Katrina stronger than Camille

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 10:52 PM GMT on August 28, 2005

The 6:30pm EDT NOAA Hurricane Hunter mission found a central pressure of 904 mb, up from the 902 measured at 3:30pm. These pressures make Katrina the fourth strongest hurricane ever, and the strongest hurricane ever observed in the Gulf of Mexico, surpassing Camille. However, the winds of Katrina are 165 mph, far from Camille's 190 mph winds at landfall.

Although the pressure has stopped falling, there is no indication that Katrina is about to undergo weakening, like we saw yesterday during her eyewall replacement cycle. When that cycle started, the eye diameter was 9 nm, but the present eye diameter is 28 nm. Eyewall replacement cycles usually begin when the eye shrinks below 10 nm, and there are no indications that Katrina's eye is going to shrink.

The list of strongest hurricanes of all time now reads:

Hurricane Gilbert (888 mb, 1988)

The Great Labor Day Hurricane (892 mb, 1935)

Hurricane Allen (899 mb, 1980)

Hurricane Katrina (902 mb, 2005)

Hurricane Camille (905 mb, 1969)

Landfall location and intensity
Katrina has continued to expand in size, and now rivals Hurricane Gilbert and Hurricane Allen as the largest hurricanes in size. When hurricanes reach such enormous sizes, they tend to create their own upper-air environment, making them highly resistant to external wind shear. The global computer models are not really hinting at any wind shear that might affect Katrina before landfall, and the only thing that might weaken her is an eyewall replacement cycle. Even if one of these happens in the next 12 hours, the weakest Katrina is likely to get before landfall is a Category 4 hurricane with 145 mph winds. Katrina is so huge and powerful that she will still do incredible damage even at this level. The track forecast has not changed significantly, and the area from New Orleans to the Mississippi-Louisiana border is going to get a catastrophic blow. I put the odds of New Orleans getting its levees breached and the city submerged at about 70%. This scenario, which has been discussed extensively in literature I have read, could result in a death toll in the thousands, since many people will be unable or unwilling to get out of the city. I recommend that if you are trapped in New Orleans tomorrow, that you wear a life jacket and a helmet if you have them. High rise buildings may offer good refuge, but Katrina has the potential to knock down a high-rise building. A 25 foot storm surge and 30 - 40 foot high battering waves on top of that may be able to bring down a steel-reinforced high rise building. I don't believe a high rise building taller than six stories has ever been brought down by a hurricane, so this may not happen Monday, either. We are definitely in unknown waters with Katrina.

I have focused on New Orleans in much of my discussions about this storm, but Katrina will do tens of billions in damage all along the coast of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. Mobile Bay could well see a 10-foot storm surge. And inland areas will take heavy damage as well; Katrina will still be a hurricane 180 miles inland, and cause widespread flooding throughout the Tennessee Valley.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you in Katrina's way, and I urge all readers of this blog to do the same.

Jeff Masters

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657. sSnack
2:18 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Quote

WHY KAT COULD STRENTHEN:
God hates New Orleans?
.


Yep. It's his revenge for all that Voodoo crap.
656. bcblazer3
2:18 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
good analysis valence
654. Dragoon
2:18 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Valence, yes I was watching that dry air and hoping.. but it seems like Katrina is just pushing it out of the way. Hopefully the shear will do something.

SOMETHING needs to happen very very soon.
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653. afs
2:07 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Squam... I'll be the happiest person on earth to be wrong about all this.

However, it's damn stupid for someone to risk their life that FEMA, the National Weather Service, the National Hurricane Center, Accu-weather and almost every university meteorology department in the country will all be wrong, and your rose-colored-glass-biased guesses are right.

This particular "worst-case-scenario" has been studied by the government and for the government by every meteorology department at every major university in the country for 40 years. It's the worst posible tropical storm possible hitting the most vulnerable spot on the US map. It's been on a final exam or two of just about every meteorology student in the country. Everyone saw this one coming, because it's been the nightmare of every meteorologist and climatologist for those 40 years.
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652. weatherboyfsu
2:15 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
I think Katrina will drop 5 or 10mph more and landfall will happen....I will be very surprised if we see any wind speeds of 150 plus.....charley intensified on its way in...there were some wind gusts around 143....andrew had some gusts....what....187 gust.....we will see in a little while....Im thinking that Katrina will make landfall around 4-5am........
Member Since: July 17, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1025
651. icebear7
2:16 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Quote boiredfish:
for all the talk of the 1900 storm, who's familiar with the story of the orphanage in Galveston during that storm?

or the train folks from Beaumont who sat it out in the lighthouse on Bolivar?



