Ida takes aim at the U.S. Gulf Coast

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 11:17 PM GMT on November 08, 2009

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Hurricane Ida burst into the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds this afternoon, and is poised to deliver a solid blow to the U.S. Gulf Coast between Southeast Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle on Tuesday morning. Radar imagery out of Cancun reveals that Ida has retained its tight inner core this afternoon, with only limited rain bands affecting Mexico and western Cuba. Top winds at Cancun, Mexico today were only 15 mph, despite the fact that Ida passed just 60 miles east of the city. Infrared and visible satellite loops show little change in the intensity of Ida's heavy thunderstorms this afternoon, but the cloud pattern is beginning to become distorted due to strong upper-level winds from the southwest that are creating 20 - 25 knots of wind shear over the hurricane. Water vapor satellite imagery reveals a large area of dry air to the southwest of Ida, but this dry air has not yet intruded into Ida's core. The latest 5:30 pm EST vortex report from the Hurricane Hunters showed that the central pressure had risen 1 mb, to 977 mb, but that the surface winds were still near 100 mph. They noted that the eyewall was open to the east, a sign that Ida's inner core may be in trouble.


Figure 1. MODIS satellite image from NASA's Terra spacecraft, taken at 1:35 pm EST 11/08/09. Image credit: NASA.

The intensity forecast for Ida
The high wind shear of 20 - 25 knots currently affecting Ida is forecast to persist at that level until Monday night. With the storm now beginning to show a distortion of the cloud pattern due to this shear, it would not be a surprise of the shear managed to inject some dry air into Ida's core Monday morning, significantly weakening the storm. Aiding this process will be cooler waters. Early Monday morning, Ida will be crossing over waters of 26°C, which is barely enough to support a hurricane. By Monday night, wind shear is expected to increase to 40 knots, which ordinarily would begin to tear the storm apart. This wind shear is due to an extratropical low pressure system over the western Gulf of Mexico, and this low will begin dumping cold, stable air into Ida Monday night through Tuesday. This will cause Ida to begin transitioning to an extratropical storm, and it is possible that during the transition Ida's winds will die down relatively slowly, despite the wind shear. The intensity forecast has a high amount of uncertainty, and I wouldn't be surprised at a landfall strength anywhere in the range of 45 mph - 80 mph. My personal best guess is a 50 - 60 mph tropical storm at landfall. Regardless of Ida's strength at landfall, the storm will be able to dump 4 - 8 inches of rain along the Gulf Coast, from New Orleans to Panama City. Isolated tornadoes will also be possible, primarily to the right side of Ida's track.


Figure 2. Maximum storm surge (depth of water above ground) for a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph winds moving north-northeast at 15 mph. Ida is expected to be moving at this speed and direction at landfall, but will probably be weaker, so surges will not be this high. Image credit: NOAA SLOSH model run for Mobile Bay, 2008 version. Heights are given relative to the NAVD88 datum.

The storm surge forecast for Ida
Storm surge is the other major concern for Ida. With a strong high pressure system anchored over the U.S. today, the pressure difference between this high and Ida is creating a strong pressure gradient that will drive tides 3 - 5 feet above normal from New Orleans to the Florida Panhandle tonight. As Ida approaches on Monday, an additional rise in water will occur, and a large stretch of coast will be subject to very high water levels for an extended period of time. With battering waves building Monday afternoon into Tuesday morning, a significant coastal erosion event is shaping up. A particular concern is the western end of Alabama's Dauphin Island, where storm surges from four hurricanes over the past fifteen years have caused heavy damage to the low-lying heavily developed island. If Ida makes a direct hit on Mobile Bay as a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph winds, a storm surge of up to six feet is possible there, assuming the storm hits at mean tide. The tidal range along the Gulf Coast varies by about 1.5 feet between low and high tide (Figure 3). High tide is near 2 am EST on Tuesday, but the official NHC forecast currently has the storm hitting between 6 am - 9 am, when the tide will be going out, so the storm may indeed be hitting at about mean tide.


Figure 3. The tide forecast for the Gulf Coast calls for high tide to occur around 2 am EST Tuesday morning. Ida is expected to hit later that morning, while the tide is going out.

