Monsterous Michael Makes Landfall

History was made earlier today. Hurricane Michael made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane with 155 mph 135 knots 249 km/h. The highest wind on land is around 132 mph 115 knots 212 km/h with gusts as high as 198 mph 172 knots 319 km/h! It has a central pressure of 919 millibars and still intensifying! If it had been over water longer, it probably would of been a Category 5 hurricane. No doubt that Michael made history. Here is how Michael compares to past hurricanes.

Michael is the most intense Gulf Of Mexico hurricane since Rita (2005). Rita had a central pressure of 895 millibars with 180 mph 156 knots 290 km/h. Rita is the most intense Gulf Of Mexico hurricane recorded. There is no doubt there are stronger Gulf Of Mexico hurricanes that go unrecorded prior to the 19th century. Rita made landfall on the Texas and Louisiana border not before triggering a massive evacuation due to Katrina ravaging the Gulf Coast a month earlier. Michael is the most intense October Gulf Of Mexico hurricane since Opal (1995). Opal had a central pressure of 916 millibars and 150 mph 130 knots 241 km/h winds. Opal made landfall on Pensacola.

How does Michael stack up in terms of central pressure landfall for America and Atlantic Basin? Michael is the third most intense landfalling hurricane on America. Only the 1935 Labor Day and Camille have lower central pressures.

Rank Storm Landfall Pressure
1 Labor Day (1935) 892 mb
2 Camille (1969) 900 mb
3 Michael (2018) 919 mb
4 Katrina (2005)/Maria (2017) 920 mb
5 Andrew (1992) 922 mb
6 Indianola (1886) 925 mb
7 Guam (1900) 926 mb
8 Florida Keys (1919) 927 mb
9 Okeechobee (1928) 929 mb
10 Great Miami (1926)/Donna (1960) 930 mb

Michael has lower pressure than Katrina, Maria, and Andrew. Michael is the most intense Category 4 hurricane to make landfall on America. Katrina is the most intense Category 3 hurricane to make landfall on America. Katrina is much larger than Camille, Andrew, or Michael, which explains the low pressure and Category 3 winds. Texas’s most intense hurricane recorded is the 1886 Indianola Hurricane, which had a central pressure of 925 millibars. It is likely it had lower pressure. The 1900 Guam typhoon is the most intense typhoon recorded to hit Guam. It is very likely there have been more intense typhoons that hit Guam. Typhoons are often intense and often have lower pressure than the Atlantic. Category 5 typhoons happen every year. Let’s look at how Michael compares Atlantic Basin.

Rank Storm Landfall pressure
1 Labor Day (1935) 892 mb
2 Camille (1969)/Gilbert (1988) 900 mb
3 Dean (2007) 905 mb
4 Cuba (1924) 910 mb
5 Janet (1955)/Irma (2017) 914 mb
6 Cuba (1932) 918 mb
7 Michael (2018) 919 mb
8 Katrina 2005/Maria (2017) 920 mb
9 Bahamas (1932) 921 mb
10 Andrew (1992) 922 mb

Michael ranks seventh most intense basinwide hurricane landfall! The 1935 Labor Day Hurricane is still the most intense basinwide landfall. Camille (1969) and Gilbert (1988) tie as second most intense landfall basinwide. There is a unconfirmed report that the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane had pressure as low as 880 millibars! If that was true, it would be the most intense Atlantic hurricane, even surpassing Wilma!

Michael is one of the few Category 4 hurricanes to make landfall in October. Here is a list of hurricanes that made landfall on America in October.

1893 “Chenier Caminanda”
1898 Georgia Hurricane
1950 King
1954 Hazel

The last hurricane to make landfall on America as a Category 4 is Hazel in 1954. On top of it, Michael is a major hurricane over Georgia. The last time Georgia saw a major hurricane was in 1898! It is from the Georgia Hurricane.

History and statistics aside, we are going to be hearing and seeing a lot of destruction and likely more deaths from Michael. It could be a very costly hurricane for sure.

