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Hurricane Katrina--Looking Back to Look Ahead

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 2:40 PM GMT on January 23, 2008

I'm in New Orleans this week for the 88th annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society, the world's largest gathering of meteorologists. This year's meeting has a special focus on Hurricane Katrina. Yesterday's session: "Hurricane Katrina--Looking Back to Look Ahead" sought to review what happened during Katrina with an aim to improve our ability to prepare for the inevitable next "Big One". The keynote speaker was former National Hurricane Center director Max Mayfield. He took the audience back through those painful days in late August 2005 as Katrina exploded into one of the most intense hurricanes ever recorded in the Gulf of Mexico, forever altering the lives of those caught in its path.

Katrina could have been much worse
Max reviewed the forecasts issued by the NHC for Katrina, showing how these predictions gave a full 2 1/2 days for New Orleans and Mississippi to prepare for the onslaught of a major hurricane. "I don't want people to think we're going to be able to do that well all the time," he said. "One of these days, people will go to bed with a Category 1 hurricane expected to hit the next day, and wake up to a Katrina or an Andrew. That will be a catastrophe." Max stressed the importance of not focusing on the skinny black line showing the forecast track of a storm--pay attention instead to the cone of possible landfall locations. Better communication and education to the public on hurricane dangers are needed, and he encouraged all coastal residents to participate in National Hurricane Preparedness Week, May 25-31 of this year.


Figure 1. The exhibit hall from the 2008 meeting of the American Meteorological Society in New Orleans.

How do we change the outcome?
Max showed that while errors in hurricane track forecasts have improved a factor of two in the past 15 years, and are now down to 55 miles for a 24-hour forecast, forecasts of intensity have not improved at all. In fact, the intensity forecasts for 2007 were worse than those of 2005 and 2006. Part of the credit for the improvement in track forecasts goes to a $1 million/year research project called the Joint Hurricane Test-bed--a project former NHC director Bill Proenza called attention to when it received budget cuts. An increase in funding for this program, as well as other hurricane research efforts, are needed to help improve hurricane intensity forecasts, Max urged.

Another way to change the outcome would be through the adoption of improved building codes. Adoption of the tough South Florida building codes all along the coast would save lives and cut down on insurance pay-outs. Max brought up the analogy of a airplane crashing due to a defect in manufacture. When investigators find the cause of the defect, immediate steps are taken to ensure that no airplane is ever built again with that defect. Why, then, do we continue to build houses with known defects? He advocated the formation of a National Disaster Review Board to analyze and adopt new building codes for the coast. This board would consist of meteorologists, emergency managers, and representatives from the insurance and building industries.

Final thoughts on being in New Orleans
Max recounted his own sobering tour of the damaged neighborhoods still devastated more than two years after Katrina. My own experience here was also sobering, as this is my first visit since the hurricane. It felt eerie to stalk the halls of the Convention Center, the site of so much pain and suffering in the aftermath of the storm. I was very conscious of being in the bottom of a bowl everywhere I went within the city, and the damaged, shuttered buildings were a constant reminder that the Gulf of Mexico lay at our doorstep--and would someday send another "Big One" to challenge the city's defenses. Yet many of the people I met have adapted to the post-Katrina life with an admirable stoicism. "They don't call New Orleans the Big Easy for nothing", one cab driver told me. "Life is still good and laid-back here".