I'll have an update Monday morning.

Links to follow:

U.S. Severe Weather Page
Cancun radar

Jeff Masters

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000
WTNT31 KNHC 090253
TCPAT1
BULLETIN
HURRICANE IDA ADVISORY NUMBER 21
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL112009
900 PM CST SUN NOV 08 2009

...IDA HEADING NORTH-NORTHWESTWARD....HURRICANE WARNING ISSUED
FOR A PORTION OF THE NORTHERN GULF COAST...

AT 900 PM CST...0300 UTC...A HURRICANE WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR
THE NORTHERN GULF COAST FROM PASCAGOULA MISSISSIPPI EASTWARD TO
INDIAN PASS FLORIDA. A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE
CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN 24
HOURS. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED
TO COMPLETION.

AT 900 PM CST...0300 UTC...A TROPICAL STORM WARNING AND A HURRICANE
WATCH ARE IN EFFECT FOR THE NORTHERN GULF COAST FROM GRAND ISLE
LOUISIANA EASTWARD TO WEST OF PASCAGOULA MISSISSIPPI...INCLUDING
NEW ORLEANS AND LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS
THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE
WARNING AREA WITHIN 24 HOURS. A HURRICANE WATCH MEANS THAT
HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...GENERALLY
WITHIN 36 HOURS.

AT 900 PM CST...0300 UTC...A TROPICAL STORM WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED
FOR THE NORTHERN GULF COAST FROM EAST OF INDIAN PASS TO AUCILLA
RIVER FLORIDA.

AT 900 PM CST...0300 UTC...THE GOVERNMENT OF CUBA HAS DISCONTINUED
ALL WATCHES AND WARNINGS FOR CUBA.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE
INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY
YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST OFFICE.

AT 900 PM CST...0300 UTC...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE IDA WAS LOCATED
NEAR LATITUDE 23.7 NORTH...LONGITUDE 86.7 WEST OR ABOUT 400 MILES...
645 KM...SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF THE MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER.

IDA IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHWEST NEAR 14 MPH...22 KM/HR. A
TURN TOWARD THE NORTH AND AN INCREASE IN FORWARD SPEED ARE EXPECTED
DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS...FOLLOWED BY A TURN TOWARD THE NORTHEAST
ON MONDAY NIGHT. ON THE FORECAST TRACK...IDA IS EXPECTED TO CROSS
THE GULF OF MEXICO TONIGHT AND MONDAY...AND APPROACH THE NORTHERN
GULF COAST MONDAY NIGHT OR EARLY TUESDAY.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 105 MPH...165 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. IDA IS A CATEGORY TWO HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE.
GRADUAL WEAKENING IS FORECAST...BUT IDA IS EXPECTED TO REMAIN A
HURRICANE AS IT APPROACHES THE NORTHERN GULF COAST.

HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 35 MILES...55 KM...FROM
THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 175
MILES...280 KM.

ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 979 MB...28.91 INCHES.

IDA IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE ADDITIONAL RAIN ACCUMULATIONS OF 1 TO 3
INCHES OVER PORTIONS OF WESTERN CUBA...WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM STORM
TOTAL AMOUNTS OF 8 INCHES POSSIBLE.

RAINS WILL BE INCREASING WELL IN ADVANCE OF IDA ACROSS THE CENTRAL
AND EASTERN GULF COAST...BUT WILL BECOME STEADIER AND HEAVIER BY
MONDAY INTO TUESDAY. TOTAL STORM ACCUMULATIONS OF 3 TO 5 INCHES
WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM STORM TOTALS OF 8 INCHES WILL BE POSSIBLE
THROUGH TUESDAY FROM THE CENTRAL AND EASTERN GULF COAST NORTHWARD
INTO THE EASTERN PORTIONS OF THE TENNESSEE VALLEY AND THE SOUTHERN
APPALACHIANS.