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Hurricane Florence Trudges Along

Hurricane Florence is moving slowly towards North Carolina. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is moving at northwest at 6 mph 5.2 knots 9.7 km/h. It has winds of 90 mph 78 knots 145 km/h with gusts as high as 113 mph 98 knots 182 km/h. That makes Florence a Category 1 hurricane. It is a large hurricane with hurricane force winds extending up to 80 miles 70 nautical miles 129 kilometers, while tropical storm force winds extend up to 195 miles 170 nautical miles 314 kilometers. A large hurricane is very dangerous as they can produce large storm surge and waves.

Looking at the wind swath map, the entire Coastal North Carolina and parts of South Carolina are experiencing tropical storm force winds. Some areas in Coastal North Carolina are seeing hurricane force winds. If Florence makes landfall with 90 mph winds, the highest wind on land is going to be 77 mph 67 knots 124 km/h with gusts as high as 116 mph 101 knots 187 km/h. Many areas will likely see 50 to 70 mph 44 to 61 knots 80 to 113 km/h with gusts as high as 75 to 105 mph 65 to 91 knots 121 to 169 km/h. The biggest question is where does Florence go ultimately.

It is the latest forecast track from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance for Florence. It is a heat map using points within 300 mile/480 kilometers radius. It is more circular, which suggests that Florence could linger for the next several days over land. That is going to be very bad as winds, storm surge, waves, and heavy rain are going to persist. Storm surge is getting much high as Florence gets closer. The Neuse River at Oriental, North Carolina gauge is setting high water of nearly 9 feet/2.7 meters!

It is only getting higher. I would not be surprised to see storm surge approaching 20 feet/6.1 meters or higher. Storm surge is very dangerous. That is why people evacuate from water and hide from the wind. To make matters worse, heavy rain is falling. Heavy rain leads to flooding, which kills like storm surge. It is very destructive. Case in point, Harvey. Let’s take a look at the rainfall total forecast. They are from EURO, GFS, Canadian, and German (ICON). The forecast models are from Weather.US. They are all seven day rainfall total forecast.

The forecast models have 29 to 38 inches/73.7 centimeters to 96.5 centimeters of rain. GFS has the lowest, while EURO has the highest. The NHC is forecasting 40 inches/101.6 centimeters of rain of rain. I would not be surprised if some areas see 50 inches/127 centimeters of rain. Some areas have gotten over 12 inches/30.5 centimeters of rain already! 50 inches does not sound so off.

Here is what I think will happen.
-Florence is making landfall somewhere in North Carolina.
-Landfall time is looking to be Friday morning.
-Strong winds, storm surge, and heavy rain will be the main problem from Florence.
-Main headline for Florence will likely be massive flooding.
-Record rainfall is likely with Florence.

It is going to be a long night for North Carolina with Florence. It is going to be one brutal hurricane for them.

Hurricane Ike 10 Years Later

Before Harvey flooded out Southeast Texas, there was Ike. It is hard to believe it has been 10 years since Hurricane Ike made landfall on Southeast Texas as a monsterous Category 2 hurricane in the early morning hours of September 13, 2008. Especially the fact this comes in light of Harvey. Ike pelted Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana with hurricane force winds and heavy rain. Ike was the last hurricane to hit Texas prior to Harvey. Almost a nine year gap of no hurricanes hitting Texas, let alone a major hurricane. The last major hurricane to hit Texas prior to Harvey was Bret in 1999, which is 18 years.

Thunderstorms over Sudan that later became Ike.