Jeff Masters

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

Thanks, Dr.
yawn
the update for Tropical Storm Olga is out
Tropical Cyclone Report
Tropical Storm Olga
(AL172007)
11 – 12 December 2007
Michelle Mainelli
National Hurricane Center
22 January 2008
Olga was a short-lived out of season tropical storm that produced torrential rains,
flooding, and loss of life across portions of the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Puerto Rico.
Olga’s remnants continued across the northwestern Caribbean Sea and into the eastern Gulf of
Mexico before being absorbed by a cold front over central Florida.
a. Synoptic History
Olga’s genesis resulted from the interaction of an upper-level low with a low-level
trough over the central Atlantic Ocean. Early on 6 December, a broad upper-level low
developed over the east-central Atlantic along with an associated low-level trough that stretched
along 35oW between 20oN and 30oN. These features moved westward, in tandem, at 15-20 kt
uneventfully during the next couple of days. Late on 8 December, shower and thunderstorm
activity developed in the vicinity of the upper-level low and surface trough. By 10 December, a
broad area of surface low pressure formed about 350 n mi east of Puerto Rico, and although
thunderstorm activity remained disorganized at that time, the low produced gale force winds to
the north of the center. Around 0000 UTC 11 December, satellite imagery and radar data from
San Juan, Puerto Rico WSR-88D and surface observations over the Virgin Islands indicated that
the system developed a well-defined surface circulation and sufficiently organized convection
relatively close to the center for the system to be designated as a subtropical storm about 50 n mi
east of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Because the surface low was still associated with a cold low aloft,
the system is considered to be subtropical at this time. In addition, the cyclone had radius of
maximum winds of about 175 n mi, which is typical of subtropical cyclones. The “best track”
chart of the tropical cyclone’s path is given in Fig. 1, with the wind and pressure histories shown
in Figs. 2 and 3, respectively. The best track positions and intensities are listed in Table 1.
Under the influence of a low- to mid-level ridge to the north, Olga moved westward
along the northern coast of Puerto Rico on 11 December and made landfall along the north
central coast of Puerto Rico around 0700 UTC. Later that day, satellite imagery indicated that
shower and thunderstorm activity increased near the center, and surface observations along with
surface wind data from the Advanced Scatterometer (ASCAT) suggested that the radius of
maximum winds had decreased. By 1800 UTC 11 December, Olga became a tropical storm by
the time it made landfall just south of Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic with a peak
intensity of 50 kt. Despite the mountainous terrain, Olga maintained its peak intensity for about
12 h while moving across eastern Hispaniola, with the strongest winds remaining offshore in the
area of deepest convection. Olga finally weakened over central Hispaniola, and by the time the
cyclone emerged over the Windward Passage around 1200 UTC 12 December the intensity had
decreased to 35 kt. Olga became a tropical depression six hours later and degenerated into a
remnant low the next day just north of Jamaica.
2
The remnant low continued westward across the northwestern Caribbean Sea during
the next couple of days. By 15 December, the non-convective low moved northwestward and
northward around the western periphery of a low- to mid-level ridge. Later that day and early on
16 December, the remnants of Olga accelerated northeastward over the eastern Gulf of Mexico
ahead of an approaching cold front, producing somewhat organized thunderstorm activity.
Satellite imagery and radar data from Tampa, Florida suggested that a small circulation crossed
the west-central coast of Florida just north of Tampa around 1000 UTC 16 December. During
that time, Olga’s remnants interacted with an intense squall line that stretched across north
central Florida. While post-analysis does not indicate that redevelopment into a tropical cyclone
occurred, the remnants of Olga in conjunction with the cold front and pre-frontal squall line
produced sustained winds of tropical storm force with gusts to hurricane force in Clearwater
Beach, Florida. Within two hours of Olga’s remnants reaching the west central coast of Florida,
the remnants were absorbed by the cold front.
b. Meteorological Statistics
Observations in Olga (Figs. 2 and 3) include satellite-based Hebert-Poteat and Dvorak
technique intensity estimates from the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB) and the
Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), as well as flight-level and Stepped Frequency Microwave
Radiometer (SFMR) surface observations from one mission of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance
Squadron of the U.S. Air Force Reserve Command. Microwave satellite imagery from NOAA
polar-orbiting satellites, the NASA Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), the NASA
Aqua, the NASA QuikSCAT, the Department of Defense WindSat, ASCAT, and Defense
Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellites were also useful in tracking Olga.
Conventional land-based surface observations, buoys, and National Weather Service Doppler
radar data were helpful in tracking the path of Olga.
The estimated 50 kt peak intensity of Olga while it was making landfall over the
Dominican Republic early on 12 December is based on a blend of the surface-adjusted flightlevel
winds and SFMR data from U.S. Air Force aircraft. Peak flight-level winds measured by
the plane were 55 kt, corresponding to 44 kt at the surface. There was an SFMR surface report
of 54 kt, but this measurement was determined to be too high due to shoaling along the coast. A
couple of SFMR measurements, however, indicated surface winds around 47 kt prior to the
aircraft reaching the shallow waters just north of the Dominican Republic.
The primary impact of Olga was the heavy rainfall that affected portions of Puerto Rico
and the island of Hispaniola. Maximum rainfall totals across the region ranged from around 11
inches in central Puerto Rico to over 15 inches in the Dominican Republic. Figure 4 shows the
rainfall distribution across Puerto Rico. Tropical storm force winds were present north of the
center during both the subtropical and tropical stages of Olga. While several ship reports from
11 – 12 December across the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean measured tropical storm force winds,
these winds were due to a strong environmental pressure gradient and were not directly
associated with the circulation of Olga. Table 2 provides a summary of selected ship
observations that reported sustained winds of tropical storm force directly associated with Olga,
and Table 3 provides a summary of rainfall totals.
3
c. Casualty and Damage Statistics
Due primarily to torrential rainfall, mudslides, and flooding of the Yaque River in the
Dominican Republic, at least 37 deaths are directly associated with Olga in that country. In
addition, 2 deaths in Haiti and 1 death in Puerto Rico were reported in association with Olga.
Olga’s impact was unusually severe due to the grounds having been previously saturated from
the passage of Tropical Storm Noel at the end of October. News reports indicate that almost
12,000 homes were damaged, including 370 that were completely destroyed, which caused more
than 60,000 people to be displaced. During the time when Olga’s remnants moved rapidly
across Florida, a tornado touched down in central Florida in Pasco County causing damage to
several buildings including a County Fire Station and the Pasco County Jail.
d. Forecast and Warning Critique
Olga developed outside of the official hurricane season and Tropical Weather Outlook
(TWO) statements were not being routinely generated; however, Special Tropical Disturbance
Statements (DSA) were issued beginning at 2200 UTC 9 December, about 26 hours prior to
genesis. In total, six DSAs were disseminated by NHC prior to the first advisory issuance and all
statements indicated that tropical or subtropical cyclone formation could occur.
A verification of NHC official and guidance model track forecasts can be found in Table
4. Since Olga was a short-lived cyclone, very few forecasts verified. The number of forecasts
ranged from six at 12 h to two at 36 h. The average official track errors for Olga were 47, 61, and
52 n mi for the 12, 24, and 36 h forecasts, respectively. These errors are close to the average
long-term official track errors.
Average NHC official intensity errors were 7, 9, and 5 kt for the 12, 24, and 36 h
forecasts, respectively (Table 5). For comparison, the average long-term official intensity errors
are 6, 10, and 12 kt, respectively. The official intensity forecast errors were below or near the
average long-term errors at each forecast time.
Due to the close proximity of Olga’s genesis to Hispaniola, tropical storm warnings and
watches were issued in the first advisory early on 11 December. Even though the center of Olga
moved across northwestern Puerto Rico, watches and warnings were not necessary for the island
as the tropical storm force winds were confined to the north of the center and rainfall was the
primary threat. Table 6 provides a summary of the watches and warnings issued in association
with Olga.
e. Acknowledgements:
Observations from the Dominican Republic were provided by the Dominican Republic
Meteorological Office. Lixion Avila and Daniel Brown from NHC, Roham Abtahi from
WFO/SJU, and David Roth from HPC assisted in the compilation of the observation table. Colin
McAdie (NHC) provided access to and analysis of archived WSR-88D radar data from the WFO
4
in Tampa, Florida. Roger Edwards (SPC) and Jiann-Gwo Jiing (NHC) provided valuable insight
of the remnants of Olga as it moved across the eastern Gulf of Mexico and across Florida. I
would also like to thank my colleagues at NHC for their valuable suggestions to this report
Dr.Masters,
Thank you for the update, How was the Gumbo?
Just don't bring New Orleans an ice storm like you did San Antonio last year. It's been cold enough along the Gulf Coast the past couple of weeks.
Dr.Masters,
Thanks for updating from the conference. It's important that folks remember what can happen when a natural disaster is combined with engineering ineptitude and politics.
Good afternoon everyone:

Thanks Dr. Mastes. Like Storm I am looking for some additional articles.
Doc - Thanks for the update. We're starting to make plans to attend the National and Governor's Hurricane Conferences, and I'm sure the last two 'non-busy' seasons will be a topic of hot conversation...
Thanks Dr. M.
Excellent analysis Storm
no offense, Katrina was bad; but when can we get the final word on it and close the grave on it.

It was bad YES!!!! but lets MOVE ON!!!!
Wow, Storm!
This is the first time I have heard of a storm streaking.
When you say the storm is moving NEWD, what do you mean?
While your there go to the Lockheed Martin Station and they have some people form StormCenter Communications there and they have this really cool thing I read about called "Touchtable" and I know that the NHC just bought one and the PHC just bought one.
Time to stir the pot.

Study: Warming may cut US hurricane hits

By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science WriterTue Jan 22, 8:50 PM ET

Global warming could reduce how many hurricanes hit the United States, according to a new federal study that clashes with other research. The new study is the latest in a contentious scientific debate over how man-made global warming may affect the intensity and number of hurricanes.

In it, researchers link warming waters, especially in the Indian and Pacific oceans, to increased vertical wind shear in the Atlantic Ocean near the United States. Wind shear %u2014 a change in wind speed or direction %u2014 makes it hard for hurricanes to form, strengthen and stay alive.

So that means "global warming may decrease the likelihood of hurricanes making landfall in the United States," according to researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Miami Lab and the University of Miami.

With every degree Celsius that the oceans warm, the wind shear increases by up to 10 mph, weakening storm formation, said study author Chunzai Wang, a research oceanographer at NOAA. Winds forming over the Pacific and Indian oceans have global effects, much like El Nino does, he said.

