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Time to watch the Western Caribbean

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 10:37 PM GMT on October 13, 2005

The large upper level low pressure system that has been anchored over the ocean between Bermuda and Puerto Rico the past week has finally begun to lift northwards. As a result, the amount of wind shear over the western Caribbean has begun to drop today, resulting in an increase in thunderstorm activity over a weak low pressure area centered 150 miles southeast of Jamaica. However, there is no edivence of any upper-level outflow setting up, or any low-level spiral banding. The wind shear over the disurbance is still a rather high 10 - 20 knots, which should prevent any tropical development through Friday. However, the global computer models are forecasting this shear to drop below 10 knots by Saturday, which could allow a tropical depression to develop. Now that it is mid-October, the western Caribbean is the primary area we need to be concerned about for tropical storm development. Water temperatures are still very high there, up to 32 C near Jamaica. Historically, the worst hurricanes to form in the last half of October have all been western Caribbean hurricanes.

Any development that occurs this weekend would appear to primarily be a threat to Honduras and Nicaragua, according to the UKMET, NOGAPS, and GFS models. Let's hope the atmosphere is not setting up for a repeat of 1998's Hurricane Mitch, which formed in the western Caribbean in late October and hit Honduras as a Category 5 hurricane, killing over 10,000.

Figure 1. Current Sea Surface Temperatures compiled by NOAA's AOML.

Cape Verdes tropical disturbance
A concentrated are of thunderstorms has developed about 450 miles southwest of the Cape Verdes Islands this afternoon. While there is no surface circulation apparent on satellite imagery yet, some modest upper-level outflow has developed to the north, and the system is headed towards an area of low wind shear. Some further development of this system is possible over the next few days as it tracks west-northwest over the open ocean. Tropical storms devloping this far east in mid-October are never a threat to the Caribbean or North America; only the Azores Islands needs to be concerned about development in this region.

New England
New England, and particularly the New York City region, continues to get soaked by an endless stream of tropical moisture. Several small low pressure areas have formed along the axis of disturbed weather stretching from New York southeastwards towards Bermuda, but wind shear is too high and water temperatures too marginal for any significant tropical development to occur in this region. The axis of the line of disurbed weather is forecast to move slowly northeast in to Maine this weekend, finally bringing an end to the rains.

Jeff Masters
Dock Under Water at High Tide During Storm
Dock Under Water at High Tide During Storm

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

first wow that never happens
hey what up yall were is my laughting buddy wannabe lol
So, Wilma and Alpha maybe? I'm sticking with getting to Gamma now.
Left, would you agree that we are seeing a series of N'oysters now (sorry that's the way I learned the word). Those that are affecting the northeast now with the flooding rains and high tides?
Hiya :)
Been pretty good weather here in The Bahamas for the past few days and I hope that the season eases up for everyone in the region.
Just to add a little to the weather theme here ... here are two links to tracks I produced in response to situations surrounding tropical storms:

For Frances and Jeanne, I produced this track for my son:


For Katrina (Before I knew it was Katrina) I produced this simple track:

Press Play when you get to the page to hear them.
Hope it brings a smile to you all :)
well like i said anylow pressure system that moves up the coast is considered a nor'easter. and they can happen any time of the year. just more likley to occur here in the fall and winter. what they saw was not a true nor'easter and that pic u see is of a lake or river and not the coast. it was high due to flooding not surge
From the "Glossary of Weather and Climate with Related Oceanic and Hydrologic Terms," published by the American Meteorological Society:
"Northeast storm: A cyclonic storm of the East Coast of North America, so called because the winds over the coastal area preceding the storm's passage are from the northeast. They may occur at any time of the year but are most frequent and most violent between September and April."
Thanks, Left. Understand now.
Im sorry Lefty...It takes me so long to type that I missed youre comments..Its great seeing you on again. That video clip is only posted because its the one that shows a roof being lifted off and destroyed which was featured on Fox News and CNN the following day. It was around 11:20 am CDT when that footage was captured. The winds had just begun reaching hurricane force around 11 am or so. It would be another two hours before the Forrest County EOC would officially record a wind gust of 100 mph before its anemometer was disabled. I also recorded a wind gust of 104.8 mph myself with my hand held anemometer at roughly the same time. I didn't attempt any further observations thereafter because the ferocity of the winds increased dramatically through 1:40 pm CDT. There was a recorded gust of 114 mph before instrument failure at the Ellisville TV station which is another 20 miles or so north of my location around 1:30 pm CDT. Even more astonishing is the 110 mph measurement recorded by the JOnes County EOC in Laurel, MS. which is a full 35 miles further north of my location prior to its anemometer failing at about 2 pm CDT.