A DANGEROUS STORM SURGE WILL RAISE WATER LEVELS BY AS MUCH AS
4 TO 6 FEET ABOVE GROUND LEVEL ALONG THE COAST NEAR AND TO THE
EAST OF WHERE THE CENTER MAKES LANDFALL. NEAR THE COAST...THE SURGE
WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE AND DESTRUCTIVE WAVES.

...SUMMARY OF 900 PM CST INFORMATION...
LOCATION...23.7N 86.7W
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...105 MPH
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NORTH-NORTHWEST OR 345 DEGREES AT 14 MPH
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...979 MB

AN INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE
CENTER AT 1200 AM CST FOLLOWED BY THE NEXT COMPLETE ADVISORY AT 300
AM CST.

$$
FORECASTER BROWN/BERG
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CaneWarning:
Will the west coast of Florida get TS winds as Ida passes us by to the west? I saw someone post a wind map earlier but I'm not sure where to find it.


GOM WIND MAP

Link
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YES!! I was right, 105 mph. NNW :)
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7423
JSL Current Still.



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
Winds still 105 MPH as of 10 pm. Heading NNW at 14 mph
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NNW 14 105MPH 979 PRESSURE

9:00 PM ADVISORY
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Mobile NWS just issued a hurricane wind watch... within the context it states that the center should be due south of Mobile bay Tuesday at daybreak the begin an Easterly direction over SW AL and the panhandle.
Quoting SouthALWX:

exactly lol. And I put th "=P" in my original post because I didn't mean you were really crazy =P Mobile has had this history of waiting too long ( Usa didnt close until shortly before Ivan! ) so I think it's best to just say close at 12 no big deal.
ok will see in the morning i guess.
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Quoting sammywammybamy:





Source

http://www.tropicalstormrisk.com/


If that map is correct, Tampa is solidly within the TS winds.
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Ida don't know,Ida don't know, Ida don't where the hurricane going to go until the hurricane blows.
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Quoting IKE:


Lake Holley and King Lake area. I'm surrounded by both lakes. Right before the campground at Lake Holley.

Trees everywhere here.
I am 8 miles west of 331 north 1 block north of hwy 90w and all i have is medium size pines.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
000
WTNT21 KNHC 090251
TCMAT1
HURRICANE IDA FORECAST/ADVISORY NUMBER 21
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL112009
0300 UTC MON NOV 09 2009

AT 900 PM CST...0300 UTC...A HURRICANE WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR
THE NORTHERN GULF COAST FROM PASCAGOULA MISSISSIPPI EASTWARD TO
INDIAN PASS FLORIDA. A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE
CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN 24
HOURS. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED
TO COMPLETION.

AT 900 PM CST...0300 UTC...A TROPICAL STORM WARNING AND A HURRICANE
WATCH ARE IN EFFECT FOR THE NORTHERN GULF COAST FROM GRAND ISLE
LOUISIANA EASTWARD TO WEST OF PASCAGOULA MISSISSIPPI...INCLUDING
NEW ORLEANS AND LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS
THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE
WARNING AREA WITHIN 24 HOURS. A HURRICANE WATCH MEANS THAT
HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...GENERALLY
WITHIN 36 HOURS.

AT 900 PM CST...0300 UTC...A TROPICAL STORM WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED
FOR THE NORTHERN GULF COAST FROM EAST OF INDIAN PASS TO AUCILLA
RIVER FLORIDA.

AT 900 PM CST...0300 UTC...THE GOVERNMENT OF CUBA HAS DISCONTINUED
ALL WATCHES AND WARNINGS FOR CUBA.

HURRICANE CENTER LOCATED NEAR 23.7N 86.7W AT 09/0300Z
POSITION ACCURATE WITHIN 20 NM

PRESENT MOVEMENT TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHWEST OR 345 DEGREES AT 12 KT

ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE 979 MB
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS 90 KT WITH GUSTS TO 110 KT.
64 KT....... 30NE 15SE 15SW 15NW.
50 KT....... 60NE 30SE 30SW 30NW.
34 KT.......150NE 100SE 45SW 90NW.
12 FT SEAS..200NE 90SE 45SW 200NW.
WINDS AND SEAS VARY GREATLY IN EACH QUADRANT. RADII IN NAUTICAL
MILES ARE THE LARGEST RADII EXPECTED ANYWHERE IN THAT QUADRANT.

