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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506. CaneJunkie
1:41 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
I don't think they ever stop flying in. They just go higher and pray harder. God bless those guys.
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505. Orleans77
1:40 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Edge....ask Lefty ..a bunch of us..not jus me..were thinking of a cat 4 for NO ...certainly we werent talkin bout a cat 5...but at least a cat4 was the genral consensus here fri night
504. Carbo04
1:40 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Ok, someone update me. Anything new? I was taking my online computer networking class test. I'm back now though, and ready to focus 100% on Katrina.

Marry me Stephanie Abrams if you're reading this. =)
503. hagshome
1:34 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Of concern to me:
1. The barrier islands have had significant damage over the last few years. These islands protect the MS coast and keep the waters rich with shrimp/oysters and other sealife. SHip Island already has been cut into by Camille (this area is called "Camille Cut").

2. The industry here is linked to the casinos. They will be obliterated. Just no doubt on this. My husband and I own our own business and will be without income for weeks. Makes the old saying 'saving for a rainy day' appropriate.

3. Loads of mobile homes out here. 'Nuf said there.
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502. sewmap
1:37 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Catchaser - If you are so worried about them being frauds, seems to me that you should be looking somewhere besides this blog.

Funny though, most things they've said have been right on. I don't think anyone is excited about the possibility of tens of thousands of lives possibly ending:(
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501. StormJunkie
1:40 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Every one on this board new this would be the outcome around Fri afternoon.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 17164
500. pseabury
1:40 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Just looked like she could barely hold it together as far as emotion. The lady in the red suit.

Member Since: May 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3
499. notwithoutmyprosac
1:38 AM GMT on August 29, 2005

I wish Jim would get his fine self to safer ground! Remember when he used to have hair!

Does anyone know what the traffic situation is like. I am so worried about those people who may be stuck on the road because the waited way to long to call for evac.
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498. Orleans77
1:38 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
anyone else seeing this thing still sliding west..at this rate its gonna hit a few miles west of NO...even worse scenario
497. StormJunkie
1:38 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Do they ever stop flying in? Wind speed and all. Have you all read the story about the almost deadly flight in to Hugo? It is on Wunderground home page.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 17164
495. Gatorbait05
1:39 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
What she do?
494. TheEdge
9:36 PM EDT on August 28, 2005
O77....I can't believe you just said you knew this was going to be the out come 48 hours ago....I think you might need some rest.....
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493. Dragoon
1:37 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
CatChaser yes to an extent there is a part of all of us who have a passion for the weather to see a storm grow and become stronger than any we've ever seen before. That's natural. But human life certainly comes first in my book, and I am rooting as hard as anyone for this storm to weaken even further.
492. Orleans77
1:37 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
dont matter now...NO is toast...
491. Canenut
1:37 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
GFDL to 892mb? I musta missed that!
490. aquak9
9:32 PM EDT on August 28, 2005
yes we are all amatuers (except for me, I haven't got a clue, but I'm a real good listener and learner), and I told co-workers (here in jax)that the NO city managers needed to start evac'ing NO...told my boss DO NOT send the kids to pensacola for the weekend, no stay off of I-10...I got laughed at...they think I'm crazy for watching this stuff...but the helpless-hopelessness is gut-wrenching...lefty, stormtop, lots more have been on top of this for a week or more...We will see, we will see
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489. pseabury
1:37 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Lady on FOX almost jsut lost it while on the air....she was choking up to say the least.
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488. Jedkins
1:37 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
If this wasn't making landfall it would be interesting to see it hit 200 mph sustained winds.
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487. wpb05
1:37 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
here goes the next recon flight...just entering now
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486. ultrarunner
1:33 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Unlabled, about your zoo animal question, I wondered the same and found online this odd procedural Audubon Zoo document that is 10 years old but includes some basic animal contingencies including some lists of priorities for species to be evacuated, others to be prepped for riding out at Cat 3 to 5 storm. It's some quirky insider reading, they probably don't know it's on the Web:
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485. Orleans77
1:36 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
its gettin better organized..and still sliding west
484. HurricaneSurvivor
1:36 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Navarreguy, please keep us updated. ")
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481. Orleans77
1:36 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
yeah i heard that earlier..smart thinkin
480. AySz88
9:34 PM EDT on August 28, 2005
New Orleans Winds