...about this, i am clueless..... education requested
Member Since: August 20, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5
650. joecool
9:12 PM CDT on August 28, 2005
Biloxi MS mayor just said on Fox News that he was just told that winds are down from 160 to 140. I have a hard time believing a 20MPH drop...
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649. K8tina
9:16 PM CDT on August 28, 2005
What are the odds that this storm could slow down and/or stall prior to landfall? What about the possibilities of turning NNE/NE before landfall? I went through both Ivan and Dennis and keep having flashbacks of those last minute eastward jogs that they did prior to landfall...
648. Valence
2:14 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
WHT KAT COULD WEAKEN:
Dry air from the NE and some shear from the NW.
Moving over shallower water, with lower total heat content.
Interaction with land prevents convection to build.

WHY KAT COULD STRENTHEN:
VERY low pressure - winds could catch up to stabilize.
Large eyewall, much room for contraction.
Entering the diurnal period, much better for convection.
God hates New Orleans?

If i've left anything off, please feel free to add.
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647. donnab
2:14 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
I live 27.8 miles from New Orleans on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain approximately 3 miles from Lake Pontchartrain.
Hopefully God is with us at this time.
We are expecting very heavy wind and rains, but hope to avoid the major storm surge, since the winds are pushing water toward the Southshore.
At this time there is light rain and no wind, but we are expecting conditions to deteriorate rapidly.
This is a historic meteorologic event in our city and the outcome may affect textbooks for years to come.
However, this City and it's residents takes offense at the portrayals on National TV that we are down here partying hard in preparation of the storm. That is not the case.
Mandatory curfews have been implemented and you will be arrested if you venture out. EVERYTHING is closed including the bars, so please don't believe everything you see.
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645. boiredfish
2:13 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
for all the talk of the 1900 storm, who's familiar with the story of the orphanage in Galveston during that storm?

or the train folks from Beaumont who sat it out in the lighthouse on Bolivar?

pseabury.....my parents sat out Carla two blocks off the seawall in a garage apt. Dad was working for the gas company and couldn't leave the island. He and another guy were blocking in lines to the Pleasure Pier/Balinese, etc. right up to landfall. Mom was 7 1/2 months pregnant with my twin brother and myself.

Guess that was my first storm.....lolol
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644. pseabury
2:14 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Yup, West Beach....Spanish Grant subdivision. I've fished the pass on many occasions. I have a hilarious story about a time at SLP that I won't share here in light of the situation, but maybe some other time.

Galveston and South Houston are in almost as much danger as Nola given a direct hit from a 4/5 hurricane.....lets hope we don't see that anytime soon.
Member Since: May 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3
643. FTmyersZ
2:11 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
the last three frames on the NHC IR floater are NNW. I think the N turn is not here yet...still waiting
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 60
642. Dragoon
2:13 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Yes. AFTER it has passed. That doesn't change the fact that New Orleans will be turned into a lake initially.
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641. weatherboyfsu
2:11 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Take a chill pill catchaser....or go chase a cat....lol.....there is nothing we can do for the people in New Orleans now, but pray for them....I can guarantee you this.....if this storm does what the NHC says its going to do...NO ONE IN NEW ORLEANS WILL ever sit around for the next.......
Member Since: July 17, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1025
640. Carbo04
2:13 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
I'm not sure what to think. Who thinks it will get stronger and why? Who thinks the oppisite, and why?
639. pseabury
2:09 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
boired - I hear ya, and was just trying to lighten things up for a minute. I'm not really all that interested in the whole "who's right, who's wrong, who called it the soonest" etc. The gulf Coast tends to tie people together in fish stories and good memories.