REPEAT...CENTER LOCATED NEAR 23.7N 86.7W AT 09/0300Z
AT 09/0000Z CENTER WAS LOCATED NEAR 23.0N 86.5W

FORECAST VALID 09/1200Z 25.8N 87.5W
MAX WIND 85 KT...GUSTS 105 KT.
64 KT... 30NE 20SE 15SW 20NW.
50 KT... 60NE 40SE 30SW 40NW.
34 KT...160NE 100SE 60SW 100NW.

FORECAST VALID 10/0000Z 28.5N 87.7W
MAX WIND 75 KT...GUSTS 90 KT.
64 KT... 30NE 20SE 15SW 25NW.
50 KT... 60NE 50SE 30SW 50NW.
34 KT...160NE 125SE 75SW 125NW.

FORECAST VALID 10/1200Z 30.5N 87.1W...INLAND
MAX WIND 65 KT...GUSTS 80 KT.
64 KT... 25NE 20SE 15SW 20NW.
50 KT... 50NE 60SE 50SW 45NW.
34 KT...140NE 150SE 90SW 115NW.

FORECAST VALID 11/0000Z 31.2N 85.8W...EXTRATROPICAL INLAND
MAX WIND 40 KT...GUSTS 50 KT.
34 KT... 60NE 125SE 90SW 45NW.

FORECAST VALID 12/0000Z 30.5N 82.0W...EXTRATROPICAL INLAND
MAX WIND 30 KT...GUSTS 40 KT.

EXTENDED OUTLOOK. NOTE...ERRORS FOR TRACK HAVE AVERAGED NEAR 250 NM
ON DAY 4 AND 325 NM ON DAY 5...AND FOR INTENSITY NEAR 20 KT EACH DAY

OUTLOOK VALID 13/0000Z...ABSORBED BY FRONT

REQUEST FOR 3 HOURLY SHIP REPORTS WITHIN 300 MILES OF 23.7N 86.7W

NEXT ADVISORY AT 09/0900Z

$$
FORECASTER BROWN/BERG
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormW:


Greetings again!


Hiya Storm - will we have your input this evening on Ida?
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Quoting StormW:


Greetings again!
evening stormw
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Plenty of concern goin around from NOLA to Tally.
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3779
Quoting MrstormX:
So predictions for this update???
i predict lot's of F5 action in the short term and the next12- 16 hours will tell the tale of what and where Ida will do.....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I'm guessing the update will keep it at 105 mph. Track will go with the models but in reality, Ida is not following them, continuing the NNW motion. Looking at the satellite, she should start a more northernly route by morning, time will tell I guess. So far Ida is forecasted to bring sustained winds 40-50 mph. here as a Extratropical Storm.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7423
Quoting PanamaBeach1:
It appears to be picking up a bit more forward speed.
just a tad
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Quoting StormW:


Greetings again!


StormW, will Tampa see TS winds?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
No school for Escambia county (Pensacola), but school is still on for Santa Rosa County (Gulf Breeze and Navarre). My kids are already whining!

Mike
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Quoting sammywammybamy:


Pat thats a diffrent system


Thanx sammy,Im well aware of what on my Radars here.

Thanx anyway
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
Quoting JupiterFL:


I missed this post earlier. Thank you for making my night.


no problem, here is the page it is from link
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Quoting MrstormX:
So predictions for this update???
not much change at all.forecast will stay close to where it is.maybe 30 miles east
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Quoting stormsurge39:
I was going by the forecast of Ida not being here until Tuesday morning. She looks like shes hallin butt, so iwould say, yes they definitely need to close!!

exactly lol. And I put th "=P" in my original post because I didn't mean you were really crazy =P Mobile has had this history of waiting too long ( Usa didnt close until shortly before Ivan! ) so I think it's best to just say close at 12 no big deal.
Member Since: August 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1497
Are the models trending east of Pensacola now?

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It appears to be picking up a bit more forward speed.
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Quoting atmoaggie:

One of the more obscure forms of precip not mentioned by name often...