WWLTV webcast
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24
479. Unlabled
1:34 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Eye is deifinately shrinking

if this is supposed to make landfall in 5 hours should we expect this hurricane to power up or reduce in power before landfall?
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478. HurricaneSurvivor
1:31 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
There was just a story about the dolphins being evacuated to a hotel swimming pool! Now that's thinking outside the tank!
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477. StormJunkie
1:30 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
The red are already start to fillin again and the sun has only been dow a few hours.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 17164
476. weatherboyfsu
1:34 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Sorry thats old....
Member Since: July 17, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1025
475. pseabury
1:32 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
I don't see much strengthening on that loop, but wait until the next band propagates from the eye and catches the radar.
Member Since: May 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3
474. Orleans77
1:34 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
we knew..and the official forecast from NHC was cat 4 for NO..that was enough...
473. weatherboyfsu
1:34 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Site Map News Organization Search
Current Weather Conditions:
New Orleans, New Orleans Lakefront Airport, LA, United States
(KNEW) 30-02-58N 090-01-44W 3M


Conditions at Aug 28, 2005 - 02:53 PM EDTAug 28, 2005 - 01:53 PM CDTAug 28, 2005 - 12:53 PM MDTAug 28, 2005 - 11:53 AM PDTAug 28, 2005 - 10:53 AM ADTAug 28, 2005 - 09:53 AM HDT
2005.08.28 1853 UTC
Wind from the ENE (060 degrees) at 24 MPH (21 KT) gusting to 32 MPH (28 KT)
Visibility 10 mile(s)
Sky conditions mostly cloudy
Weather Lightning observed
Temperature 90.0 F (32.2 C)
Heat index 99.1 F (37.3 C)
Dew Point 73.9 F (23.3 C)
Relative Humidity 59%
Pressure (altimeter) 29.66 in. Hg (1004 hPa)
ob KNEW 281853Z 06021G28KT 10SM
Member Since: July 17, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1025
471. hagshome
1:06 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
BlxMS, are you staying in Biloxi for the storm? I am in Saucier, the Robinwood community. Looks as if a few neighbors are staying also but the maj have left.

If I had known the mb would get below Camille's and the wind speed would get to 175 mph I would have left also.

It's just me, my husband and our 11 year old son, and truthfully, I'm a little edgy. How about you? I think the CB's and Keesler guys will help us out if we are stuck up here. My main concern is losing safety via tornedoes. I live in a brick home so maybe this won't happen.

Take care, BlxMS, and I hope to blog with you on the other side of this thing with fantastic stories but SAFE nonetheless!
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1:23 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Moderate to heavy rain falling in Navarre, FL at this time. You guys can keep up the expert info. I'll try to post the conditions on the edge as I can. Hopefully the edge. I would like an answere to my last question. Lefty-- What do you think=== 45 miles south of jackson, ms,,, should they move to a safer location???
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469. Orleans77
1:33 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
squam..jus ignore cat...dont feed the mosnter
468. boiredfish
1:33 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
The eye appears to be tightening up.......
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 442
467. nwflchica
1:30 AM GMT on August 29, 2005

I totally agree! So what if I almost hope for hurricanes just so I can get a peek at Jim. Okay so my crush hasn't totally faded, so what.
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466. Orleans77
1:32 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
granted it wasnt a cat 5 fri nite..but we all knew it was going to move into warmer waters...and were predicting a cat 4 on NO 48 hrs ago...and by sat am the NHC was picking this up too!!
464. Orleans77
1:30 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
look we were all complaining of why there were not evacing on friday night....we realized the risk a full 48 hrs ago..and were amateurs...waiting until today was criminal
463. Unlabled
1:27 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
where can i find the true wind speed in new orleans right now? Is that resource availiable?
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462. pcolaLab
1:28 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Orleans77 - it's also important to remember that there have been a lot of storms that have been predicted to hit NOLA, and they've almost all gone east at the last minute. I'm thinking that a lot of the reason that the evac orders were so delayed and then residents didn't take it seriously is that there have been a lot of false alarms for NOLA. They're all in my prayers.
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461. Orleans77
1:28 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Damn Cane..i didnt factor that in either...damn..damn...damn
459. aquak9
9:27 PM EDT on August 28, 2005
orleans77 hit the nail on the head...this shoulda been started 24 hours sooner...there but for the Grace of God this could be any one of our cities..
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458. hookedontropics
1:27 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
Looks to be strenghtening. ]Link
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457. weatherboyfsu
1:25 AM GMT on August 29, 2005
I tend to agree that it could strengthen a tad bit before landfall.....the cloudtops have warmed slightly all day.....but it those reds start back then look out....but i really think that the 11PM update the winds will be down to at least 155 or 150mph.....maybe at 2am back up 5mph
Member Since: July 17, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1025

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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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