Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ike poised to wreak havoc on TX coast

Ike is lumbering towards the Texas coast with some very interesting features. While surface wind is holding tough at 100 mph, upper level wind, central pressure, and storm structure indicate a stronger storm than surface wind indicates. The Hurricane Center is still expecting surface wind to come around with the rest of the storm and increase to the category 3 level by landfall, though forecasting intensity in this type of situation is difficult at best.

A couple of things are known about the storm - on it's current track, the city of Houston and its surrounding neighbors, such as Galveston, are in for a huge black eye. Storm surge seems to be catching many people's attention with Ike as 15-20 feet of water is expected to come rolling into a large swath of coastline from Freeport to Galveston perhaps to Port Arthur. The seawall on Galveston Island is 17 feet tall, which means it could be overtopped. Waves of up to 30' are being recorded currently by a buoy just ahead of the track of the storm in the central Gulf. In addition, the massive scale of the storm makes it larger than Katrina - hurricane wind up to 115 miles from the center and TS wind 275 miles from the center. I have a bad feeling about Houston. The 4pm Advisory from NHC brings the storm right across the city.

As for it's effects on Memphis weather, it appears as though the remnants may move through the Mid-South on Sunday. Look for gusty wind and perhaps a pretty good amount of rain. Check the MWN forecast for the latest info. I'll know more in the next 24-36 hours or so.

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