I will be back in a few, I need to update my blog with my rebuttal to Dr. Powells theory.
yeah its cool. they are so worse during the fall and winter is becasue thewy feed off of the temp differenc between really cold artic air and the warm gulf stream. because of this they tend to form right off nc and right on a frontal boundary. you will usually have a high over ne and that helps to enhance the north east winds and surge on the land. also u need a strong jet stream as it helps the storm to breath like a hurricane does with its out flow. in these systems shear has no effect. if needs it to bomb out. when a low bomb outs it usually will drop 24 or more mbs in 24 hrs. the worst snow storms in the mid-atlantic and north east have been from nor'easters. its our hurricanes. becasue that time opf year the jet stream will follow the coast they tend tomove up the coast and pound the whole coast line befor the rapidly exit out to sea. the problem is if you have a building high in place they can sit ofshore and spin for up to a week dumping tons of snow and ice on the copast as well as reshape the land. the blizzard of 96 was a very slow moving nor'easter. it snowed here in va for 3 days. we had 30" of snow in that time frame. last year the 3 majoprnor'easters we saw although there were more, were very fast moving and did minimal damage. i expect this year will be much like 96 and due to the fact that 95 was such a bad year for canes and we had a hell of a winter aftwards.
yeah chaser. always good to se eu on man
The flooded dock noted as Shelter Island is between the North and South Forks of Long Island NY. Sustained northeast winds easily flood the shallow bays.
Sir Left. I agree. Think the spins will keep coming and will have numerous northeasters this year. Shame that they can't have names.
yeah hurigo. will be a bad winter.
88, thanks. Especially high tides, better then Hurricanes
"Bad" like "beauty" is in the eye of the beholder. Wonderous weather. Having it and Being safe, not so bad. Being in danger, not so good.
88, so that view we see in the pic, would be a north facing doc. Sustained winds (subjective term) of what speed?
P. S. I'll bet you that most on this blog are Sep Oct Nov babies. We were born into it.
I for one am a December child, but the last two Decembers have had TSs.
i was born in june but my first memory was of being in a cane when i was 2
So much for my theory. June and Dec babies have the bug too. I'll have to check to see if they are all earth, or water signs. What is it that makes us so fascinated by it. I'm still searching.
Left, if okay with you, please tell us your memory of enduring a storm at age two. Were you frightened and fascinated?
October Baby

looks threatening :-)
And, tornadodoty: (Love the "handle") Name suggest familiarity with tornadoes, which I find especially terrifying. Do you remember weather in your childhood that spurred your fascination?
Hate Hurricanes. I think us October babies hate them most of all!
The island has harbors and docks on all sides.
Hi all, it's been very interesting to read all comments on Katrina's categories in Dr. Jeff's earlier blog, thanks. I have been saying the large disturbance will split and that at least one, probably weo storms will come out of it. Now it's time to keep an eye on the Caribbean, agree with you tornadoty, I have for days. I also think we will get to Beta or Gamma, no doubt in my mind! This is a very special season and will be recoreded in history, with Vince as a specialty. The horrible Stan should have gotten more attention, those people have nothing, hardly any gov. aid if compared to Katrina's victims. And now, with what's cooking near Jamaica may go their way again, uh... :(
88, sorry I don't do links. The island you refer to, is Long Island?
I guess I'm like Vince, nother curiosity - February child. But maybe I don't count, since born in Finland :)
Water sign, can that help? deep sea fish lol
Well, Finn. I expect this is especially fascinating for you. Any comment you would care to share about your fascination with weather. (And if you are now in the south, I guess you do not get SADD?)
well i lived in hawaii at the time. had memories of the beach and the base as both my parents were in the marines. we lived on the island of ohau which si where the capital honolulu is located. some do not know that each isalnd has a name and the big island is actuall called hawaii and the capital is on the next isalnd in the chain ohau. so i remebr it was raining really hard. harder than i had ever seen and my mom was outside trying to get somethings put away and my sister was cryiong. she was older than me so she was more intune to the situation than i was. we moved all the furniture and set up pillows and blankets in the living room. pretty bad now that i think about it cause we had tons of windows but all our rooms had tons of windows. the ocean was 200 yards from my house but we faced the north side of the isalnd so surge was no concern. i remebr my dad trying to explain to me what was wrong as i did not understand. i remebr seeing shapes in the rain and thinking they were monsters and every one was afraid of the monsters lol. like looking at clouds u see differenrt shapes same thing with these sheets of rain. thats when we lost power. it was just egtting dark and we heard all kinds of noises and the wind was so loud. i though the monsters were right out side but no i was not afraid. i layed with my sister bewtewen my mom and dad and fell asleep desp[ite the noise. when we awoke the next morning there were palm trees down all over the front yard and cocunuts every where. normally they only fall when they are ripe but they fell even though they were green lol. i remebr eating cocunuts in my front yard. they were so good. we had no power for a cpuple of weeks and my mom tried to make thanksgiving dinner on the grill. it was around thanksgiving when the strom hit. she didn;t cook the turkey right and we all got sick lol. the base was just destroyed. it doesn;t help that the base is in honolulu which is ontop of a moutain so the winds were alot worse there. hangers were flattened and the main complex lost its roof. thats pretty muich most of what i rember
Thanks, Sir Left, for the important details report, even though you are a Jun which messes w/my theory. However... never mind. I've been to Oahu and remember how surprised I was to learn of all those islands. Sorry your sister was crying, but glad that the coconuts even though green were edible (want one now!). Sounds as though the family was aware and prepared; that's important. Except don't know what to blame the poor t-giving dinner on. Guess grills cooked the outside, but not the interior.
So fascinated w/Sir Left's account, havent had time yet to do my research on the water and earth signs---and I used to know it by heart. Got to do some quick calcs on that. Please, though, love to hear more stories about how we each were so moved to weather that brought us here and now.
When I was seven, the town where I use to live (Lynwood, IL) was strick by a very, very severe thunderstorm. The official call was a powerful microburst/gustnado combination, but there were signs of possible tornadic damage. Some of the damage was of F2 intensity, with entire roofs blown off and entire corners of well-built homes knocked over. In what at that time was a town of 5000-7000 people, $3,000,000 in damage occurred. Also, in the hours after that storm, the town had to be closed from the outside because of the severe damage.