Wang said he based his study on observations instead of computer models and records of landfall hurricanes through more than 100 years.

His study is to be published Wednesday in Geophysical Research Letters.

Critics say Wang's study is based on poor data that was rejected by scientists on the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They said that at times only one in 10 North Atlantic hurricanes hit the U.S. coast and the data reflect only a small percentage of storms around the globe.

Hurricanes hitting land "are not a reliable record" for how hurricanes have changed, said Kevin Trenberth, climate analysis chief for the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.

Trenberth is among those on the other side of a growing debate over global warming and hurricanes. Each side uses different sets of data and focus on different details.

One group of climate scientists has linked increases in the strongest hurricanes %u2014 just those with winds greater than 130 mph %u2014 in the past 35 years to global warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said "more likely than not," manmade global warming has already increased the frequency of the most intense storms.

But hurricane researchers, especially scientists at NOAA's Miami Lab, have argued that the long-term data for all hurricanes show no such trend. And Wang's new research suggests just the opposite of the view that more intense hurricanes result from global warming. The Miami faction points to a statement by an international workshop on tropical cyclones that says "no firm conclusion can be made on this point."

Former National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield said regardless of which side turns out to be right, it only takes one storm to be deadly. So the key for residents of hurricane-prone areas, he said, is to be prepared for a storm "no matter what."
tampatom are you attending the hurricane conference in miami next week is that the conference you are talking about
hello is anyone talking
“The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.”


The links below are a random selection from hundreds of articles written by thousands of scientists from
across all relevant scientific disciplines and linked off these articles, many more articles and scientific
papers can be found that will in the very least provide the diligent reader with enough peer-reviewed
material to decide on what is and what is not likely to be the true state of our Earth and its climate. At the
last count, there were nearly 20,000 scientists who had signed up to the need for a debate, based on
their own peer-reviewed research being at odds with the published UN IPCC work and ignored by the
mainstream media for their own dubious reasons. Only research or an event that even remotely helps to
promote AGW is given airtime and column space, quite extraordinary really
Training of cells is setting up over flooding areas from last night.See my South Florida section for more info.

Atlantic Hurricanes
14. spiceymonster 1:13 PM CST on January 23, 2008
no offense, Katrina was bad; but when can we get the final word on it and close the grave on it.

It was bad YES!!!! but lets MOVE ON!!!!


I hate to say it but Katrina will most likely still be brought up 20 years from now...just like 9/11 and all the other events that affected the US drastically.

Literally here in southern Louisiana we have a new type of time "before Katrina" and "after Katrina". I have found myself more often than not referring to events as before and after the storm; and that's events that arent even related to the storm itself! lol

So really in your life time (and mine) we can expect to hear about it a good bit more. That is of course assuming that something worse doesnt happen...lets hope not!

Recovery is still going on, a whole bunch of it actually...unfortunately.
well until katrina came along we were all still talking about hurricane camelle and comparing eveything to it
Andrew, too? Or is that just because I hear only from South Florida?
you are right andrew too
ok, I was just curious, they was both really bad. Here the Great Hurricane Of 1928 was a hurricane. that was a while ago, but a category 4 I believe
Joint Typhoon Warning Center

Tropical Disturbance Summary 1800z 23Jan
=======================================
An area of convection (97S) located near 10.5S 48.7E or 510 NM north of Antananarivo, Madagascar. Animated Multispectral Satellite Imagery reveals a broad, developing low level circulation center with flaring deep convection on the southwest periphery. Quikscat Image shows broad troughing. SSMI Image also shows evidence of this troughing and some convective banding from the east development is being hampered by low to moderate vertical wind shear, but the disturbance is forecasted to move into a more favorable environment over the next 24-28 hours.

Maximum sustained winds near the center is 15-20 knots with a minimum sea level pressure of 1005 mb. Since the low level circulation center is broad, the potential of this disturbance to form into a significant tropical cyclone wtihin the next 24 hours is POOR.
Has anyone heard how this Hurricane Season might be? Will it be a slow one or busy? I figure there not talking about anything yet but I just didn't know if anyone knew anything.
Sheri
I take it no one is here. Whenever I check in here there hardly no one here anymore.
29. catastropheadjuster 5:25 PM EST on January 23, 2008
Has anyone heard how this Hurricane Season might be? Will it be a slow one or busy? I figure there not talking about anything yet but I just didn't know if anyone knew anything.
Sheri


Sheri, it does not matter what they think will happen. It has been proven that their guesses are no better than what you might think will happen. A dart board is just as accurate as the experts.
No warnings out for Southern Florida but there was a reported tornado

2050 BOYNTON BEACH PALM BEACH FL 2653 8009 PUBLIC REPORTED A BRIEF TORNADO TOUCHDOWN WEST OF I-95 AND BOYNTON BEACH BLVD. REPORT RELAYED TO BOYNTON BEACH POLICE DEPARTMENT. NO DAMAGE REPORTED. (MFL)

Hello sheri....