sailor05 - The Miss River is already in a very unnatural course brought about by the economic necessity to keep the port of NOLA and the central waterway through our nation open as a navicable waterway. I'm sure you already know that, but most outside of Louisiana might be surprised by that fact. Most of the volume of the river should now be coursing through the Atchafalaya basin SW of Baton Rouge.
Member Since: May 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3
638. Orleans77
2:11 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
for the record i say 80% destruction with at least 10,000 dead throughout LA, MS and AL...

since only 100,000 are left in NO and the great many of those are in hardened shelters like the Dome...hard to predict that one ..however think it will almost definetly be over 100...

also predict 1.5 million homeless of which 300,000 to 750,000 will be housed for months in massive refugee camp North of NO
637. icebear7
2:12 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
wouls hope your guess is right Squam
Member Since: August 20, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5
635. bcblazer3
2:11 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
i think it would rude, disrespectful and difficult to bet...but i would take that one squam
634. boiredfish
2:09 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
pseabury....was you're grandpa's beach house on the west end of the island? guess you've fished SLP some in the past, huh?
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633. AySz88
10:09 PM EDT on August 28, 2005
Fixed:

Some helpful links:

Projected Flooding from Katrina

WWLTV webcast (CBS affiliate; guest claims WWL is the only remaining news feed out of NO)

New Orleans Long-Range Radar Loop
Analyzed on Wunderground (for tornadoes, etc.)

GOES Ch.4 IR Loop (Updates every 30 min)
GOES-12 Interactive Map (Updates every 15ish min; set options then click hurricane in picture)

Lake Pontchartrain Water Level
Katrina Buoy Measurements

New Orleans Winds (click a site, then "Real-Time") (real-time winds at WWL-TV)
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 25
632. Orleans77
2:09 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
deal squam...

next recon will be either the same or slight decline...

i predict rapid intensification on early am recons right before landfall
629. cancaneguy
2:05 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Hi folks first post here. I do live in Canada but still might be affected by this in a few days.

Anyway, i've been wondering the significance of the Eyewall being open in the SW quadrant?

Also someone posted that its moving Due North now. I have notice that the last its generally still moving nnw I think the n movement was more or less a wobble. My 2 cents.

I'm praying for you folks
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628. sewmap
2:06 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
What;s the difference in Shortwave IR and the Dvorak IR?
627. pseabury
2:08 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
AySz88 - yes it would be very helpful for you to post that every once in awhile. Very good collection of data for people. Although I might ask what went wrong with the link formatting?
Member Since: May 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3
626. Orleans77
2:08 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
hurr hunter is in the eye now..we ought to know soon....
625. boiredfish
2:05 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
maybe pseabury.....lolol....in the Galv, surf, but not including East Bay, Trinity Bay, and Sabine Lake........lolol......and I've caught lots of big trout in the High Island surf, too.

Not to make light of the situation at hand, but fishing is a gulf coast subject as much as storms.
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624. sailor05
2:04 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
I think the devastation to NO has to be considered in the light of the potential for the Mississippi River to change its channel as a result of the storm. Surge. If the levees are breeched and not just over topped, the river is going to move.