My family and I moved to Schererville, IN in 2000. On July 17, 2003, we had a vicious supercell move over our town. It actually originated north of Chicago, and as it moved through the city, lightning struck City Hall and started a small fire. As it continued SSE, it became a prolific hail and wind producer. There were tornado warnings, but no tornadoes actually occurred. The sky was a forest green color (refer to your box of Crayola Crayons), along with several shades of pink, yellow, and tons of black. My mom and I were on the way home from Calumet City (NNW of our house, bordering the city of Chicago), where, at that time, I was taking piano lessons. The storm was moving so fast that it actually caught up with us. By the time we got home, golf ball sized hail was falling from the sky. When we pulled up to the driveway, we realized that the power was out in our home, and we had no way of getting into the garage. My dad, who was in the house, could have opened it, but it probably would have compromised that half of the house (our neighbor behind us had his garage open, and his blew away. The difference between his house and my house being that there is nothing above his garage. My room is above my garage. My dad was smart not opening it). As my mom and I were sitting in the driveway, the winds literally rose to ~95-100 MPH, WITH HIGHER GUSTS, and with TENNIS-BALL-SIZED HAIL still falling. The back half of our house looked like the mafia got a hold of it with all of the holes in our siding, but, luckily, no one was injured. But, for several minutes, I was literally waiting to see the houses that can be seen between our house and our neighbors' house start to explode. I seriously thought, with the incredible wind and hail, that there would be a monstrous rain-wrapped tornado like the Plainfield, IL tornado of 1990.
8888 you must be very young to post those "Cat 5 hurricane's coming"-blogs. However it can be very harmful and there is no room here for that kind of jokes, a cane is often a question of life and death. Some day you'll understand. CCR :)
Hurigo, thanks for asking. I'm in Finland right now visiting, but moved from Helsinki to Palm Beach County FL last March and started to educate myself with hurricane knowledge, since my new home was in the prime area. Got the hurricane kit and all, after watching weather channel. Then we got Katrina, eye predicted right where we live. I was excited but aware of the danger. Then Katrina changed course at the last moment and went south. My husband lived in FL when he was in college, so he's one of those "ah, we'll be ok"-type people, so one day I may save his a@@ and mine too. Anyway, following TS and studying, I got hooked. I love natural sciences, have gone through two big earthquakes in Asia, studied them too. This is the most fascinating and productive learning I've had for years. Thanks to you all pros and amateurs!
ps Lefty, don't ever go away from here and ignore attacks. A stay home dad is a treasure!
Oh my heavens, Tornadoty, what an account. I shivvered as I read your account. Imagine being chased home from piano lessons and outrun and yet you seemed to remain calm. (I hope you went in and pounded the keyboard afterwards.)
sry ignorance, whats a SADD?
Sadd =seasonal affective disorder. Those in the northern latitudes deprived of light, adversely affects mood. Thank goodness you now have FL to give you light.
Evening, all.... Walking down the "storm" memory lane, tonight, huh? I don't remember Hazel, tho I was around for that one. Vaguely remember Gracie. Most of the others have faded into memory, since that period was the slow part of the cycle. Hugo, now, did leave me shell shocked. No damage to any of the houses on our end of the street, by some miracle. Trees and debris all over the place. I used to love thunderstorms and watching the lightning. Now, tho, when the wind picks up, and the trees are waving their arms, I get the jim jams. I packed bags and left overnight when Floyd blew thru. Amazingly, missed getting caught in one of the nation's biggest parking lots on the Interstate leaving town. Had friends who were stuck in it for 18-20 hours or more. Now, they reverse the lanes, making the whole thing westbound, away from the coast. That's what I noticed during Katrina and Rita. All the news clips were 3-4 lanes in one direction, jam packed, and one or two cars, going their merry way, in the direction of town. Weird.
Power was out for 3.5 to 4 hours that night.

Also, the last storm, severe thunderstorm watch issued AFTER THE STORM and the forecast that day: 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms, anything that develops could be strong/severe, but the severe forecast was pretty marginal. Two squall lines ended up forming that evening, one out of the supercell that passed over the house, and one that passed over us in a weakening state later that night. The supercell gave us 3.5 inches of rain in 30 minutes, which, in conjunction with the storm being part of the wettest and most severe July on record for our area, caused a great deal of flooding. Another storm several nights later dumped 10-15 inches in a 2-3 hour period!
Finn, well you have had a cultural "shock." Florida hurricane diversion and Asian earthquake. It all is fascinating. So you got the weather bug in FL prepping for hurricane? nothing before that you can attribute to your start?
thanks, Palmetto. Glad you were able to get out of Floyd.
Another couple interesting tidbits:
That 4th of July weekend gave our area 2 derechos, one with gusts recorded at up to 106 MPH in Rockford, toppling a TV station's tower and then going on to severely damage or destroy homes on the south side of the city.

