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Katrina a Category 2 storm

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 3:45 PM GMT on August 26, 2005

Recent Hurricane Hunter measurements show the pressure has dropped significantly, and is now down to 971 mb. Surface winds have increased to 100 mph, making Katrina a Category 2 hurricane. It would be no real surprise to see Katrina attain Category 3 status by this evening, and probably a Category 4 on Saturday.

The forecast track has not changed significantly, with a landfall Monday morning still expected along the end of the Gulf of Mexico's bowling alley, the Florida Panhandle between Pensacola and Panama City. However, two key computer models--the NOGAPS and GFDN--have made a large jump to the west, bringing Katrina over Louisiana. New Orleans can definitely not breathe easy until Katrina makes its turn north and we have a better idea where she is going.

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

LOL, Valence. One batch will clearly be labeled CORONA
79 - The loop is too short on that radar... Use the 3 hour loop on the Weatherunderground radar (gotta pay the $5 though, I've heard). You can still detect the slightest movement south and sometimes west.

Dr. Jeff Masters same radar in motion, tell me what u think? Link
most "official" reports have it as a cat 3 with slight chance of cat 4... at landfall
raindance, she didnt stop miving until about 3:20. I would like to wait another hour to see whats really happening
If I were anywhere on the coast from Lake Charles eastward, I'd be getting out of Dodge!
I am in Pascagoula and appreciate all the good info. I think I will run to bank and load up with fuel and ice before the new info comes out from the NHC. I will see you all later.
79 - I agree. I've just been watching the Dry Tortugas. They're slowing getting closer and closer to being inside the yet.
...inside the EYE. Typo...
storm all i know is that they have 2 models going right over new orleans and you know already i dont believe in them..im going by my data not by the models..the models dont have to tell me what i already know.........
why's it look like there is a big chunk taken out of the top in the pic at the top of this blog... what is that?

yes i am dumb...i have been painting a hallway white for the last 3 hrs and between the color and paint fumes i am not concentrating well...
Stormtop what city do you think has the highest percentage right now? N.O. Gulfport, Mobile or Pensacola
Great info. I've been watching the board for several days and trying to learn as this develops. I have to admit though, stormtop, I thought you were going out on a big limb to say several days ago that it was going to hit NO as a very strong storm, prior to it even developing into a TS. But you deserve major props for at least being right to this point. Keep up the good work. My only request is that for people who are trying to learn, continue to post your reasons/supporting data for why you are forecasting and offering opinions.
The model that has most closely predicted the short term motion of Katrina over the last 3-4 days is the BAMD.

Unfortunately, in the lastest run, that too takes Katrina into the Big Easy. Models

Remember, the models do have a human factor, and they may just be overcorrecting for the continued S component of the motion. But this is starting to look ominous.
that link only shows the last 17 minutes..at 9mph you won't see much..looks to be on a wsw track..vs sw by that..who knows the storm may be priming for another build-up....
Wombats asked:

> just curious does anyone think this thing could go any further west than n.o??

Of course it *could* do that. If it intensifies rapidly, and pushes west fast enough that high pressure fills in north of it before it can curve, it could head straight all the way to Texas. Not a likely scenario, but not a possibility I would ignore, either, if I lived there or was planning travel.

Right now the westward component of the motion does not seem large enough to cause that to happen, and I don't see anything to steer it west any faster except maybe interaction with Cuba.

Certainly it has a better shot of doing that than Ivan did of hitting Texas *after* hitting Virginia and Maryland last year.
The big chunk in the pic at the top is RADAR cannot see through the EYE.
I have been watching the NWS radar, which goes out 45 minutes
Steve Gregory's new post is up. He thinks the NHC may wait til 5am Saturday to shift the track west, waiting on another model run...
Get out of dodge if you live in a flood zone (A,B, or C) or an unsturdy building. Otherwise mitigate the evac problem by acquiring the necessary supplies, securing your property, and hunkering down.