Long time dont speak but from everything ive looked at until this point signs point to an active season now were they form and track is something thats impossible to know as steering patterns are very hard to figure 2 weeks out.My best advice is sit back and enjoy the long off season and before you know it will be that time once again.

www.AdriansWeather.com

PS!Remember even a slow season can be bad all it takes is one system over your community.
-GLOBAL WARMING TO REDUCE HURRICANE LANDFALLS-

Very interesting article put out today as Global warming could reduce the possibility of tropical cyclone landfalls in the united states.Iam not a big fan of this global warming stuff but theres a few questions that came to my mind came after reading this article.For example could warmer sea surface temps somehow increase vertical windshear?Alot of factors are in play for a tropical cyclone to flurish,many questions indeed which iam not going to attempt to answer right now.The odds in my opinion favor a busy year landfall wise for the U.S. but it can go either way hopefully we'll have another quite one.

Complete Article Here

Abstract
About Katrina,

what made Katrina queen of all Atlantic hurricanes is that she never had a good side. Most hurricanes have some sliver lining...some calm side, some exception. Katrina, however made landfall where the north winds to the west of the storm push the lake into the city and the south winds push Gulf of Mexico onto the Mississippi coast to the east of the storm. Katrina actually used the saying "Hurricanes kill most people by flooding not winds*." Sadly, no one could escape her wrath.

* Andrew Cat 5 winds VS Katrina Storm Surge
My only worry is articles like this may put some folks asleep when it comes to hurricane preps.Every year is different.
Thanks Dr. Masters!
2008 hyper active atlantic storm season to come
Dr. Master's I hope you can kill the myths that some people in this great country stil think that the City of New Orleans is still not back. Living just west of the city, the local New Orleans tv stations do "polls" stating that most Americans stil believe the city is not safe to come back because of the storm. This couldn't be more further from the truth.

It would be nice to know what you, and others that you have talked to while here in the city, think about the city after this meeting is over.
Has anyone read this book:
Lunatic Wind
By: William Price Fox

about hurricane Hugo?
DEPRESSION 11F [988HPA] CENTRE WAS ANALYSED NEAR 25.0S 170.0W AT 24Jan 0000UTC IS MOVING SOUTHWEST 15 KNOTS.

POSITION FAIR.

EXPECT NORTHWEST TO NORTHEAST WINDS 40 TO 50 KNOTS IN THE NORTHEASTERN QUADRANT BETWEEN 90 AND 120 NAUTICAL MILES AWAY FROM THE CENTRE, WITH 35 TO 40 KNOTS UPTO 300 NAUTICAL MILES AWAY FROM THE CENTRE.
2008 hyper active atlantic storm season to come

That's a bit of a farfetched statement, considering how far away June is. I'm not even going to attempt to forecast what I think will happen until May, when we'll have a general idea of things.
H23: Thanks for your input. You know I appreciate it. And yes I am relaxing being off season and all. I hope all is fine with you.
Sheri
Dr. Master's I hope you can kill the myths that some people in this great country stil think that the City of New Orleans is still not back. Living just west of the city, the local New Orleans tv stations do "polls" stating that most Americans stil believe the city is not safe to come back because of the storm. This couldn't be more further from the truth.

It would be nice to know what you, and others that you have talked to while here in the city, think about the city after this meeting is over.


Um, I have a hard time believing NOLA has recovered from Katrina, considering it has only been two years. And the city may be safe to come back to now, but it's always like that until a big one comes by and threatens.
Adrian, interesting article you linked to. I myself don't think that would happen, because the data is simply too limited and unreliable to come to a conclusion on that. The exception of lack of data is from the satellite era on up. So all the storms we think might have made landfall in the U.S. as hurricanes could have in fact been tropical storms, and vise versa, since again, data was very scarce back in the pre-satellite era. And the data in the 1800s are VERY unreliable, IMO.

As Max said, it only takes one.
Joint Typhoon Warning Center

Tropical Disturbance Summary 0230z 24Jan
=======================================
An area of convection (97S) located near 10.8S 47.1E or 490 NM north of Antananarivo, Madagascar. Animated infrared satellite imagery continues to display a broad, developing low level circulation center with flaring deep convection on the southwest periphery. A Quikscat image shows broad troughing. A AMSU-B image also shows evidence of this troughing and some convective banding from the east. Development continues to be hampered by low to moderate vertical wind shear, but the disturbance is forecast to move into a more favorable environment over the next 24-48 hours.

maximum sustained winds near the center is 15-20 knots with a minimum sea level pressure of 1005 mb. SInce the LLCC is broad, the potential of this disturbance to form into a significant tropical cyclone within the next 24 hours remains POOR.