The power lines on the main street just west of our house are a little crooked. They lean in the direction of which the storm's winds were blowing.
Palm, understand well the jim-jams.
Yeah. Me, too. It took us 7 hours, tho, to do the 3 hour drive to a relative's house, upstate. Had no roadmap in the car. Now, I do. Both vehicles. I know some places may not be able to reverse lanes, but it does work. Also, too many people are in the habit of thinking that the Interstate is the only way out of town, since they always use it. There are such things as secondary roads. We now have sections of town, that are assigned different routes, and they're not all on the Interstate.
AH, Haa! Most of you are water or earth signs. Maybe I was right! Finn earth or water, Left, earth or water. Sorry Doty you're the outlier either Fire or Air--I'm betting Air from your accounts.
Posted on last Blog update:

Hello, all! Decided to chime in about this fascinating subject... My girlfriend's family lives in Biloxi, MS, and decided to ride out the storm. Their house must have been the best built house in the neighborhood. About six trees fell on and around the house, but not a single brick or shingle is missing. Brick houses, good against wind (Three Little Pigs), utterly useless against a 25-30+ foot storm surge. After watching and anticipating this monster storm blow up into a massive Cat 5 and make its way up north, we could only sit and ponder what happened to the Gulf Coast.

Two days later, we grabbed some gas, essentials such as food and water and drove up there to see if her family was fine, and to see the destruction. The I-110 bridge was not knocked out, but she decided to take a longer way, and go up Back Bay Biloxi. The Bay flooded, as Katrina's storm surge filled it with an excess of at least 15' of water. Entire homes were muddied and destroyed by the floodwaters. We finally got through the roads safely, dodging the downed trees, powerlines that we hoped were not active (6 5-gallon tanks of gas for the cars and generators in the back of our car) and plywood with nails in them.

Her family survived, and was in good spirits throughout the whole ordeal. We stayed there for three days without electricity, and finally, on the second day of being there, ventured out to Highway 90, Beach Blvd, to see the destruction.

We went towards Point Cadet, East Biloxi and Casino Row, where the most damage in Biloxi was felt. The casinos were floating barges. As you can imagine, one of the casinos, named Casino Magic, wasn't so magical and floated up the beach while at the same time splitting apart, the smaller piece floating into a historic apartment building and finally coming to a stop right next to it, and hte larger piece floated right over Highway 90 and deposited on the other side. The largest structure on the coast, The Beau Rivage Hotel and Casino, had extensive damage on its coastward face, but was actually livable above the second story, where most of the floading took place. The Hard Rock Casino was slated to open Sept 17, but Katrina destroyed half of it, and the guitar statue outside still stands. Most of the other casinos were either listing against its own parking garage (Isle of Capri), or on the other side of Highway 90. The bridge that connected Biloxi and Ocean Springs was totally wiped out, except for the middle, which curiously survived.

Biloxi was a place that I fell in love with, since I went to school at Keesler AFB, when I was in the Navy, and believe it or not, it was weather forecasting I was studying. I still am in love with the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and used to enjoy going down Highway 90 from Pascaguala all the way into Waveland. I will enjoy it again, even though I currently live in Orlando, FL. I have plans to move back at the end of November, and I will gladly pick up a hammer to help this community, MY community, rebuild.

The winds were powerful, the waves were harsh, but they couldn't break the spirit of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, in my opinion the forgotten survivors of Katrina. I will not forget, and the truth be told, anyone that tries to deny the fact that Katrina was a severe storm is doing a disservice to the survivors, who do not care what Category she was on an arbitrary hurricane scale. They saw that "Katrina" was just another name for "Destruction", and will hopefully never, ever think that they can survive another one and take it for granted.

The reason my girlfriend's family stayed, "Well, we lived through Camille..." But you've never seen her wicked sister Katrina, until now...
Actually, Hurigo, my name is Tony. I know it's hard to tell. I just was lazy when I made made my handle. I used tornado and ty, the first and last letters of my first name. :) If you get confused, just do like Lefty does, call me torn.
Yes, Palm. I love those secondary routes. They have saved me many times, as well as relatives north and inland. EVERYONE: Keep a map in your car! And (present season excepted) the interstates aren't too bad when you're coming back, who cares if the power is out.
Just 'cause you make it thru one, don't mean you'll make it through another. They're all different. And besides, houses age, and Camille was a long time ago. Our place made it through Hugo, and only lost one shingle, but I wouldn't put money or my life on the line to stay for another one.
Oh, and Weatherspirit, glad your friend and their family came out ok.
whoops sorry lol didn't mean to post the "..." ..wrong window
hurigo, I did go through a typhoon, you just reminded me, in Taiwan 1973 or -74. The roof of our neighbor blew off, and I went outside to take a photograph. The flood on the main street (Dung Chiao Dong LU) was up to my thighs and I was in the middle of HISTORY. But it was Dennis in July that got me into NOAA and other satellite loops, then this blog just few days ago. It's almost 4 am in Finland, I'm supposed to work (write my next book) but this blog ruins it all :) I guess book has to wait till season's over. lol
Hope you don't mind me posting this again on the new update missmtsam. This was too important not to be posted again...