I know some of you have already read this, but I want to make sure that everyone gets what NO landfall means. I would venture to say that it is the single most dangerous place for a storm to make landfall. If you have not read this then please do.
Just looked at the three hour woundergrounbd radar. VERY VERY SLOW mevement if any at all. Please let it sit until it turns due N. Sorry panhandle, but if you have to choose between you and NO take the hit.
523. wpb05
nw part of the eye is closing once again...had been open....look for strenghtening between 5 and 8
SHIPS has it up to 135mph (115-120kts, cat 4)in 72 hrs.
Quote 53rd
The big chunk in the pic at the top is RADAR cannot see through the EYE.

ok, darn, i was hoping something had opend the thing up and was breaking it apart somehow....darn....
The Cloud Tops are about to get real high and real cold again. She has almost finished an eye-wall-replacement cycle. I think that the new vaccum (eye) has been formed and is going to start throwing convection up out of the center again. You will see some real bright colors on the Infared. I bet the pressure is droping once again and will be down to 960mb soon.
I agree with Steve's posting, will wait until later tonight before shifting my forecast track as well. My current track is here: Link
that is the most ridiculous thing i ever heard wait till shift the models until 5am saturday...what is the nhc thinking why are they so conservative for a cithy like new orleans...i think this is a good call to evacuate the city even though it turns at the last minute..we had a lot of close calls but this one is just eating me right now that outr luck has run out after 40 years....
I wonder what the 5pm update will say, anyone care to speculate on how far west the cone will move
They moved it further west than I thought they would...
Latest update available; 965mb; 100 mph; still WSW at 8 - hard to believe...
Yeah - that's a huge shift for the NHC!
yes 53rd i agree with you ..the nhc called for a 961mb at land fall....now is that a joke this thing mat be as low as 890mb by the time it hits land monday...
new track from nhc puts landfall around Pascagoula, MS.
StormT I take it you are in NO. What are your plans? What kind of stucture will you be staying in and at what sea level?
NHC has no clue where this thing is going.
neirher do i.... *not really laughing but....*
I laughed at your new CAT scale StormT. I will pray that you do not get to use it.
thats a big shift west from the 11am advisory!!!
Weareallgunnadie (someday) - For once this season (2005), I agree. NHC does not have a good grip on this storm. Their performance in the last 24 hours has been miserable.
The NHC is looking at 6 hour motion for their initial motion, this will change quite a bit at 8PM, if she keeps wup what shes been doing since 3:20
543. wpb05
nhc thre a dart and where it landed is where they put landfall
Im finally getting some rain from Katrina. One of the bands passed around the the east coast and is making its way over to the W coast.

I may lose my internet connection soon (It goes out during normal afternoon thunderstorms), so If you dont see me post for a while, I'll be on real late tonight, around 4am.

Of course - in defense of the NHC - it IS Mother Nature. If it were completely predictable - none of us would be here glued to our computers. Instead, we'd all be accountants.
Contraflow for NOLA will begin 36 hours before tropical storm force conditions occur with a storm in the Gulf, and NOLA in the cone--no one will be allowed to go east or west on I-10 or Hwy 90--gotta go north.
I can not understand the NHC's thinking on being so conservative. Track should have shifted at 11:00 and NO evacs should be well under way.

The new track does not look good for us!
i've been saying they rely too much on those models for two days now
new track is out and shited all the way to gulfport miss....thats the bullseye...the coords 24.8n 83.0 w...moving wsw at 9 100mph winds...a hurricane watch will be issued saturday morning or afternoon for the northern gulf coast.....
on TWC, they are expecting pressure to drop some more pretty soon i guess
not sure if anyone saw bistardi on CNBC blathering about this storm and its impact on gas/oil production. sounded more like an infomercial and a rational forecast. guess its working for him
I think the pressure went down right on through the 965 reported. I bet 964 already...
that 'chunk' out of the top is gone
Im not fleeing for my life, but I actually have to go to work. Unfortunately, I dont get paid to post on here!

Adios for now!

MSNBC just said the pressure dropped to 965..

I'm trying to decide if I should start packing to leave... I can't afford to just up and go .. paycheck to paycheck.. hotel money is not heard of. I wish there was more for people who are hurting financially when it comes to this kind of stuff.
So who wants to give the GFDL its props? I know I do. It was the only model to predict this, and damn did it get the south movement right. I still think it will be right on the money.

Notice, the NHC says winds in the category 4 level are now forecasted! Before it was just possible.
Storm Top, that is more of P'goula than GPT, big difference when speaking of intensity... but remember guys this thing is still 3 days out so a lot can happen between now and then.