System #2
------

Joint Typhoon Warning Center

Tropical Disturbance Summary 0230z 24Jan
========================================
An area of convection (98S) located near 9.2S 67.0E or 340 NM west-southwest of Diego Garcia. Animated infrared and water vapor satellite imagery depicts a developing low level circulation center with flaring deep convection near the center. Prior Quikscat Images depicts a broad low level circulation. AMSR-E image shows weak convective banding beginning to form over the northwestern periphery of the circulation.

Upper level analysis depicts low to moderate vertical wind shear and good upper level diffluence. Maximum sustained winds near the center is 15-20 knots with a minimum sea level pressure of 1006 mb. Since the low level circulation center is broad and remains disorganized, the potential of this disturbance to form into a significant tropical cyclone within the next 24 hours is POOR.
I was just saying that the CBD (Central Business District) and French Quarter is fine. Some people thought the whole city was underwater and some thought it was still underwater! I was not commenting on the communities, I was just saying that the city itself, the tourism areas, are fine. If or when you go to the city itself everythings normal. Its when you get out of the CBD that everything gets bad.

If I lived in an area that is under sea level and had more than 4 feet of water in my house I probably would not go back either.
Thanks DR M for good reporting, much appreciated.
That was excellent report by Dr. Masters. Katrina was just a "warning shot". Any number of factors could have made Katrina much worse. Larger size, More rapid movement , stalling out, shift in track, strengthening at landfall(instead of weakening) etc. could have made Katrina or several other recent storms much worse in both lives lost and damage done. Not to mention potential damage economically(to oil infrastructure in GOM) or to a larger population center like NYC. Fact is 04-05 could have been much MUCH worse.
Certainly looking forward to more from the meeting.

This was interesting, good rain drop research too~ Scientists Produce Energy From Rain
The new director of the National Hurricane Center likely will be introduced within the next two weeks and a leading contender is veteran forecaster Bill Read, The Miami Herald has learned.

Other finalists for the highly visible job include Richard Knabb, one of six senior hurricane specialists at the center, and Charles ''Chip'' Guard, a veteran government meteorologist and tropical weather specialist in Guam

Article
NEW ORLEANS - After a trying year of more than 200 murders and a rise in crime, at least police once again have a permanent place to call home. The New Orleans Police Department, which has operated out of trailers in the 2 1/2 years since Hurricane Katrina, dedicated a renovated headquarters Thursday that brings its major components back under one roof
I LOVE FLORIDA!!! I was just in W. DC when it was 9 degrees (by far the coldest I have ever experienced) and I have earned a new appreciation for palm trees and the color green. Just though I'd let all the inexperienced Floridians know tha the cold is really, really COLD.
UN official: US neglects Katrina victims

NEW ORLEANS - A United Nations official who has toured parts of Louisiana and Mississippi devastated by Hurricane Katrina says the thousands of victims of the storm resemble poor people displaced by natural disasters in other parts of the world.

"Whether you're displaced in a rich country or a poor country, what remains the same is you need to get the help, the assistance of the authorities, of the communities, to be able to restart a normal life, and the people I have met are not there yet," said Walter Kalin, the UN secretary general's representative on the human rights of internally displaced persons


NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Unmanned aircraft like those used by the U.S. military in Iraq will increasingly be used to monitor storms, a role currently performed by manned aircraft, weather officials said on Tuesday.

At an American Meteorological Society meeting in New Orleans, U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists announced a three-year program initially funded with $3 million to study use of unmanned aircraft in hurricanes
My question is...If the polar ice caps are melting so rapidly, how will we be able to avoid even worse then we endured with Katrina??? It really amazed me that the last two years were so mild for the LA/MS Gulf Coast. I also have a bit of trouble figuring out all the droughts I keep hearing about...How can we have droughts with all the extra water from all the melting filling up everything? Just food for thoughts and questions...
Fact is 04-05 could have been much MUCH worse.

That's not saying much, considering every hurricane season typically has something that could've made it worse.

My question is...If the polar ice caps are melting so rapidly, how will we be able to avoid even worse then we endured with Katrina???

If the process of ice cap melting continues at this rapid rate, we probably won't be able to avoid that, unfortunately. But if we would cut back on our abusing the environment and helping to speed up the warming, we might can avoid that. I will tell you like I tell everyone else: I think this global warming we're having is just a natural cycle, but man is speeding up the process. If it isn't a natural cycle that will eventually reset itself, we're in deep trouble.

