Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Hurricane Ike Back Over Water & Why I Don't Like the 5 Day Cone!!!!!

Boy...does Ike look angry here. There is something oddly evil about this image of him. Look at that pinpoint small eye and his bands have this look like he is about to bulk up and prepare to go the distance of the Gulf of Mexico towards his final destination before raining himself out inland over Texas, Oklahoma and possibly Missouri and the middle of the country.

This is the current track of Hurricane Ike that has emerged into the hot water of the Gulf of Mexico and is rapidly intensifying as you read this. It's possible he can go over the Loop current that is like a jaccuzzi in the warm bathtub of the Gulf and can ramp him up stronger in intensity than he might have been otherwise.

Models have shifted to the north a bit and the tracks show this. He will be traveling over water that is 85 degrees and wherever he goes he will be a strong Major Cane it seems. The high will steer him west, the front is not strong enough to pick him up and races by to his north. The high builds in to his north and he keeps going west or wnw towards Texas. Another front may come down and want to pull him a drop more to the north of WNW and if so he could come in further to the north along the Texas coast but most likely as things stand now he is headed further south to Corpus Christi or further south even.

Time will tell and the NHC will write the words but Ike is the one doing the dance, taking the journey and the models will just guess at where he will eventually go while taking new guesses every few hours.

Stay tuned... this Killer Cane will be remembered for years to come and you are watching history be made right now as you follow the storm.

There are a few things I want to say tonight before leaving you with video from Key West and some announcements that Monroe County has sent out.

I took a small vacation today from the loops and models and message boards. I watched Ike more than a few times spin his way across Cuba towards water... fresh meat, energy, liquid electricity... a jolt of aquamarine java infused into his system. He will hit the water running, expect him to intensify by morning. Already his size has expanded and his wind field and the color in his bands is turning orange and red and like a fire breathing dragon again he is becoming dangerous in the extreme.

The whole Texas Coast and parts of Mexico are in the very wide 5 day cone that the NHC has put out.

I'm not going to show the NHC cone as after much thought and deep consideration I have come to the conclusion that the 5 Day Cone is .. in my opinion... misleading, frustrating and prone to panic people across far too wide of an area. Saying that a storm will go towards somewhere in Texas in 5 days is not as useful as pinpointing the area most likely to get hit and reminding people that hurricanes are prone to sudden changes and anyone within ___ miles of that projected landfall should pay close attention. I'm sorry but I don't like it and I no longer want to use it.

This is not a complaint with the NHC on any other level, they are doing a magnificent job and are some of the smartest, brightest, nicest people I know.. a few very personally. The forecasting is top notch, the best it has been but the cone is not working right. People just look at it and see it and accept that anyone in the cone will get blown away by the storm, it's too "official" and it is not understood how they arrive at the cone. And, Sharon is right..if they are going to give the plots for a forecasted path just go with the points.. keep a 3 day sort of cone if you feel it's necessary but personally I just don't feel right about using it anymore.

Somehow it is as if we are dumbing down the meteorology and underestimating the public's ability to understand that hurricanes can change course at any time. If Ike is headed towards Texas then people in Louisiana should pay attention should something change. Obviously if you live in Maine Ike is not going to move that much to the right.

And enough with the right - left - right crap.

This is like spelling the word M O V I E S to a babysitter in front of the 5 year old.

People are not so stupid to be told... "it is possible that if the trough (FRONT) deepens and gets stronger than we may have to pull the storm's track a bit more to the east or north east.

Why are we talking in code here? Let's get real. West is west NOT "to the left" and hurricanes sometimes make fast quick changes in direction or intensity and the public needs to be told that ..

This is the generation of "it is what it is" so let's get real and truthful and stop with the colored visual graphics of the 5 day cone that gets pulled all over the place over 3 days.

Stick with the 3 day.. and show some sort of gray scale maybe or just go with the cords.

I am always defending the NHC to my best friend Sharon. She asks why do they give the cords for the next 3 or 4 days if they want you to watch the whole cone? Then don't give the plots and say "inland" if you don't want people to think that is where it is going. You can't have it both ways guys.

I spoke to a lot of people over this and asked their thoughts. The common people who are not so common and know something about weather living in the Florida area. They all said they hate the 5 day cone. They like and those who know about it like the NRL. Why? You can print out the NRL projected map and then over the next 24 hours use it to plot the storm from the advisories. And, if the storm is off of the projected plot you can see it for yourself. It's a better map than the ones they give away at Publix.