As for the models... they do atleast give us some guidance

Either way this storm is looking ugly, now we just need to hope that coastline destrengthening process (Ivan) will effect this one as well. Not that I want either but a storm with 130mph winds compared to one with 150 is a major difference
560. wpb05
expect another vortex fairly soon..they are near the center right now
561. wpb05
nevermind...outbound..just posted vortex with 965 mb
562. wpb05
URNT12 KNHC 262050
A. 26/20:25:10Z
B. 24 deg 46 min N
082 deg 50 min W
C. 700 mb 2810 m
D. 55 kt
E. 318 deg 270 nm
F. 040 deg 069 kt
G. 311 deg 014 nm
H. 965 mb
I. 11 C/ 3054 m
J. 17 C/ 3046 m
K. 11 C/ NA
M. E04/22/10
N. 12345/ 7
O. 0.02 / 2 nm
P. AF304 1012A KATRINA OB 28
MAX FL WIND 94 KT NE QUAD 18:52:50 Z
MAX FL TEMP 20C, 313 / 12NM
563. WSI
GFDL has been calling this one pretty well. It predicted the southern movement as well if I remember correctly.
Well the higher ups in the LA-ANG are convinced, our
F-15's are flying out tomorrow morning in what we've aptly named our "Hurrivac"

Thankfully I live in Baton Rouge, where I'll be heading tonight with my girlfriend.


They are in a pickle on this one, tough storm with lots of variables. I can only imagine having to be the people actually posting the "forecasted track"
Nolamommy-Do your best to get out. If you wait you will spend a lot of money on gas sitting in traffic. I know these times can be rough, but staying is a much more deadly choose than having to figure out how to survive. There will be aid afterwards if she does come in at NO. Look for help with in your community as well. See if others are leaving -car pool, pool money together for food and supplies. Get a hotel room in the north and try to find a job of some type. My prayers will be with everyone in that area and I am not the praying type.

Just got back from Walmart. Word's getting out, and folks are starting to take this thing seriously despite the lack of coverage by local stations.
Has the GFDL shifted west? The wunderground is still showing it being the eastern outlier at this point.
THis looks like a camille like track hopefully not as intense...
us amet a little 45 mile wont matter in this storm..this will be a huge storm in size and strength...this is only the first shift west there will be more you can bet on that...i said they would shift the track 150 miles to the left i think thats a little more...
One thing is for sure, we all have to keep an eye out. Someone asked about hotel reservations, Jackson, MS should be ok or farther if you can go (Grenada, MS is on I-55 and has some decent places to stay).

573. Selu

Is GDFL the model that puts the track straight through NEW Orleans? If so, yeah, the GDFL folks deserve kudos. They nailed the track before Katrina crossed Florida.
StormT not to be a doomsday theorist, but when you say more of a shift do you think she will head due N into NO?
Is Hattiesburg, MS to close if the landfall is in Mississippi? Hattiesburg is abt 90 miles from the coast.
Hattiesburg will still get some decent wind/rain if it holds to the course and is as big as they say.
577. Selu

McComb hotels are all booked. Days Inn here was the only one with rooms, and I imagine it's booked by now.

Anyone who doesn't want to travel as far north as Memphis better go ahead and start making reservations.

The Pearl River Resort, on the Choctaw Reservation, has nice rooms for $55. If they weren't booked anyway, I'll bet they'll be booked by 6:00.

Anyone who's even considering evacuating better go ahead and make reservations if you don't want to have to go as far north as Memphis.
storm im only telling you what i see happening from the data i have received...yes i do..theres a chance it could go a little west of new orleans like i originally predicted grand isle...
Where ever she goes she will be moving fast when she makes landfall and she will be strong. There will be lots of damage even 100 miles inland.
Thanks for the info Selu. I think you're right. Thankfully, I have relatives in North West MS and have a room already waiting for me.
581. lippy
OK, the NAM is no one's favorite hurricane model, but the 18z run at 84 hours has this thing heading toward Brownsville.

No doubt here StormT, you have proven yourself and everyone should respect your opinion. Exactly when did you say NO, was it prior to it being 12?
583. Selu

I'm a doctoral student at USM. I don't know if you are asking if USM will close?

In the past, USM waited until 12 hours before the storm hit to close classes. IF I were you, I'd go ahead and get out Hattiesburg...go north. In 1998, USM had to close for two weeks because the campus was such a mess after a hurricane.

This USM president that we have now will not call classes until Sunday, if he calls them at all. USM instructors are VERY understanding, if you decide to go home and can't make classes on Monday. When I teach, I always tell my students that it is up for them to decide whether to leave or not (before campus is closed) and if they decide to leave, I won't penalize them if the miss a couple of classes.

Best wishes to my Hattiesburg friends.
Thanks StormJunkie and Wombats !
I doubt the NHC will shift much further west than where it is now but I can see where you get the movement more westward... Hard one to tell but from what I have seen I think a Mississippi landfall is pretty accurate for the info we have now. Not to say things wont change.