What is the origin of Hurricane Ike? Ike started as a mesoscale convective system (MCS) that formed over Sudan on August 19th. Most tropical waves come from thunderstorms that form in the Northeast part of Africa. They are set off by the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) or monsoon. The ITCZ is where there is thunderstorms from the clash of trade winds. These thunderstorms often provide beneficial rains in tropical and subtropical areas. The thunderstorms in ITCZ can break away and travel away. One of those thunderstorms from the ITCZ managed to do that. The MCS traveled over Africa and entered the Atlantic Ocean as a tropical wave on August 29th. The tropical wave traveled across with multiple vortices competing. One of them would win out as the thunderstorms in the tropical wave get better organized on September 1, 2008. It is upgraded to Tropical Depression #9. Later that day, it is named Ike as it travels over the open Atlantic. Tropical Storm Ike has to deal with wind shear in the upper level early in its life. The wind shear blows tops of thunderstorms, especially westerly wind shear. Since 2008 season is Neutral to La Nina, conditions are more favorable as there is less westerly wind shear. If 2008 was El Nino, there would be more westerly wind shear, which is why generally El Nino Atlantic Hurricane seasons see less storms. Wind shear generally kills tropical development. The higher the storm clouds are, the cooler it is. Higher storm clouds also mean they are more intense.

However, Ike gets a reprieve as the wind shear weakens and encounter warmer waters on September 3rd. This allows Ike to rapidly intensify into a major hurricane. By the next day, Ike becomes 2008’s strongest hurricane with 145 mph 126 knots 233 km/h winds and central pressure of 935 millibars. Ike’s strength did not last as it encountered wind shear on September 5th. The wind shear weaken Ike to Category 2 strength.

Hurricane Ike around its peak.

Ike is pushed southwards into more favorable areas due to upper level ridge to the north. Ike becomes a Category 4 hurricane as conditions are more favorable. As it goes westward, Ike made its first landfall on Turks and Caicos Islands as a Category 4 hurricane on the early morning hours of September 7th. The Turks and Caicos Islands are the first to feel Ike’s violent wrath in the form of strong winds, heavy rain, storm surge, and high waves. The South Caicos and Grand Turk take the brunt of Ike. Despite Ike’s fury, there are no reports of fatalities.

Damage in Grand Turk.

While Ike is ravaging the Turks and Caicos Islands, the outer bands of Ike are dumping heavy rain on Haiti and Dominican Republic, which have been ravaged by Fay, Gustav, and Hanna. The flooding from Ike claims 74 lives in Haiti and 2 in Dominican Republic. Prior to Ike, Tropical Storm Hanna ravaged Haiti and Dominican Republic with heavy rain that led to massive flooding. The flooding claims 529 lives in Haiti, while just one dies in Dominican Republic. Why did Haiti see more fatalities than Dominican Republic? The lack of trees in Haiti makes it even more vulnerable to mudslides from the mountains. The heavy rain causes deadly mudslides that destroys houses and kill people.

Stranded Cubans following Ike.

Once Ike passes Turks and Caicos Island, Ike heads for Cuba. The hurricane makes landfall on Cabo Lucrecia, Holguín Province, Cuba. Cuba is in a very rough ride with Ike as it traverses over the entire island nation. Cuba is being pelted by heavy rain, strong wind, high waves, and storm surge. Briefly, Ike goes over the water only to make a second landfall on Punta La Capitana, Pinar del Río, Cuba on September 8th as a Category 1 hurricane. Ike claims 7 lives in Cuba.

Ike near its secondary peak in Gulf of Mexico.

Once Ike exits Cuba, it is a large Category 1 hurricane. Ike traveling over all of Cuba caused the storm to expand as energy is spread out from land interaction. It also disrupted Ike’s core. Ike enters large area of warm water in the Gulf of Mexico and is getting close to the Loop Current, which is one of the warmest spot. Ike rapidly deepen from 963 to 944 millibars on the night of September 10th as it was over the Loop Current. However, the wind did not strengthen much, only from 80 to 100 mph 70 knots to 87 knots 128 km/h to 161 km/h. The reason is Ike is a very large hurricane with hurricane force winds extending up to 125 miles 109 nautical miles 201 kilometers from the eye. The pressure gradient is not tight due to its large size. Normally, an Atlantic hurricane with central pressure of 944 millibars is a Category 3 or 4 hurricane.