Try it:

Print this map if you have a printer handy... link below.

Then the old fashioned way take the advisory and put a pencil dot on the plot.

800 PM EDT position...23.1 N...84.0 W.

At 11 PM put the next set, and the next. When you wake up tomorrow put in the 5 AM and if the storm is on track it will follow the line. If not... you will know. You can work with the same map for a day or two or start over once a day. Play meteorologist, enjoy... give it a whirl. You will get a better feel for the storm and how it is moving than by just watching loops until you are loopy and everything blurs together and Texas looks like the coast of Vietnam.

I found that wunderground's map is probably the most prone to panic people and one of the first sites online people go to as it seems Jeff Masters must have paid off the meteorological devil as he always gets the advisory up there before anyone else. Before the NHC, before Hurrcity, before Accuweather. It's like he gets it up there before NHC presses send on their computers. How does he do it? But, he does. It's great. His site is great. His big round ball circles are not great as they somehow are too melodramatic and make the cone the NHC puts out seem even bigger and more in your face. Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble coming down the tropical highway to your home.

If you are going to use a graphic use skeetobite who gets it down to the street, the highway and takes into account the size of the storm itself.

IF the storm track changes he changes it as well.. it's not set in stone. THAT is the message the NHC should be giving out. Not evacuate Texas!

On a normal day in Key West this is what the Atlantic Ocean Side of the Island looks like. Barely a wave or a ripple, calm blue water and sunny skies.

This is today..during Tropical Storm force conditions.

Well... you are only young once! Hurricanes hardly happen....

A bit crazy. But's not some small wooden pier. You have to understand it's like a highway out to sea, strong, concrete pier that feels more like a road with railings. And... there is an illusion of safety.

The pier is long. One of the best shows in town. Grab some breakfast pastries and your choice of American Coffee or a Colada (Cuban) and go walk down the pier on a normal day and get great pics of the sunrise or turn around in the late afternoon and watch the sun set over Key West.

Monroe County Office of Emergency Management
Hurricane Ike update – September 9, 2008 – 2:15 p.m.

It is still not safe to be outside or to drive around in the storm

Monroe County officials urged people in the Keys to remain inside during current storm conditions. There are still very strong wind gusts in the Florida Keys and driving on rain-flooded streets may disable cars. Walking around outside during the storm can be very risky with flying debris and downed live power lines can be extremely dangerous.

U.S. Coast Guard officials stress that boaters should remain in port. Rough bay waters and extremely dangerous offshore seas can make boating deadly during storms.

Residents who evacuated the Keys should wait to return until after the tropical storm winds pass, which should be by Wednesday morning. Residents should keep a close eye on the storm as it passes and should monitor local radio and television stations for future announcements about when it is safe to return.

Both the Sheriff’s office Web site at and Monroe County’s Web site at will have details regarding when it is safe to return.

From Lower Keys Medical Center
September 9, 2008

Lower Keys Medical Center employees scheduled to work Wednesday are expected to report to work.

No school for kids on Wednesday...


So..........telling you all that Key West will be open for business again on Thursday or Friday. all go down there, enjoy... watch the sunrise or the sunset or do both.

Catch a Shabbos at Bnai Zion or Chabad if you are Jewish...both put out a beautiful Shabbos lunch for guests.. Ike make his move towards the Texas Coast.

Will it be Corpus Cristi or Brownsville?

Somewhere south of Galveston it seems.

The track moves.. it's fluid. The models move because the weather moves. The storm ends up a drop more west or east or north or south and the cold front moves faster or slower. They are not carved in stone and just a guesstimate of where things will be in 4 or 5 or 6 days or more. And, new ones come out every 6 hours or so.. give or take.

So... don't buy into the model game. They are only examples based on moving parameters of where Ike might go if all things stay the same and are equal but they never are and you have to watch every day for any changes in the track and intensity.

Here are the models if you need to see them:

Now... going off, going to sleep...Sweet Key West Dreams.. Bobbi


At 1:55 AM, Blogger sandy2008 said...

I don't want to take anything away from hur Ike, but I'm concerned about what seems to be the remnants from Josephine. As Ike moves away from s FL this blob keeps getting closer. At 5am it was approaching 60 degrees and then a burst of energy jumped over to 66 degrees. For now FL has the protection from Ike's outflow. Do you think this is something we should be watching? I will read your blob and HC for more of your thoughts. thx


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