As for 45 miles... it can be a difference in life or death... a direct hit on Pascagoula is a horrible scenario for Mobile with the backing of water into mobile bay, but 45 miles to the west means a that small bands of CAT4 or 5 winds in and around that eye. This by no means is a small storm but it is not massive either. I would expect Hurricane winds not to exceed 100 miles from the center. While that is a large band remember that usually about 25 miles from center is the bad stuff in storms of this size.
stormtop - if it enters from grand isle it would be as if the artical that was posted eariler was written for this storm. Have you read the artical, if so do u agree?
where are you located footprints??
i want to emphasize this and you all listen...it doesnt matter where the storm hit ..it could hit anywhere from new iberia to mobile and you are still going to get walloped..this is not a small storm its continuing to grow and will grow to the size betsy was 700 miles across..you should think you are going to get hurricane force winds if you live in new orleans if it hits mobile..if it hits gulfport you will get a lot stronger winds tornados and extremely heavy rainfall....this is a very wet storm we are dealing with so dont expect if you get 10 to 15 inches out of it especially if it slows down at land fall.....you need to be ready get everythin ready before they give the evacuation order........
one model had brownsville? That would mean a basic w or wnw at the last minute movement the whole way..
Parts of Key West have received over 12 inches of rain (by the storm total tool). Do we know how our friends in Key West are doing? Don't they normally evac Key West and they didn't because no one besides StormTop thought it was going there? :)
I think it's just becoming more and more obvious that the NHC (and everyone else) doesn't have a good grasp on what's going to happen... There's no definite steering current at present -- only a speculation on what will become of the high pressure and the approaching TROF. If we jumped at every speculation in the last 24 hours - we would have evacuated the ENTIRE Gulf Coast from Tampa to Brownsville! It's just going to have to be a wait and see for a bit more...
Thank you all for keeping us common folks in the loop of what is acutally happening. I work a Loyola University in NO and the new students just arrived today as classes start on Monday.. I'm afraid most will be trapped if it hits here.

No one in the city is worrying about this at all, its really ridiculous. I will wait until tomorrow morning to decide what to do but I figure to be heading to Austin, TX for a long weekend.
us amet wake up im not getting through to you..hurricane force winds will extend outwards from the eye 150 to 200 miles....you are not dealing with the same storn fla dealt with..you are dealing with and andrew and an ivan....now do you get my drift...
I will continue to post this until NO is in the clear of the storm surge. Does anyone have an animated link to what a 15-25 foot storm surge would do to NO? That would be a great link because I am not sure that everyone is taking the time to read this.


This is really what would happen!
One thing I did notice - and I know this short period of time does not infer a motion - but the Dry Tortugas *almost* made it inside the eye - but now the eye has pulled definitively further north.
Stormtop I love your info.

Is it just me or has this image gotten really strange looking the last few loops? Is that massive outflow?

Ok stormtop....I need a prediction.......where, when, and how strong????????....a city.....and no revising...
rain the nhc knows exactly where katrina is going by shifting the track westward over 150 miles...you can be sure it will be shifted west again time is running out and even if the trough would come down it would have no bearing..this thing has been moving wsw all day long man and you expect it to take a ratical ne turn with the size of the system you are dealing with ..you are in dreamland...
Hey evryone, just want to put in my 2 cents. It is way to early to make an acurrate prediction of what Katrina will do. Until it makes its turn, which could be tonite,tomorrow, or even Sunday, there is really no need to panic and evacuate. All you should be doing is preparing which you should have done back in june anyway. When the storm makes its turn, then officials will have a better idea of landfall. Just watch your local news and wait.
just keep it east of Sabine...
looking at the key west loop....it definitely has began a different direction than from before....its gaining latitude for the first time in 24 hours...
602. Selu
My prediction, not that it matters: Landfall as a Cat 4 in New Orleans.

This is an uneducated guess, but from the hints that have been posted here and elsewhere, as far as military bases evacuating expensive jets and such, I'm guessing New Orleans, Monday morning, Category 4.
weather boy you have it already...cat 5 180mph west of grand isle to pass christian miss...
look toward the african coast

The Dry Tortugas weather station observations is currently gusting up to 85 mph with pressure dipping below 28.00" I see a stall. I have seen it for hours I know it takes a long time to steer something like this but it is just not moving but is already a CAT 3.
606. Selu

You don't live in New Orleans, do you? You've never been in an evacuation in a city of that size, have you?

Anyone who needs hotel reservations right now is screwed if they want to stay south of Jackson.