It really amazed me that the last two years were so mild for the LA/MS Gulf Coast.

Me too, but 2006 was an El Niño year, so that shouldn't be that much of a surprise. 2007, eh I don't have an explanation there, but the steering currents in La Niña years do tend to cause storms to form further south and track further south (like Dean and Felix did). And if you really think about it, LA/MS never did get very many significant hurricanes (e.g. Georges, Katrina), at least not every year. IIRC, the last major hurricane to strike Mississippi before Katrina was Elena in 1985. That's a 20 year gap with no major hurricane landfalls. Not to say nothing significant came to MS within those 20 years before Katrina, but no Cat 3+ storms came.

I also have a bit of trouble figuring out all the droughts I keep hearing about...How can we have droughts with all the extra water from all the melting filling up everything? Just food for thoughts and questions...

My guess is that like El Niño and La Niña, global warming affects different parts of the world differently. I don't know as much about global warming as I do tropical cyclones (I know quite a bit in that area), so I'm probably wrong.
Tillou:

I'll give you my opinion on the matter. New Orleans will not approach it's state in early August 2005 for at least a decade.

My home is in the Florida panhandle, but I've worked in New Orleans on two contracts since Katrina. The first had us back in NOLA (in Bywater) in November, 2005 - the contract concluded in December 2006. The second had me working on Jeff Highway at Ochsner's main campus from August 2007 until two weeks ago.

To say that NOLA is back in business is mis-leading. NOLA is ready for tourists and that's about it.

NOLA East is still a wasteland for the most part. Bywater is getting better, but still has problems. The lower Ninth is not even 1/10th recovered. NOLA is nowhere near ready to support a resident population of 400k+ people year-round.

Every day, things get a little better, but there is still a very, very long way to go.
Every day, things get a little better, but there is still a very, very long way to go.

And that's assuming that another major hurricane doesn't come by that area. I seriously feel bad for the people in New Orleans, and I'm glad I don't live there.

The thing I do hope is that Katrina has taught enough people a lesson to where they will know what to do the next time a storm comes around. You can't be guaranteed your property, but you can be guaranteed your life if you know what you're doing.
TROPICAL CYCLONE 08R ADVISORY NUMBER ONE
============================================

At 6:00 AM UTC, Area of Disturbed Weather 08R [1004 hPa] located near 13.5S 45.6E or 1320 kms northwest of the coast of Reunion had 10 minute sustained winds of 25 knots with gusts up to 35 knots. The disturbance is reported moving southwest at 6 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T2.0

Forecast and Intensity
-----------------------
24 HRS: 14.9S 44.2E - 30 knots (Depression Tropicale)
48 HRS: 15.4S 43.4E - 40 knots (Tempête Tropicale Moderée)
72 HRS: 15.9S 42.9E - 60 knots (Forte Tempête Tropicale)

Addition Information
--------------------
An important area of thunderstorm convective activity is organizing southeast of Mayotte. This borning system has a good potential for intensification. Last satellite imageries show a very recent and rapid organization of deep convection, with a well defined building curved band.

At this stage the system does not justify regular six hour advisories.
The London Guardian carried an AP article today on the 88th annual meeting of the AMS, focusing on controversies that came up between the attendees over the role of Global Warming and its effect on tropical cyclone intensity. Link to Full article here.


Forecasters Debate Hurricanes, Warming

Thursday January 24, 2008 9:46 AM

By CAIN BURDEAU

Associated Press Writer

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A lively and sometimes scrappy debate on whether global warming is fueling bigger and nastier hurricanes like Katrina is adding an edge to a gathering of forecasters here.

The venue for the 88th annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society could not have been more conducive to the discussion: The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is where thousands of people waited for days during the storm to be evacuated from a city drowning in water and misery.

Although weather experts generally agree that the planet is warming, they hardly express consensus on what that may mean for future hurricanes. Debate has simmered in hallway chats and panel discussions.

A study released Wednesday by government scientists was the latest point of contention.

The study by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Miami Lab and the University of Miami postulated that global warming may actually decrease the number of hurricanes that strike the United States. Warming waters may increase vertical wind speed, or wind shear, cutting into a hurricane's strength.

The study focused on observations rather than computer models, which often form the backbone of global warming studies, and on the records of hurricanes over the past century, researchers said.

``I think it was a seminal paper,'' Richard Spinrad, NOAA's assistant administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, said Wednesday.

``There's a lot of uncertainty in the models,'' Spinrad said. ``There's a lot of uncertainty in what drives the development of tropical cyclones, or hurricanes. What the study says to us is that we need a higher resolution'' of data.

Greg Holland, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said the new paper was anything but seminal. He said ``the results of the study just don't hold together.''

