We’ve got a little coverage problem at work. I’ve been asked to work Sunday morning – airtime: 6:00 AM! So, I’ve napped a bit this evening and will try and catch a few more hours of sleep before then.
In essence, I’m trying to put myself on ‘jet lag’.
As long as I’m up, another look at the hurricane progress. Since leaving Florida, Hurricane Katrina has been left alone in the open Gulf of Mexico. She’s intensified, but not as much as I would have thought. Still, the official number at this hour is 115 mph – that’s a wickedly powerful storm.
The forecast path is still a worst case scenario for New Orleans¹
A common hurricane misconception is that its winds are only affected by the outside environment. Is there warm water? Are the feeders and outflow unimpeded? Is the hurricane being dragged near rough terrain, like mountains on an island? Things like that.
Often missed is the eyewall cycle. Hurricanes are constantly reforming their eyewall, shedding the old one for a new one. During this cycle, the strength of the hurricane’s winds are temporarily reduced, only to spring right back up. If this happens as a storm approaches land, you’ve dodged a bullet… or at least lowered the caliber.
That’s what’s being talked about in this discussion from the Hurricane Center:
CHANGES IN THE INNER CORE STRUCTURE BEFORE LANDFALL MAY MODIFY THE INTENSITY OF KATRINA UP OR DOWN…BUT UNFORTUNATELY…THESE CHANGES ARE NOT POSSIBLE TO FORECAST NOWADAYS WITH OUR PRESENT KNOWLEDGE. WE CAN ONLY DESCRIBE THEM AS THEY OCCUR.
At the home page of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, there is no new news – none! The website seems to be untouched since Saturday morning, or more likely Friday night. I can’t believe that, under these critical circumstances, but it’s true.
WWL-TV is up-to-date, including information on “contraflow.” Some interstates and other highways now have all their lanes heading north! It works moderately well, but it’s confusing.
New Orleans needs to empty out now. There is no longer enough time to consider the forecast might be wrong. People staying in New Orleans, or much of the rest of Southern Louisiana, do so at their own peril.
¹ – When meteorologists talk weather, they often abbreviate, using the airport identifier. Bradley International is BDL, Kennedy in New York is JFK, West Palm Beach is PBI. Some are non-intuitive. New Orleans is MSY. I cannot think of New Orleans without MSY popping into my head.