Posted By: missmtsam at 11:29 PM GMT on October 13, 2005.

I have read Dr. Masters' post, as well as everyone's comments, with great interest. I live in Bay St. Louis, MS (Hancock County). Our county was literally ground zero for this storm. While we did have unprecedented flood damage and destruction, there was also significant wind damage. To think that Katrina was a category 1 hurricane at landfall in Mississippi is simply ludicrous. If that were the case, a category 3+ storm would have wiped our county off the map. Oh, wait, Katrina already did that!!!! Even 8-10 miles inland there are steel billboards snapped in two, well above any height there could have been water; our forests look like bombs exploded in them, and there are roofs and building material scattered as far as the eye can see. Chimneys were blown off houses, trees are down literally everywhere, and cars are overturned.

I must admit that water did significant damage to a large part of our county. However, I can't fathom how a category 1 hurricane could have caused a storm surge sufficient enough to wipe an entire county off the map. There are no homes standing within several blocks of the beach. From that area of total destruction to 5-10 miles inland, every home and business was flooded, many by as much as 20+ feet of water. Estimates are that 85% or more of the homes in our county are not livable. With all the destruction hurricane Camille (reportedly the worst storm in our history) caused, it is nothing like the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.

I do not know what the wind speeds were for Katrina, whether recorded or not. I know that I sat in a covered brick carport in Gulfport 2 miles inland and watched most of the storm. I saw whole trees and lawns uprooted and roofs blown away. The brick home we stayed in shook, howled, and groaned (but stood!) It took 24 hours after the storm before we were able to get around the downed trees and debris to even make our way to our home in Hancock County. We exited interstate 10 on highway 603 and drove 5 miles south to our home, which is still 8-10 blocks from the beach, and there was absolutely nothing left along 603. Our home was still standing, though had 4 feet of water. We are in zone C, at 23 feet. That was definitely water damage. However, every tree in our yard is uprooted, every shingle on our roof is gone, our siding has been stripped from the house (although the brick structure still stands). That is definitely wind damage, not water. I just cannot see how a category 1 could cause that much damage. Hurricane George several years ago was a category 3 and it did not do anywhere near that much damage to our house. Granted, we were on the "good" side of the storm for that one, but it is still unbelievable. If this storm is re-classified, then there must be another system created to classify the intensity of hurricanes. I have to say I have honestly never seen anything like this in my life, and hope to never see it again.

Lefty, torn, great stories. thx
The interstate was fine, coming back from Floyd, they reversed the lanes the next day, so people could get back. Don't know why they messed up the day before. Well, they learned. We had power, but water had been forced through around the back door, and my kitchen and pantry was flooded.
hurigo - water sign here
Weatherspirit, great account. Thank you. So glad that you will be picking up the hammer. GBWY.
Anytime LakeWorthFinn.
Finn, my goodness, how much you have experienced! That's a good book right there. (Water signs right the best books!) Now get back to work-- or take a few more moments to be even more inspired. I do wish that you would later give an opinion on season affective disorder (especially as a Finn) the effect of sunlight deprivation especially on those in the northern latitudes. I'm sorry that I have to leave now, but certainly have enjoyed these stories and hope to hear more. Thank you all so much.
Torn, acknowledge. Sorry I called you Doty. I think tornadoty sounds like wizard of oz an wasn't her name dorothy? I can tell by your post that you see how easily it can be confused. Too late too change now, but I will remember to properly address you in future, Tonado!
See ya hurigo.
Palm, can't remember the name of the storm, as there were so many, but when I came back, I was just about the only one on the road. Made an amazing difference in interstate driving, it was pleasureable not to have lines of traffic running bumper to bumper at 80 mpr. I was about the only one on the road-- and because E was out, there were no message boards to warn what was ahead. I was glad to be home and our block was about the only one in the n-b-hood w/electricity. I should have known that when I got close to home and saw people in two block lines to get the free ice, etc.
Torn, checked your blog. Suspected, with your handle, that you were from tornado country.
Hurrigo, do you remember about what year that was?
Any of ya'll ever check out MODIS? They have some great pics in their gallery.
Finn, I checked your blog, inspired by someone else's comment about Tony the Tornado. Love your marsupials, the closest I come to that is my oppossum. And, love the dogs and winter trees too.
Palm, it was Isobelle.
I must say I am also waiting on this report of Katrina, missmtsam's account is like many I have heard and experienced, being from further east in Ocean Springs, MS. Only thing wrong with the account is Georges was actually a cat 2 in 1998, but strong one at 105 mph i believe, that though came right over biloxi/ocean springs and did pretty much nothing to the casinos you now see scattered all over the place. Katrina was centered over the Bay St. Louis area and the casinos in Biloxi were in some instances a quarter of mile from their initial location. How could a cat 1 at N.O do this when it got to MS when a strong Cat 2 (Georges) centered DIRECTLY over the area not? This has got to be explained in some way. I also think Keesler AFB got a 174 mph wind gust of short duration at the time of George...but my memory may be incorrect. Anyways, the point is made, and comparing Georges to Katrina may help find the true strength of of this storm.
Oh, yeah, I remember her blowing past us here. Nasty.
Goofed on my link previously. Realized as soon as I hit post. Rats.
Hey Lefty, doc, sj, torn, etc., any new update on the western carribean?
I thoght you left hurigo, just sent you an email saying I'll comment SADD in the near future. Maybe this is not the place to do that, not very interesting I guess. Glad you liked photos, not a very good, but they are exotic because so far away from USA. I WILL start taking pics in FL soon
Hey, checked your pics out, too, and they ARE very good. I have a thing for black and white photos. Saw a local exhibit of Ansel Adams last year. Your shot of the sun and the monument was great.
Hey everyone..I just read Dr. Masters new blog.. Hurricane Mitch was a powerful category five with 185 mph sustained winds and a b.p. of 905 mb at peak strength but became stationary and eventually drifted south into Honduras if I'm not mistaken as a weak category one hurricane at official landfall. The winds were the reason for all the devastation and thousands of deaths. It was all attributed to Mitch stalling and drifting near and into this area with astronomical rains that triggered mudslides similar to what Stan has done in other parts of Central America. Its important to also realize, Mitch was a very large storm as well. I remember it well because it was forecast to move into the Southern Gulf of Mexico and instead stalled and ultimately drifted slowly southward and weakened down to a cat. one at landfall. I have every tropical depression that has developed on VHS since 1991. Consequently, I ave more than 150 videos in my personal library. Hurricane history is something I have been studying since I was only 14 back in 1984.
Could someone please politely mention that Mitch wasn't a category five when it struck Honduras.
I looked around, the gust was measured at 171.
I also thought i would post some pictures my dad took, mostly from inside the Beau Rivage Casino in biloxi, many from the surrounding area in Biloxi/Gulfport. If you some with a bunch of dead trees, there used to be houses...just clarifying.
I believe that the casinos were damaged by the significant surge that katrina brought and that is not disputed to have been cat 5 surge. Obviously much greater than georges. Also if this gust in georges was a true reading it was probably from tornadic winds not from the hurricane itself.
"caribbean" :)
Correction for huge typo..