On September 11th, as America remembers and reflects the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, Southeast Texas is sunny and dry. The west side of a hurricane in the Northern Hemisphere is usually the “clean” side. It blows in dry and sinking air from the north. The nice sunny day is very deceptive as Ike is ever inching closer. Meanwhile in the Gulf of Mexico, Ike is generating massive waves that are heading towards the Texas and Louisiana. Ike continues across the Gulf of Mexico as a large Category 2 hurricane. Waves are coming ahead of Ike in coastal Texas. People are evacuating from coastal areas including Galveston. Some choose to stay behind. The outer cloud banks of Ike are over Southeast Texas as winds start to pick up. By the afternoon of September 12th, some coastal areas are getting squally weather from the feeder bands entering Texas.

By the night of September 12th, conditions have gotten much worse. Meanwhile in Houston area, it is still windy with occasionally light rain. As the night progresses, Ike is getting closer to landfall. The hurricane force winds enter Texas around the late hours of September 12th. Ike is getting stronger and developing a more organized eyewall. Ike now has a central pressure of 951 millibars and 110 mph 96 knots 177 km/h winds. Ike is a large hurricane with hurricane force winds extending up to 125 miles and tropical storm force winds extending up to 260 miles 226 nautical miles 418 kilometers.

Ike at landfall on Southeast Texas.

Highest wind gust possible based on multiplying by factor of 1.5.

By the early morning hours of September 13th, Houston area is seeing stronger winds and heavier rain. Power starts to go out throughout Southeast Texas as power lines are being knocked by the strong wind. The coastal areas are seeing storm surge getting higher and higher. Anyone who stayed behind in Galveston or Bolivar Peninsula are doomed by the massive storm surge. Ike makes landfall on the eastern end of Galveston Island at 2:10 AM Central Time. People who are staying behind in the coastal areas are wishing they had evacuated as they are surrounded by rising storm surge. Ike travels to the northwest towards Houston. By 4:00 AM, Ike is over Baytown, which is flooded by storm surge. A large area of Southeast Texas is getting hurricane force winds including all of Houston.

Highest sustained winds during Hurricane Ike.

Bolivar Peninsula following Ike.

By the time the Sun rises, Ike is still ravaging Southeast Texas despite the fact it has weakened to Category 1 hurricane. Ike remains a monsterous and very dangerous hurricane. Many areas are still seeing heavy rain and strong winds. The wind blow down numerous trees and damage many buildings and houses. There is widespread flooding reported throughout Southeast Texas. Bayous and rivers are overflowing from widespread heavy rain. Coastal areas had storm surge as high as 25 feet/7.6 meters. It is one of the highest storm surge recorded in America and highest in Texas. It exceeds Camille, but below Katrina. Bolivar Peninsula saw the highest storm surge as the whole area looked like if a nuclear bomb had exploded. Once it is all over, many buildings and houses are damaged or destroyed, while many trees are uprooted. Coastal areas are utterly gutted from the massive storm surge. Millions of people are out of power for days. A large area saw 6 to 12 inches/15.2 to 30.5 centimeters of rain from Ike.

The damage is not just limited to Texas. Louisiana also felt the brunt of Ike, especially in Southwestern Louisiana. It is the same area that had been ravaged by Hurricane Rita in 2005. Many areas are flooded by Ike. There is even flooding in New Iberia, which is in Central Louisiana. It shows that Ike’s massive size had a huge impact over a large area from Texas to Louisiana. This is despite the fact that they only got tropical storm force winds. It shows that large, but not so strong hurricane is very dangerous as it produces massive storm surge and high waves.

Thunderstorms ahead of a cold front in the early morning hours of September 14, 2008.

The following night, a cold front passes, which allows thunderstorms to form from moisture left by Ike. The storms dumped 5 to 8 inches/12.7 to 20.3 centimeters of rain. The heavy rain causes more flooding on top of what Ike dumped in Southeast Texas. Once the rain ended, many areas saw a two day total ranging from 10 to 20 inches/25.4 to 50.8 centimeters of rain. Meanwhile, the remnants of Ike continue to wreak havoc in the Midwest. Ohio see hurricane force gusts, which causes more power outages. The remains of Ike continue into Canada and dump heavy rain in Ontario and Quebec. A total of 112 people lost their life with 34 unaccounted for in America. Most of the deaths are in Texas, where 84 people died.

