments: 312
291. sporteguy03
3:50 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
How strong is the TROF rntering the Gulf could it push Katrina more ENE?
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5691
290. GetReal
3:50 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Until Katrina gets off this current west movement, the further west she goes,before turning NW, the more likely she will strike se LA. If she starts wnw coarse in next 4 hours, the quicker she will turn nw and north and threaten direct hit on MS.
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8974
289. leftyy420
3:50 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
bore the more west she goes all that does with the model data which most are still ontrack is limit the possibilty of a strike further east, hence why the cone has shrunk,plus they have a good concensus of the modles and within 72 hrs oflandfall so the error is realy small at this point, hence why hurrican watched have been issued
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
288. wrxpilot
3:49 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Even the Colorado mets are saying this is a very dangerous situation for NO:

I don't know why some of you people that are worried in NOLA are waiting for evac orders. Last year a lot of us called in sick or whatever to get ready ahead of Frances in Jeanne. I remember seeing the panic around here (north Palm Beach county) with all the people that waited too late. That was for Cat 2 and 3! Trust me, you do not want to be nailing up boards (if you can even find them!) as the first rain bands hit well before the storm. Good luck Gulf Coast, this looks bad.
287. Beachfoxx
3:49 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Lefty - thank U. Gotta secure things outside - just in case....
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 158 Comments: 29422
286. boiredfish
3:48 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
This storm has the NHC and the models befuddled. 36 hours ago they were calling for a turn to the wnw or nw during the next 24 hours. That did not materialize.

Now, more of the same, and I agree it should happen eventually. But, the storm is still moving pretty much due west, maybe slightly north of due west, and the further west it gets the further west they will eventually have to move the forecast track, no matter what the models show.

I expect to see watches/warnings up from Cameron eastward to the mouth of the Mississippi tomorrow, with a landfall Monday very near where Andrew made landfall in '92.

Or maybe not.....
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 442
285. leftyy420
3:48 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
tis not a very good model and not a mjor forcasting model. but it shows the potentail for her to turn mor suddenl;y and put others in danger
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
284. wxgssr
3:46 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Flynn's thanks for your concern...but I am comfortable with the plan that we put together. You don't know all the details.
283. Beachfoxx
3:46 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Can anyone tell me why the A98? line is so far east of the other spaghetti lines?? boatus.com
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 158 Comments: 29422
282. leftyy420
3:46 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
nice josh though i think ur underestimating the gulf loop temps and the perfect enviroemnt for the next 48 hrs until landfall. they said last night in the disscussion, when she turns north she will hit the gulf loop and right now that will be like high octane fuel for a hurricane. she is already 940mb so probly a cat 4 and any rapi stregthening would only mske her stronger here on out and nothing but her own eye wall cycles will weaken her and when they go thru these cycles thye are usually alot stronger after the cycle than befor
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
281. hagshome
3:46 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
I live just north of Interstate 10 in the Gulfport, MS area. If you get on the internet and try to find hotel/motel rooms it appears that they might be full, but if you are actually on the road, there will likely be rooms available. That was the case for the last two evacuations. Head for towns such as Laurel, those small towns west of Hattiesburg.
280. 53rdWeatherRECON
3:45 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
During this eyewall replacement cycle it will appear to start moving N or S. I would wait untill the cycle is complete. The convection is still bursting over the center of circulation pretty rapidly and soon a much bigger, stronger eye will appear. It will then shrink in on itself and perform another eyewall replacement cycle. The winds wrap up so tightly they start to cut into eachother, therfore blowing the eyewall open.
Member Since: August 5, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 80
279. leftyy420
3:43 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
thast why i say if ur in the cone do not test fate. just leave, yes it will be an inconveience but by time u realise how bad it is u will not be able toleave or get any help. if u have somewhere u can go doit. life is to preciuse to be ignorant on these things
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
278. Joshfsu123
3:42 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
BTW, I agree, if you think you are going to be in the path of this storm, you need to leave or go a little inland.

This system will be a strong Cat. 3 or 4 at landfall, moving quicker as it approaches the coastline. Thus, strong winds and rains will move far inland. This will NOT just be a coastal event.

If you think you will be especially on the right front side of the storm, then you need to think of leaving tonight or tomorrow. If it doesn't hit your area, thank the lucky stars.
Member Since: July 6, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 580
277. Beachfoxx
3:42 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Thanks you guys for all the info! Its a great help as we prepare for another poss. hit (on the bay N of Destin) - your blog is much more fun than the TWC More laughs & info!
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 158 Comments: 29422
276. Selu
3:41 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Lefty, I agree. This one is going to be much more destructive than Georges.

I believe it was greater than Cat1 when it hit Miami...already 1 billion dollars worth of damage! That's more than a Cat 1.

And I believe we are looking at a strong Cat 4, possibly a weak Cat 5, by Monday morning. With NOLA in the crosshairs.
Member Since: February 5, 2004 Posts: 7 Comments: 312
275. leftyy420
3:41 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
yeah josh. thats pretty much my feeling about the data as i see it to. i can commend u on a job looking at the data and making a educated forcast
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
274. leftyy420
3:39 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
yeah thats what i told my wife.normally u would see peopleall over the cone but they have stayed out of la cause they do not want to be close to the eye if thats where she is going
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
273. Selu
3:39 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
There is nowhere from the levee south that he COULD go. Yes, I think that's why he's in Mississippi. Plus, he can go to Treasure Bay on breaks and waste some quarters. :D
Member Since: February 5, 2004 Posts: 7 Comments: 312
272. Joshfsu123
3:39 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Thanks leftyy.... When a system like this recurves, it's hard to predict an exact landfall point. The reason is simple? Probably 6 to 12 hours before reaching the coast, this system "MAY" start to make the NNE to NE turn that a lot of models are projecting just before landfall. That could make a huge difference in the exact landfall point given the way the Gulf Coast is made.

That is why a zone between Eastern Louisiana (just east of New Orleans) to Pensacola, Florida would be my best bet. If these models move a little west or a little more east today, that may bring in Central Louisiana into play or even the Central Panhandle, let's say Panama City, back into play.

But I am going off of the data as I see it now and that is probably a Mississippi or Alabama landfall.
Member Since: July 6, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 580
271. IKE
3:38 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
I tend to agree with others that it will go in east of NO...how far east is debatable.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37995
270. nolamommy
3:38 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
has anyone considered that cantore is only in ms because it's not going to be safe enough in nola for him?
269. Selu
3:37 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
Yes, I remember it well. I was sitting on the bridge over I-59 when that came through. The only time in my life I thought I would die. I called my mom and said to her my final farewell. My car was literally bouncing side to side. I have never experienced anything like that. Hope I never do again.
Member Since: February 5, 2004 Posts: 7 Comments: 312
268. leftyy420
3:37 PM GMT on August 27, 2005
this will not be geroges. and damage is expenetionaly worse not just a litle but 10 to 20 times as you go up and the forcast is for a cat 4 and a strong one at that. that forcast is conservative in mymind and this is a storm that even i wouldn't ride out andi am crazy about chasing them. u need to leave. wake up and realise this is going to be like andrew and camille. this will be one other storms are messured against
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987

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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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