the winds were NOT the reason for the devastation...

Posted By: hurricanechaser at 1:33 AM GMT on October 14, 2005.
Hey everyone..I just read Dr. Masters new blog.. Hurricane Mitch was a powerful category five with 185 mph sustained winds and a b.p. of 905 mb at peak strength but became stationary and eventually drifted south into Honduras if I'm not mistaken as a weak category one hurricane at official landfall. The winds were the reason for all the devastation and thousands of deaths. It was all attributed to Mitch stalling and drifting near and into this area with astronomical rains that triggered mudslides similar to what Stan has done in other parts of Central America. Its important to also realize, Mitch was a very large storm as well. I remember it well because it was forecast to move into the Southern Gulf of Mexico and instead stalled and ultimately drifted slowly southward and weakened down to a cat. one at landfall. I have every tropical depression that has developed on VHS since 1991. Consequently, I ave more than 150 videos in my personal library. Hurricane history is something I have been studying since I was only 14 back in 1984.
Could someone please politely mention that Mitch wasn't a category five when it struck Honduras.

No doubt that the surge moved those casinos, but from what I gather you gotta have wind to move that water, and for Biloxi to be that far from Katrina's eye, supposedly a cat 1 hours earlier by Dr. Powells musings, and have that happen would just be quite unbelievable to me. We would have to look back at ALL the storms to see how we are measuring these things. I just find it hard to believe a storm weaker than Georges could put up a surge greater than Camille. Unless like a said, we reevaluate everything we know about hurricanes.
I must write faster than I think because I mess up alot hehe.
I am also mistaken.. actually Hurricane Mitch made landfall as a weak category two hurricane with 100 mph winds. Heres the official data from the post storm report from the NHC for Mitch.

"On the afternoon of the 26th, the central pressure reached a minimum of 905 mb, while the cyclone was centered about 50 n mi southeast of Swan Island. This pressure is the fourth lowest ever measured in an Atlantic hurricane, tied with Hurricane Camille in 1969. This is also the lowest pressure ever observed in an October hurricane in the Atlantic basin. Prior to Mitch, the strongest measured October hurricane in the northwest Caribbean was Hurricane Hattie in 1961 with a central pressure of 924 mb. At its peak on the 26th, Mitch's maximum sustained 1-minute surface winds were estimated to be 155 knots, a category five hurricane on the Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale.

After passing over Swan Island on the 27 October, Mitch began to gradually weaken while moving slowly westward. It then turned southwestward and southward toward the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras. The center passed very near the island of Guanaja as a category four hurricane. Mitch slowly weakened as its circulation interacted with the land mass of Honduras.

From mid-day on the 27th, to early on the 29th,the central pressure rose 59 mb. The center of the hurricane meandered near the north coast of Honduras from late on the 27th through the 28th, before making landfall during the morning of the 29th about 70 n mi east of la Ceiba with estimated surface winds of 85 knots and a minimum central pressure of 987 mb.

After making landfall, Mitch moved slowly southward, then southwestward and westward, over Honduras, weakening to a tropical storm by 0600 UTC 30 October, and to a tropical depression by 1800 UTC 31 October.