Rainfall total from September 12, 2008 to September 15, 2008.

So, how was 2008 like prior to Ike. The winter of 2007-2008 is La Nina, so it is warmer and drier. Despite the La Nina, there are storms. Spring of 2008 is mostly dry. There were days of pleasant weather in Spring 2008. Summer of 2008 is average in terms of temperature and rainfall. Texas first brush with a hurricane is Dolly, which affected South Texas. The outer bands of Dolly dump heavy rain in the Houston area. Not too long after Dolly came, Tropical Storm Edouard pays a visit to Houston area. It is a rather unremarkable tropical storm that dumps up to 6 inches of rain. Edouard moves inland and gives beneficial rains to drought ridden Central Texas.

NHC Hurricane Ike Report
NHC Hurricane Ike Advisory Report
Morphed Integrated Microwave Imagery at CIMSS (MIMIC)

Furious Florence And Future Kirk?

Hurricane Florence is getting ever so closer to the Southeastern US. Subtropical Storm Joyce recently formed in the Eastern Atlantic. We now have Florence, Helene, Isaac, and Joyce. Invest 95L could become Kirk. If Kirk forms, we would have five storms at once. Before I talk about the latest, ten years ago today, Hurricane Ike was getting closer to the Texas Coast as a large Category 2 hurricane. I will focus on Florence and Invest 95L as they are closest to land.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has Florence with 110 mph 96 knots 177 km/h winds with gusts as high as 138 mph 120 knots 222 km/h. It has central pressure of 957 millibars. Just because Florence is no longer a major hurricane does not make it any less dangerous. In some ways, it is more dangerous as it gets larger. People might think that Florence is no longer dangerous as it is no longer a major hurricane. It has hurricane force winds extending up to 80 miles 70 nautical miles 129 kilometers and tropical storm force winds extending up to 195 miles 170 nautical miles 314 kilometers. Hurricane that go further north, tend to get larger. I think Florence could have hurricane force winds extending up to 125 miles 109 nautical miles 201 kilometers and tropical storm force winds extending up to 250 miles 217 nautical miles 402 kilometers before landfall.

Here is the latest forecast track from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance for Florence and Invest 95L. It is a heat map using points within 300 mile/480 kilometers radius. I have included Ensemble Prediction Systems generated from a previous forecast cycle along with the latest.

The heat map for Florence is getting more circular, which is concerning. Florence could make landfall somewhere in South Carolina or North Carolina. It suggests that Florence is going to slow down after it makes landfall. It looks to linger over the area after landfall. As for landfall time, Florence is probably going to make landfall sometimes on Friday morning. The slower motion of Florence is lower confidence because forecast models cannot predict where Florence will go. In regards to Invest 95L, it looks to be making landfall on South Texas sometimes on Friday. Too early to tell for this one at this time. Since Florence is getting larger and forecasted to slow down, storm surge is going to be a serious problem.

Some areas could see easily 15 feet/4.6 meters storm surge. I would not be surprised if some areas see over 20 feet/6.1 meters storm surge. If anyone is in a storm surge area, they need to evacuate. Storm surge kills! Most people die from storm surge in hurricanes and tropical cyclones. The deadliest tropical cyclone known is the 1970 Bhola Cyclone, which claimed 1.1 million people in present day Bangladesh, then East Pakistan on November 12, 1970. The tropical cyclone produced up to 33 feet/10 meters storm surge on the Ganges Delta. Most of the death were from deadly storm surge and epidemic following the tropical cyclone. Proof that storm surge kills. It also does not have to be a strong major hurricane to produce deadly and monsterous storm surge. Ike and Sandy produce high storm surge despite not being major hurricanes. They produced deadly storm surge because they were large storms and the geography is more conducive to deadly storm surge, which is also the case for Coastal Bangladesh. As Florence getting closer and water rising, many are asking how strong will Florence be.