Those who think Galveston recovered from the storm of 1900 should look at Houston; that were the rebuilding was. Galveston in 1900 was also a very small town compared to NO in 2005 may 1/100 the size.
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622. santarosa
2:05 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
No way, Taco. We don't want to see anything resembling east!
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621. thunder01
1:56 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Something has changed. There has been a slight erosion of convection on the west side of the storm. This may be occurring because of the dry air being pushed into the cyclone from the west. The hurricane has a less doughnut-like core at the moment than it did earler today, with a slightly more spiral appearance. However, in the last 2 frames of infrared and WV satellite pics, some convection is trying to build back in. So...that might actually have been Katrina's idea of an eyewall replacement cycle (not much, huh?) If that is the case...winds will strengthen even further before landfall, possibly back up to 180 mph sustained. If this development is due to a dry air intrusion, though, Katrina could weaken ever so slightly to a strong cat 4 (150-155 mph) at landfall. Either case would still be catastrophic, but the latter scenario would be almost inconceivable. Keep watching the sat pics...I'm very curious as to the current pressure tendencies...
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620. Orleans77
2:07 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
for once i can say thanks cat....it really is that simple..and i will be here tomorrow night no matter the outcome
619. crawdaddy031
9:58 PM EDT on August 28, 2005
href="http://www.wunderground.com/MAR/buoy/BURL1.html" target="_blank">Link.
burl link winds now at 70mph and pressure down to 991.
Man this thing is big
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618. JaxAdjuster
2:07 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
I thought that the recon reports came out every 2 hours once a storm was this close to land. Is this not true? If so, when will the next recon start? I thought it would be 10pm eastern.
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617. weatherboyfsu
2:02 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Who thinks this is a Joke Hillsborough bay?????......No one on thinks that KATRINA is a joke.....maybe some of the people on here kid around.....but sometimes thats ok.....I cut up on here....but i went through three hurricanes last year alone and have been to many more........A hurricane is as serious as it gets....and there are alot of people who will never forget tonight....hopefully they will be with us tomorrow........
Member Since: July 17, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1025
616. StormJunkie
2:06 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
I have to work Carb, but I will only take naps.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 17383
615. Orleans77
2:06 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
squam ill be here too either u can tell me i was right or i will admit i was wrong..fair enuff?
614. FLMaverick
2:04 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
CAT, the pumps in NO can only pump out water at the rate of 1 inch per hour. If there is 30 feet of water in the city, well, you can do the math. It will take a while.
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613. AySz88
10:01 PM EDT on August 28, 2005
Hey guys, I just wanted to maybe help some people out wiht this list of as much data as I can find. Would it be helpful for me to repost this once in a while?

Some helpful links:

Projected

Flooding from Katrina


a href="http://www.wwltv.com/perl/common/video/wmPlayer.pl?title=beloint_wwltv&props=livenoad"

target="_blank">WWLTV webcast (CBS affiliate; guest claims WWL is the only remaining news feed

out of NO)

New Orleans Long-Range

Radar Loop

a href="http://www.wunderground.com/radar/radblast.asp?

zoommode=pan&prevzoom=zoom&num=0&frame=0&delay=15&scale=1.000&noclutter=0&ID=LIX&type=N0R&showstorm

s=10&lat=29.95751953&lon=-90.07685852&label=New%20Orleans,%

20LA&map.x=400&map.y=240&scale=1.000¢erx=400¢ery=240&showlabels=1" target="_blank">Analyzed

on Wunderground (for tornadoes, etc.)

GOES Ch.4 IR

Loop
(Updates every 30 min)
GOES-12

Interactive Map
(Updates every 10ish min; set options then click hurricane in picture)

Lake Pontchartrain Water

Level

a href="http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/radial_search.php?lat1=27.2N&lon1=89.1W&dist=250&time=3"

target="_blank">Katrina Buoy Measurements

a href="http://ww2.instaweather.com/wrc/default.asp?cid=9&zip_code=New%20Orleans,Louisiana"

target="_blank">New Orleans Winds (click a site, then "Real-Time") (
href="http://ww2.instaweather.com/wrc/default.asp?cid=4&javaid=WWLTV" target="_blank">real-time

winds at WWL-TV
)
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 25
611. AK05
2:05 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
k thanx
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610. Dragoon
2:04 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
They've actually done simulations of a storm like this hitting before CatChaser. The pumps can't handle the influx of water that would occur from a combination of rainfall runoff and storm surge. They will be overwhelmed and shut down.. if this storm follows that "doomsday" path. Right now its looking like it wants to. There are definitely some melodramatic people here.. but the concern and relative doomsayings are well deserved.. simply because they aren't really that farfetched.
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609. PascMississippi
9:04 PM CDT on August 28, 2005
I am in Pascagoula. That is about 90 miles east of NO. It is pretty calm here. There are some rain showers, nothing too bad. The water is up a little. I came from the beach. The water starting to come on the Beach Blvd. We are going to move to higher ground in about an hour.
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608. Orleans77
2:05 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
im here till its over
607. StormJunkie
2:02 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
The board is really moving fast now. Hard to keep up. Along with the Radar and webcast.

50mph gusts at I 510 bridge. And still at least 6 hours from landfall.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 17383

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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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