Ahh, it was you! hehe. Yea it was an interesting read.
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So predictions for this update???
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Quoting ALCoastGambler:
ohh working tomorrow so will probably move it when I come back. I have to go to LA for a while then I will park in the garage
so am I, in the weather most of the day delivering the mail...stay safe on the roads please and good luck at the tables
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Will the west coast of Florida get TS winds as Ida passes us by to the west? I saw someone post a wind map earlier but I'm not sure where to find it.
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Quoting IKE:


It'll be out within 10-15 minutes.

Imagine someone may get warnings or they may wait until early AM.


Warnings should start anytime now, especiall since Ida is in the Gulf.
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Quoting Nolehead:
715. SouthALWX 2:41 AM GMT on November 09, 2009
Quoting stormsurge39:
Im talking about Monday from 7am until 3pm! Sheesh Think about it

another point, kids will be on the roads well after 3pm .. all kids are off the bus by what 4:30-5 ish?


at the rate it's going...and seems to be picking up speed as we write...could very well feel the winds as early as noon on Monday..so yes it's a very good idea to go ahead and close them and not risk putting them on the roads much less having alot of parents getting there kids....but hey that's just me didn't mean to insult anyone...so my bad if i did....
I was going by the forecast of Ida not being here until Tuesday morning. She looks like shes hallin butt, so iwould say, yes they definitely need to close!!
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Hopefully everyone is prepared for this and did not use up their supplies thinking the season is over.
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5415
750. IKE
Quoting P451:
Things should read quite interesting in about 75 minutes.

Looking forward to that update.


It'll be out within 10-15 minutes.

Imagine someone may get warnings or they may wait until early AM.
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Quoting sammywammybamy:


Pat thats a diffrent system


sure is, thought it was kind of a rude response from him too


Same map in motion
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Quoting tornadodude:
487. ST0RMT0PSmom 7:38 AM GMT on July 01, 2006
STORMTOP IVE TOLD YOU NOT TO POST ON HERE YOU NAUGHTY SON! I WILL HAVE PAPA STORMTOP DEAL WITH YOU AS SOON AS I RUN YOUR COMPUTER OVER WITH MY CAR.

Umm...LMAO
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Quoting alaina1085:
Whoever mentioned the virga word to me, I now know what it is! LOl.. learn something new everyday.

One of the more obscure forms of precip not mentioned by name often...
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745. IKE
Quoting mossyhead:
Where about in DFS do you live Ike, Barry.


Lake Holley and King Lake area. I'm surrounded by both lakes. Right before the campground at Lake Holley.

Trees everywhere here.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1. ALCoastGambler 2:42 AM GMT on November 09, 2009
Quoting Nolehead:
654. ALCoastGambler 2:29 AM GMT on November 09, 2009
Well now that I see Mobile Bay is on the West side I am off to the poker table.ya'll play nice and pray that the waves do not wash my car away. I am parked under the casino

what gave you the idea that mobile bay is out of the clear?? um it's still on the same path
Now I never said that. I said on the West side. Never said in the all clear


LOL i hear ya...gotta gamble a tad bit sometimes....
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Quoting DestinJeff:
most troubling to me is the intensity forecast, which has been a little less than stellar (an admitted flaw of NHC forecast).

24 hours ago we could expect a TS riding through the gulf then going extra-tropical "S" near the coast ... fast fwd to present and we have a strong CAT 2, but still with near same expectation of weakening near coast, in some minds to a breezy day.

i understand it is important to strike a balance on hyping (over/under) but there seems to be a palpable trend in coverage to spin this thing down in the northern gulf, despite tendancy of Ida to outpace intensity estimates
I seen Hurricane go from a 150MPH to a 100MPH storm in a feww hours when she got to the northern GULF coast.
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Quoting HaboobsRsweet:
wow...look at the wind speeds just south of LA from those dropsondes...over 30kts at the surface. No where near Ida. Must all be from the BOC low.

I imagine it has to do with the gradient I was speaking of ...If somewhere on the northern gulf coast doesnt get atleast a gust to 45mph by 4:30 pm monday I'll eat crow =)
Member Since: August 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1497

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.