The overall motion was slow, less than 4 knots, for a week. This resulted in a tremendous amount of rainfall, estimated at up to 35 inches, primarily over Honduras and Nicaragua -- see Table 2. The heavy rainfall resulted in flash floods and mudslides that killed thousands of people. It is noted that a large east-west mountain range, with peaks approaching 10,000 feet, covers this part of Central America and this terrain likely contributed to the large rainfall totals. Some heavy rains also occurred in other portions of Central America."

Regardless, the point is that Hurricane Mitch was an incredibly devastating storm and thats Dr. Masters main point of emphasis I'm sure.

ahatt1, you're not typing with a fractured finger on your dominant hand, like I am.
Hurricanechaser, one small typo, Mitch was a cat. 2 when it landfalled in Honduras, BUT, Mitch sat over Swan Island, off the coast, for an inordinate amount of time, mush of which at cat. 5 intensity.
I believe that some serious reevaluation is needed. Lets look at a instance that cannot be explained. Andrew comes into florida as 922 mb (correct me if thats incorrect, going off memory) but 920ish mb storm yet I dont believe anyone could argue that the wind devastation was of a magnitude not seen. New estimates of 165 sustained are very beliveable. I personally believe from footage that the wind (not surge) damage from katrina are not comparable even though katrina had a significantly lower pressure. Some reevaluation has to be done when you have a strengthing storm as compared to a weakening storm.
I know how bad that sucks, broke the bone behind my ring finger playing football a few years ago...

Was also gonna ask if anyone knew other situations where a weakening cat 5 storm was able to keep up its surge this far and be a cat 1 at landfall with 5 surge? I can understand a strong 3 sustaining cat 5 surge, but nothing much less. We also got to take geography into account, that may be a bigger factor than we know.
very good point
actually i talked to a guy who experienced both Andrew and Katrina, feel sorry for him hehe (he's ok), but he said Andrew was worse in his eye so....
Paweatherfan, you were right on with Andrew's pressure. What needs to be taken into account is that Katrina was a MUCH, MUCH, MUUUUUCH larger storm than Andrew, and, therefore, the pressure difference was spread out across a larger area, and the winds were lower. I just happen to think that they were still in the category 4 range, but that we may never know for sure because most of the areas that would have been most severely impacted by the winds were decimated by surge and underwater.
Ya, I was gonna mention the fact that there are rivers and bayous all over the place down here, very much "inland," so it can be hard to tell how much the wind affected some areas because water was right there also, and thats when the insurance guys pull one on you, which they are very much doing to a lot of people down here.
Code1, just saw your comment, it looks like it could develop over the next few days and move into Central America like Mitch (hopefully not as devastating).
Just my theory but I strongly believe that a weakening systems winds weaken much faster then the pressure change has time to indicate. I believe the same can be true for a strengthing system even though it is believed that the winds catch up to pressure drop. Think about the winds in severe thunderstorms and how fast as the storm weakens the winds disappear ( maybe a bad example but I think you get the idea)As a strong cane starts to weaken teh wind may dramatically weaken even faster. The other part of this theory is that ground level winds weaken significantly while upper level wind remain relatively significant in a weakening storm. Again just a theory
MODIS shot of Katrina

Good point tornadoty
Not taking anything away from Katrina still a historical storm that will be looked at for quite a while!!
Leftyy....what do you think about Dr. Masters saying in his blog what I and others were talking about days ago?
The next area to be concerned about is the Western Caribean.
Thank you paweatherfan.
BUT ANYWAY the convection around that Jameica blob is really starting to fire this late at night....
hey Tornado..I realized my mistake as well..thats why I stated I am also mistaken just prior to your comment regarding my typo. Thats true about Swan Island which is why I posted all of that information as well. The point is that is wasn't a category five at landfall in Honduras. But this is not meant to be disrespectful, just remember Mitch making landfall at a much reduced intensity. The main point of focus is the massive destruction toll on property and lives not the storms classification. However, I thought is was still an important point to make since we all have been discussing powerful Katrinas possible downgrade.
Its also important to note that there are few if any residents that live on Swan Island.
Hey Paweatherfan,
you are absolutely correct in your statement that many times a huricanes wind speeds dont necessarily correspond to its barometric pressure especialy during significant intensity changes. However, this is not the issue regarding Kastrinas actual landfall intensity. Feel free to read my latest blog which details why I have no doubts that Katrina was absolutely NOT a category one at the Mississippi landfall. I was there to witness it first hand 60 miles inland and even then, it was stronger than a category one.
I want to thank you for the comment you left on my blog earlier and appreciate all of your excellent observations.
I did not mean to insult you hurricanewatcher. In fact, your correction wasn't up when I typed that comment. But, Mitch's damage wass from freshwater flooding, not surge. And yes, it really doesn't matter in the end what intensity a hurricane is. Any hurricane can be destructive.
Your welcome, hurricanechaser.
any coments on this spinning?
(Don't know how to make a direct link)