Most intensity forecast models for Florence show it will be maintaining Category 2. One has it re-intensifying into Category 3 hurricane. I would not be srurprised if Florence does intensify into a Category 3 before landfall. As for Invest 95L, a couple forecast models have it intensifying into a tropical storm. I would not be surprised if 95L becomes Kirk by Thursday.

Rainfall is another concern, especially for Florence. They are from EURO, GFS, Canadian, and German (ICON). The forecast models are from Weather.US. They are all seven day rainfall total forecast.

The EURO has nearly 40 inches/101.6 centimeters of rain. The GFS has 33 inches/83.8 centimeters of rain. The Canadian has nearly 22 inches/55.9 centimeters of rain. The ICON has 28 inches/71.2 centimeters of rain. The EURO has the heaviest rainfall forecast. Previously, the GFS had some high rainfall forecast totals as high as 77 inches/195.6 centimeters in 7 days! The National Hurricane Center forecasts rainfall on par with Mitch and Harvey. They forecasted over 40 inches/101.6 centimeters of rain. That is very chilling to read that. Not often you see that for sure. I would not be surprised if some areas get over 50 inches of rain once it is all over.

The rainfall forecast for Invest 95L is not as high as it has been previously. The EURO has 6 inches/15.2 centimeters of rain. The GFS has 5 inches/12.7 centimeters of rain. The Canadian has nearly 7 inches/17.8 centimeters of rain. The ICON has over 10 inches/25.4 centimeters of rain. The forecast models are all over the place for Invest 95L. The forecast models assume that 95L does not become Kirk. If it became Kirk, I suspect the forecast models are going to change.

Here is what I think will happen.
-Florence could intensify into a Category 3 hurricane.
-Florence is looking to affect South Carolina and North Carolina the most.
-Strong winds, storm surge, and heavy rain will be the main problem from Florence.
-Main headline for Florence will likely be massive flooding.
-Invest 95L is likely to become Kirk by Thursday.

Furious Florence And Future Joyce?

The tropics are heating up and it is very concerning. Before I look at the tropics, let’s take a moment to reflect what happened on this day. Seventeen years ago today, America was attacked on September 11, 2001. Four airplanes hijacked by Al-Qaeda terrorists flew them into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. A fourth hijacked airplane crashed near Shanksville. Nearly 3,000 people were killed on that tragic day. Many more have become ill and some have died from toxic dust and smoke exposure from the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Currently, there is Florence and Invest 95L, which maybe Joyce. Florence has 140 mph 122 knots 225 km/h winds with gusts as high as 175 mph 152 knots 282 km/h. It has central pressure of 946 millibars. Florence is a large hurricane and getting larger. It has hurricane force winds extending up to 60 miles 52 nautical miles 97 kilometers and tropical storm force winds extending up to 175 miles 152 nautical miles 282 kilometers. I would not be surprised if Florence is a large hurricane as it gets closer to the US. Hurricane that go further north, tend to get larger.

Here is the latest forecast track from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance. It is a heat map using points within 300 mile/480 kilometers radius.

For Florence, it is looking more likely to hit either North Carolina or South Carolina. One forecast model has Florence going back to the Atlantic. It is looking more and more that Florence is going to hit North Carolina or South Carolina. The circular pattern over North Carolina is concerning because Florence may stall out. That means that heavy rain and flooding is more likely for North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. The most concerning part is that near the center at night. There could core rain near the center of the low pressure. Core rains dump very heavy rain over a short time at night. Examples of core rain are 1921 Thrall Flood, Camille (1969), Claudette (1979), and Allison (2001).

For Invest 95L, it is looking to hit Texas sometimes this week. One forecast model has it going to Louisiana. It is rather early to tell as it has not developed yet. Regardless if 95L develops or not, heavy rain will be the main problem for Texas. Texas has been getting heavy rain lately, especially along the Upper Texas Coast. The next question is how strong will Florence and 95L be.

Most intensity forecast models keep Florence as a Category 4 hurricane. One has Florence as a Category 5 hurricane. I would not be surprised if Florence becomes a Category 5 hurricane. Most intensity forecast keep Florence as a major hurricane up to landfall.