Holland is among scientists who say there is a link between global warming and an upswing in catastrophic storms. He said other factors far outweigh the influence of wind shear on how a storm will behave.

``This is the problem with going in and focusing on one point, a really small change,'' Holland said.

He had a sharp exchange Monday with Christopher Landsea, a NOAA scientist, during the AMS meeting.

While Holland sees a connection between global warming and increased hurricanes, Landsea believes storms only seem to be getting bigger because people are paying closer attention. Big storms that would have gone unnoticed in past decades are now carefully tracked by satellites and airplanes, even if they pose no threat to land.

The exchange, captured by National Public Radio, illustrates how emotional the global warming debate has become for hurricane experts.

``Can you answer the question?'' Landsea demanded.

``I'm not going to answer the question because it's a stupid question,'' Holland shot back.

``OK, let's move on,'' a moderator intervened.

The passion was no surprise to the TV weather forecasters, academic climatologists, government oceanographers and tornado chasers attending the meeting.

``One thing I've learned about coming to this conference over the years is that very few people agree on anything,'' said Bill Massey, a former hurricane program manager at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

``There's a legitimate scientific debate going on and a healthy one, and scientists right now are trying to defuse the emotion and focus on the research,'' said Robert Henson, the author of ``The Rough Guide to Climate Change.''

Whether global warming is increasing the frequency of major storms or reducing it, Henson said, lives are at stake.

``Let's say you have a drunk driver once an hour going 100 miles an hour in the middle of the night on an interstate,'' Henson said. ``Say you're going to have an increase from once an hour to once every 30 minutes; that's scary and important. But you've got to worry about that drunk driver if it's even once an hour.''

Massey agreed. ``In 1992 we had one major storm. It was Hurricane Andrew. It was a very slow year. But one storm can ruin your day.''
Another story on the 88th annual meeting of the AMS, an NPR radio report including some recordings of the meeting: Link (audio, 4 min 21 sec w/ brief commercial)

All this talk about Katrina, Houston still has plenty of reminders of that storm! (if you know what I mean)

What about Rita? There is still plenty of nasty reminders of her here in S.E. Texas also. I guess Beaumont/Port Arthur doesn't count tho......
morning all, thanks StormW sir, good to see you guygee
Thanks,Storm
Mornin Doc..thanks for sharing some of the meeting with US

(Mornin folks)
Hey StormW - Expected to see you @the AMS meeting. What's up?
72. StormW 6:34 PM GMT on January 24, 2008
71. stormmaven 12:47 PM EST on January 24, 2008
Hey StormW - Expected to see you @the AMS meeting. What's up?


My account...on account I'm broke!

I guess your going to have to wait for the government's rebate check this spring
Afternoon......if anyone is around. LOL
Quiet in here today.
Here's a pretty chart to look at....LOL:



Dr. Master's I hope you can kill the myths that some people in this great country stil think that the City of New Orleans is still not back. Living just west of the city, the local New Orleans tv stations do "polls" stating that most Americans stil believe the city is not safe to come back because of the storm. This couldn't be more further from the truth.

It would be nice to know what you, and others that you have talked to while here in the city, think about the city after this meeting is over.


Well, the French Quarter seems to have never gone away, but East New Orleans still looks like a bomb went off, as a drive on I-10 will reveal.

Coastal MS's main drags are nice and spiffy, but back in the neighborhoods it still looks kind of grim in many areas.

The area is making progress, but it's not fully back yet.
Hey all, just stopping in briefly

129 days until the beginning of Hurricane Season 08
... Snow in the northern mountains of North Carolina...

... Snow Advisory in effect until 6 PM EST this afternoon...

The National Weather Service in Greenville-Spartanburg has issued
a Snow Advisory... which is in effect until 6 PM EST this
afternoon for Avery... Mitchell and Yancey counties in the northern
mountains of North Carolina.

Around one inch of snow can be expected this afternoon. The snow
swill begin to taper off by evening.

A Snow Advisory means that periods of snow will cause primarily
travel difficulties. Be prepared for snow covered roads and
limited visibilities... and use caution while driving.

07

79. IKE
77. extreme236 3:28 PM CST on January 24, 2008
Hey all, just stopping in briefly

129 days until the beginning of Hurricane Season 08



129 days until this blog comes back to life then. It's absolutely dead in here.
80. P451
129 days until this blog comes back to life then. It's absolutely dead in here.

Nah...a good nor'easter and it will pick up. There's nothing to talk about weather wise right now.

Looks like Feb 1-2 and then again Feb 7-8 are two shots at coastal storms. Keeping my fingers crossed.
Here are some good pics I got earlyer of a rainbow...









new blog posted