Evacuation should begin tomorrow morning from New Orleans. If you wait any longer, you'll be stuck in traffic for hours upon hours.
I found this link of possible storm surge effects in NO

nope, i havent had time to read all the blogs......ok great, I respect that.....seems very possible.....
ST - I'll just remind you that 24 hours ago the NHC had the storm going to just off the Tampa coast heading north... They are way off from that prediction now... Where do you think they will predict 24 hours from now...? =:)
Lets hold off congratulating peoples forecast(ie guess) until it actually hits. OK
Hi guys, as a newbie to all of this, but a veteran of Charlie, I'm wondering how the NHC can say it is wsw movment. It looks to me off the Key West Radar that it either has stalled or is slowly wnw??
then there is this on another part of the website i just listed

dr. jeff has new bog out.
it wont be tallahassee or panama city or pensecola..this is a alabama louisians ans miss storm....
Im going with Panama city, Fla. ,,,150mph..2am Monday morning
StormJunkie: this might work:

flooding map of NO
Hey guys, Jeff just updated. He thinks the dry air will stop the intensification before it reaches cat 4. What do you guys think? Dry air hasn't slowed it down much before.
nolamommy, some churches in Jackson, MS area along I-55 will have open doors, storm shelters, food, and a place to stay. I think if you could make a few calls ahead, you could probably locate a shelter.

Thank you for pointing out that Mobile Bay would be another really bad place for Katrina to come ashore. When Hurricane Danny (a Cat1 storm) came thru several years ago, it came into Mobile Bay and stayed for almost 3 days! We would go to bed at night each night, thinking that it would surely be over when we woke up, but it continued for DAYS. There were spots inland that received almost 30 inches of rain. The rivers were overflowing their banks all over Baldwin County.

Hurricane Georges also fed off of Mobile Bay and stayed for a day or two, instead of the usual 4-5 hours.

Since hurricanes feed off of water, you really don't want it to land anywhere that has a large body of water that it can feed off of.

Good luck and prayers for all.
toyotaman this must be killing you all the questions i been getting..dont it get you pissed especially when you laughed at me when i first came out with it.....you need to listen to somebody i dont where you live.....but if you live in the bullseye i would get out...
Stormtop, quit antagonizing people, i know your good at it, but just stop it.....
Thanks to all - I live in Hattiesburg, MS about 1 mile from USM, my neice is a first year student at USM, she lives with me. Originally from the North - so I am new to the hurricane seasons . . thanks for all of your help
you right im out of here i got to do lots of things...later tonight gang i will give my 11pm update.....just listen to your local news tonight and remember tomorrow is the key day even though the models have switched left...i thiink it will shift again later tomorrow more to the west...
624. WSI
She is moving very erraticaly right now, but motion overall the past few hours has been due west.
Yes, it appears that she hsa resumed a West movement.
628. JeffM
If your not seeing new posts on this blog after refreshing, look below the last post and there is a button to press to SHOW ALL posts.

hey thanks was wondering why i couldn't post
I'm still guessing based on my limited chances to check things at my office this comes onshore near Pascagoula as a mid-level Cat 3. We have people that work for us down in Pascagoula. They evacuated when Dennis came ashore and will now.

The nightmare scenario would be the inundation and destruction of the city of New Orleans. Personally if a storm hits just right, New Orleans may not be habitable for a very long time, if at all.

It IS below sea level.....

aren't the roofs of most buildings under sea level too ?
hey all amback
I believe so. I used to have a close friend in the New Orleans area. She's the daughter of my next-door neighbor. Her family (husband and children) just moved to Georgia.

634. flick
nolamommy -

Head to Jackson, MS. The Red Cross opens a shelter there, probably still at the fairgrounds. If you can't find it, stop at Tourist Information as you come into Jackson from New Orleans.

They should have the shelter open pretty early, as people along the coast will evacuate early, from Grand Isle and such.

If you go to the shelter, it'll cost you nothing but the gas to get there. We evac'd one year, '92 iirc. Red Cross was GREAT. They house you, feed you, etc. They got in big screen TVs, books, games for the kids.

Take some towels, washrags, change of clothes and bedding, pillows with you. Don't forget to pack your important paperwork (birth certificates, etc.). Can't take pets in the shelter, but the local humane society was helping evacuees with that, when I went. Also, there was a vet with a big kennel and reasonable rates, not far from the fairgrounds.

Save your money. If you're going to leave town, go to the RC shelter - it's for people like you and me, who can't afford Days Inn ;-).
I just took a look at the NO weather page. NWS forcast for monday calls for 140 mph wind gusts, but in the advisories area it is blank. What's up with that?
Amazing, if only we knew what was about to unfold. Anyone else reading this will agree, Katrina was the worst Hurricane of the decade unless the unthinkable happens in 2009.