As for Invest 95L, most forecast models have it intensifying into a tropical storm, especially within a couple of days from now. Since 95L is forecasted to go over the Gulf Of Mexico, I would not be surprised if it becomes a hurricane. Texas has seen tropical storms rapidly intensify into hurricanes like the Freeport Hurricane (1932), Humberto (2007), and Harvey (2017). I am not suggest 95L will become a hurricane, but just pointing out hurricane history is not too kind to Texas.

Rainfall is another concern. They are from EURO, GFS, Canadian, and German (ICON). The forecast models are from Weather.US. They are all seven day rainfall total forecast.

The EURO has 45 inches/114.3 centimeters of rain. The GFS has 62 inches/157.5 centimeters of rain! It is lower, but still very high! North Carolina has 15 to 25 inches/38.1 centimeters to 63.5 centimeters of rain, which is still heavy. The Canadian has 25 inches/63.5 centimeters of rain. Like the GFS, it is over the ocean. The ICON has 41 inches/104.4 centimeters of rain. The trend with these forecast models is heavier. The EURO have heaviest rain along the coast. The GFS has the heaviest rain offshore with heaviest over land in Coastal South Carolina and North Carolina. The Canadian has the heaviest rain over North Carolina and Virginia. The ICON has the heaviest rain along Coastal North Carolina and Virginia. The heavy rain is very concerning and can lead to massive flooding similar to Harvey.

Invest 95L rainfall forecast is all over the place. The EURO has over 9 inches/22.9 centimeters of rain northeast of Corpus Christi. The GFS has 5 inches/12.7 centimeters south of Houston. The Canadian has nearly 7 inches/17.8 centimeters of rain along the Central Coast of Texas. The ICON has over 11 inches/27.9 centimeters of rain south of Houston. The rainfall forecast is all over the place for 95L. When 95L gets closer, the forecast model should be more confident on rainfall amount and where it may fall.

Here is what I think will happen.
-Florence could intensify into a Category 5 hurricane.
-Florence is looking to affect North Carolina the most.
-Strong winds, storm surge, and heavy rain will be the main problem from Florence.
-Invest 95L is likely to become Joyce later this week.
-Texas could see more heavy rain and possibly flooding from Invest 95L or Joyce.

The Tropics Are Heating Up

Today is what is the peak date for the Atlantic Hurricane Season. No doubt today with Florence, Isaac, Helene, and Invest 95L, which maybe Joyce. 95L is an area of thunderstorms over the Caribbean south of Cuba. Tomorrow is September 11, which is the 17th anniversary of the devastating terrorist attacks in New York, Arlington, and Shanksville. It claimed 3,000 lives and reduced the World Trade Center to a smoldering and toxic rubble and left the Pentagon burning shooting out toxic smoke. I will be focusing on Florence as it is most likely to pose a threat to America. Invest 95L was declared earlier today, so there is not a lot of forecast models for it yet.

As of 11:00 PM AST from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Florence has 140 mph 122 knots 225 km/h winds with gusts as high as 175 mph 152 knots 282 km/h. The central pressure is 944 millibars. It is a medium sized hurricane with hurricane force winds extending up to 40 miles 35 nautical miles 64 kilometers and tropical storm force winds extending up to 150 miles 130 nautical miles 241 kilometers.

The forecast intensity shows Florence being a Category 4 hurricane.

I think Florence will be a Category 5 hurricane. Here is why from NOAA-Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential and Weather Maps-Maximum Potential Hurricane Intensity.

The water where Florence is and probably where it will go is warm. It has plenty of warm and deep water to work with. The Maximum Potential Hurricane Intensity (MPI) supports a Category 5 hurricane if conditions are near perfect. This is despite the fact that Florence is likely to run into UW-CIMSS-Wind Shear. The wind shear is not that strong and since Florence is well structured and organized, it should have little effect.

The biggest question is where does Florence go? That is on everyone’s mind right now. The forecast paths are from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance.

