Saturday, August 25, 2012

Heads Up South Florida and Northern Gulf Coast!!

I wasn't planning to blog again about the hurricane until this evening but things seem to be going from bad to worse. If you live in the northern Gulf coast it is time to start the preparations that will take more than a day or two to complete. 

I'm going to do this in chronological order so it is easier to follow.

Here is the zone in which I expect the center of the storm (the eye) will travel. Hurricane warning for the bright red area. People in south Florida should prepare for a category 1 or 2 hurricane. Given the speed of movement of the storm, winds will be increasing midday Sunday with the eye reaching the area late Sunday afternoon or evening.
I've added southeast Louisiana, including New Orleans, to the graphic.  Within the zone, the odds are the same. In other words, the chance is the same whether you are in Gulfport, Mobile, or Panama City. We not yet at the point where we can get any more specific as to the exact location of the eye's landfall. It increasingly appears that it will be a major (category 3, 4, 5) hurricane.

What I'm about to show is a set of computer model forecasts (courtesy of the NWS GFS model as displayed by Dr. Ryan Maue). It is very, very important you do not focus on exact positions. 

First, there is a lot of interest in Tampa because of the Republican National Convention.  Assuming the GFS is a perfect forecast, expect wind gusts in the 40 to 50 mph range Sunday night and Monday morning. If the storm gets closer to the coast, gusts could reach or exceed 60 mph.

From this point, the GFS is forecasting the storm to take a wobbly path in a general NNW direction.

For the last four days, I have been pointing out the dangerously warm water in the Gulf. It now looks like Isaac will traverse it. All of the models I trust in this situation are correspondingly forecasting major intensification.

The forecast for noon Monday has an upper category three storm.

The forecast for 7am CDT Tuesday has landfall (treat the time and location as approximate) of a major hurricane note there are wind gusts above 100 mph well inland. Because this is forecast to be a large hurricane, a high storm surge is possible. Note: Slide the storm 150mi. in either direction. This is not an exact location. 

Because this is a large storm, destructive winds and power failures are possible well inland. Even in the early afternoon hours Tuesday, the GFS is showing gusts of 90+mph at the latitude of Hattiesburg.

Need a prescription filled? Get on it! Need to get gas for a possible evacuation? Go now before the lines get too long. Get started.

If you are a traveler or vacationer, United has issued waivers for all of Florida's Peninsula airports but American has not. Neither has issued waivers for the northern Gulf coast.  If you are on vacation or have tickets to the region, here is my Airline Crisis Survival Guide. Read it and get started.

I would be thrilled to be wrong about this, but I've had a gut feeling all along that this was going to be a major hurricane if it struck far enough west along the northern Gulf coast. Time to take this storm very seriously. 

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