How is the shear on the Jamaica blob?
Thats even more impressive that you recalled Mitchs landfall intensity so well. I apologize if I came acrossed as being offended. In reality, I appreciated your observations and please feel free to correct me anytime I inadvertingly provide incorrect information. I'd much rather have someone point out my mistake than to pass along misinformation unintentionally. I am one of the worst typists, please forgive my many typos.. LOL :)
I have to get my little girl to bed but I want to let everyone on here know that I enjoy reading each of your comments and look forward to talking with you all again later. In the meantime, I hope you have a great night.
Hurricanechaser nice artical,
I agree cat1 it was not and to consider Kartina cat 1 is absurd. I wish we could get some instruments that can survive these storms to really have some hard evidence as to what the winds are. Anemoter blew off in Andrew at 164mph would love to know what the peak gusts may have been. Anyway, I agree cat 1 no way and you have made as valid an argument as any in the artical that would suggest cat 3 intensity.
It's ok, hurricanechaser.

Oh, and, uh, you've got mail.
my bed is calling me also
c ya tomorrow
I'v eupdated my blog with Hurricane Katrina Aftermath Photos...

Good night, everyone. It's been a pleasure tonight.
I saw your comment as I was exiting this blog and didn't want to leave without thanking you for your kind comments and I agree with your excellent observations and presumptions as well.
man I type too slow. I'm sorry I missed you Paweatherfan and Tornadoty...have a great night guys. LOL
night all, thank you all for great comments

may keep the person up all night

may cause lack of sleep

may cause you getting fired from your job because your too tired to work
theboldman hey there i think you got some there on your last post
128. dcw
Hey guys!

Since these systems probably won't be developing tonight, I'm wondering if there an any experienced DMs here? I've always wanted to try a full game of D&D, if you happen to be intrested go here, we can start in, say, 10 minutes, if a suitable DM can be found?
Not a "Scientist" but I did stay at...
New thing they just discovered - Inertia! Large circulations have to move a lot of air (mass) and take a long time to spin up - It seems that many in Florida expected Katrina to reach Cat 1 a lot faster than it did. Once it got going, it struck with a lot of energy here. I find it hard to believe that it could have lost so much velocity in such a short period of time in LA/MS.
September birthday here, if anyone was keeping a count..
Something interesting going on tonight here in the northeast. Is anybody monitoring what AccuWeather is calling a Rogue storm heading towards Long Island. JB is forecasting a strong storm surge and tropical storm force winds for the island.

arc, i read JBs column daily. I agree somewhat with what they have been saying about the storm hitting the northeast. Its the remnants of TD 22 and it seems to have held its low level circulation together very well via satellite. I wouldnt be suprised to see some wind gusts hit tropical storm force in that area but overall the storm doesnt look all that impressive. It will continue to compound the flooding problem in the northeast and im sure it will bring some tidal flooding with it.
I am one county north of Philadelphia and this area just set a record for October rainfall after the driest September on record. Been watching the radar signatures train over central Jersey and Long Island all night and now there is a huge swath of heavy rain moving in from the east i suspect flooding will be big news in that area tomorrow.
so storm you like to stay up late too
How's it going Jeff?
tooo bad cause this is when all the trolls lurk lol
Work nights.
its going good how about you
wow you must have a tough boss keeping you up so late
No more work til next week, so pretty good.
Just 2nd shift.

bosses are ok most of the time, but I am kinda head on 2nd shift.
then who do you work for that has shifts over night
sj put on head set
It is a production plant, but I would rather not name names since my views on this blog do not represent the company I work for.
now im squashed between two pancakes
oh ok right
Have a good night Jeff. It's game time.
oh boy two kids playing video games all night im gone talk to you all later
Okay Okay get our of here night crowd, I got to clean this place up for the morning crowd and don't forgot to put your bottles in the recycle bin and not the trash like last time (LOL)


Kick Dreamyland in the arse, grab some Joe and breathe in the fresh air (or smoggy air depending on where your from). Looks like me my late some action this weekend. I am already putting out the fish storm vibes..
Remember JohnsonWax. He did just what you are talking about and came on here spewing his own personal views with the name of his company as his tag. I was thinking, at the time that I would never do that on the board itself.
Seems that hurricane season finally ended for good
Don't speak to soon.....
Yeah, exactly. Don't speak too soon. CMC has a system developing south of Cuba and heading north skirting the Florida east coast. Another one?
"Tomorrow, I'll answer the question, If Katrina's winds were only of Category 1 stregth at landfall, how could she have carried a Category 5 storm surge to the coast?"

darn it! :( was looking forward to that too!
Good morning all!
Ive decided NO MORE storms
good mornin' all. I've updated my blog with Hurricane Katrina aftermath photos...

well at least here on the coast of North Carolina I can relax and not woorry about hurricanes for another year....it's 68 degrees outside....the forecast for the weekend has it down in the 40's at night..I love the fall....
Fall??? What's fall?
Hi Raemi!
Dr Jeff has a new blog.
Noticed that in the new blog Dr. Jeff changed "Tropical storms devloping [sic] this far east in mid-October are never a threat to the Caribbean or North America" to "Tropical storms devloping [sic] this far east in mid-October are very rarely a threat to the Caribbean or North America.

A wise decision.
WOW look at that Blob in the Carr. Cant believe there arent any invest models kicking in. looks like a depression already