I have the latest forecast track and ensemble from a previous forecast cycle. The consensus on both forecast models including the ensembles using the heat map within 300 mile/480 kilometers radius from the point show that North Carolina is most likely to have Florence making landfall later this week. What is most concerning is once it is over land, Florence could slow down and stall out. This leads to heavy rain and dangerous flooding. Hurricane Harvey lingered over Texas dumping heavy rain over a large area leading to massive flooding. Here are rainfall forecast models from Weather.US. They are EURO, GFS, Canadian, and German (ICON). They are all seven day rainfall total forecast.

The forecast models all agree that heavy rain will fall over North Carolina. Two have heavy rain over Virginia. The EURO has 19 inches/48.3 centimeters of rain. The GFS has (drum rolls please) 77 inches/195.6 centimeters of rain! Thankfully, that is over the ocean. North Carolina has 15 to 20 inches/38.1 centimeters to 50.8 centimeters of rain, which is still heavy. The Canadian has 39 inches/99 centimeters of rain. Like the GFS, it is over the ocean. The ICON has 29 inches/74 centimeters of rain. The 77 inches of rainfall forecast from GFS is assuming that Florence is stalled out over the ocean. If Florence was to stall out over land and 77 inches of rain did fall, it would be heavier than Harvey. I have never seen such high rainfall forecasts. The last time I saw something that high high was from Harvey. Some forecast models I saw had up to 70 inches/177.8 centimeters of rain over Texas!

The rainfall forecast does include Texas. They are all over the place in terms of rainfall forecast for the next 7 days. The EURO has 19 inches of rain west of Corpus Christi. The GFS has 5 inches/12.7 centimeters. The Canadian has 12 inches/30.5 centimeters of rain over Houston area. The ICON has 15 inches of rain northeast of Corpus Christi. This suggests at this point, the heaviest rain will be in South Texas depending on how organized Invest 95L. If it is not as organized, the heaviest rain would be east of the center and Southeast Texas would get the heaviest rain from 95L.

Here is what I think will happen.
-Florence could intensify into a Category 5 hurricane.
-Florence is looking to affect North Carolina the most.
-Strong winds, storm surge, and heavy rain will be the main problem from Florence.
-Deadly flooding will probably be main headline if Florence stalls out.
-Regardless if Invest 95L is Joyce or not, Texas could see more heavy rain this week to early next week.

Flash Gordon

Tropical Gordon has formed yesterday near Florida. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) currently has Gordon as a tropical storm with 60 mph 52 knots 97 km/h winds. It is a rather small tropical storm. Tropical storm force winds extend up to 60 miles 52 nautical miles 97 kilometers.

The question is where does Gordon go and how strong will it be. Here is a heat map forecast based on forecast within 300 miles. The forecast points are from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance.

Most of the forecast models have Gordon making landfall somewhere between Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. There is a remote chance that Texas could get hit by Gordon. Looks like Gordon could make landfall as early as tomorrow. The intensity forecast models are mixed.

Most keep Gordon as a tropical storm due to its fast motion. A couple have Gordon as a Category 1 hurricane. Due to its small size and warm water, I would not be surprised if Gordon becomes a Category 2 or even 3 hurricane before landfall. Intensity forecast models are not reliable.

The Gulf Of Mexico water is on the warm side from NOAA/AOML-Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential. If conditions are right, Gordon could rapidly intensify as it travels over the Loop Current of the Gulf Of Mexico. Gordon is likely to be a small hurricane before landfall.

The NHC issues probability of where hurricane force winds may occur.

The highest probability for hurricane force winds are off the coast. If Gordon makes landfall as a hurricane, the coastal areas would most likely feel hurricane force winds. Inland areas would have tropical storm force winds with occasional hurricane force gust.

Here is my take.
-Gordon will likely become a hurricane by tomorrow.
-Gordon is most likely to make landfall along the Central Gulf Coast.
-Strong winds and heavy rain will be the main problem.

For anyone in the warning areas, please take heed the warnings. Storm surge and flooding are not something to mess with.