Yet Another Hurricane

  • Thread starter dduardo
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  • #26
russ_watters
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dduardo said:
Didn't the meteorologists say it would only get up to a Cat 3? What happened there?
Possible new thread topic: it seems to me that NOAA underestimated both Rita and Katrina. Part of that may be due to how fast they strengthened, though. Paging through the NOAA ARCHIVE for Rita, it was still a tropical storm at 5:00am on 9/20 and the prediction at that time was for a peak of 100kt winds in 72 hours and this was the discussion:
RITA IS STILL EXPECTED TO REACH HURRICANE STRENGTH VERY SOON. ...... STEADY...BUT NOT EXPLOSIVE DEVELOPMENT IS LIKELY DURING
THE NEXT 12 TO 24 HOURS.... RITA IS STILL FORECAST TO BECOME A MAJOR
HURRICANE. THE MOST RECENT SHIPS GUIDANCE...HOWEVER...DOES NOT
QUITE GET RITA THERE...AND I WOULD NOT BE SHOCKED IF RITA ENDS UP
FALLING JUST SHORT OF THAT THRESHOLD.
At 5:00pm, winds were 85kts and the forecast peak was up to 115kts. With this discussion:
THE INTENSITY FORECAST IS IN BETWEEN THE GFDL AND SHIPS MODELS BUT
NOT AS AGGRESSIVE AS THE LATTER WHICH BRINGS RITA TO 125 KNOTS.
HOWEVER SUCH INTENSIFICATION IS POSSIBLE.
At 5:00 am on the 21st, the winds were 105kts and the predicted peak was up to 125kts with this discussion:
THE SATELLITE SIGNATURE OF RITA GIVES EVERY IMPRESSION THAT RAPID
INTENSIFICATION IS CONTINUING... THE GFDL MODEL
PEAKS RITA AT ABOUT 120 KT IN 12-18 HR...THE SHIPS MODEL PEAKS IT
AT 122 KT IN 48 HR...AND THE SUPERENSEMBLE PEAKS IT AT 131 KT IN 48
HR. THE INTENSITY FORECAST WILL BRING THE SYSTEM TO 125 KT IN 24
HR AS A BLEND OF THESE FORECASTS. HOWEVER...IT WOULD NOT BE A
SURPRISE IF RITA BECAME A CATEGORY FIVE HURRICANE IN THE NEXT 24 HR
By 5:00 pm on the 21st (yesterday), it had blasted past the predictions and was a cat5 with 145kt winds and with no further intensification predicted. At 5:00am today, winds were at 150kt, still with no further intensification predicted. (edit: 150kts was the peak. At 11:00 today, it was down to 145kts).

Bottom line: 36 hours after it was at 85knots with a predicted peak of 100kts, it hit 150kts. That seems like a swing and a miss to me.
 
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  • #27
Astronuc
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There seems to be some inconsistency between what is posted in the discussion of the advisories and what they are saying elsewhere. I heard comments attributed to NOAA/NHC officials that Rita could hit Cat 4/5, but that was when Rita was still Cat 1.

Katrina was suppose to cool off the Gulf waters, but Rita has been tracking south of Katrina's path.

My mom reported temperatures in the high 90's, low 100's around Houston, so the waters in the Gulf are still quite warm.

Rita has weakened slightly (winds down to 165 mph from 175 mph).

My folks, my sister's family and my sister-in-law's family are staying put in Houston. The Interstates are clogged with traffic, and petrol stations are running dry and so are many evacuees. Hotels within 150-200 miles of Houston are booked. Bottom line - this country is ill prepared for major disasters like Rita and Katrina. :rolleyes:
 
  • #28
BobG
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There's two reasons for bad predictions of the strength of Rita and Katrina.

The temperature of the Gulf is 'higher than it used to be', but historical temperatures are limited by technology as compared to the capabilities today. Today, you can get a very detailed thermal map of the Gulf thanks to better equipment, including monitoring temperatures via satellite. Today's thermal maps are compared to historical temperatures, some historical clues to past climate are tossed in, and the missing pieces are filled in by projecting today's model into yesterday. In other words, there is no fully detailed historical model of the Gulf's open waters and you can't be certain how much warmer Gulf waters are today compared to earlier times. This is one of the arguments against over-reacting to global warming, isn't it? How do we know we're really warmer than normal - or, how do we know we're not even more warmer than normal than scientists think - the error in the model actually has as much chance of underestimating global warming as it does overestimating global warming (I think it's probably being really blind to deny there's been no global warming at all).

No weatherman can make a living predicting a new record. Even if very severe weather is expected, you're not going to see a weatherman predict a record snow fall, a record high, a record cold, or history's most powerful hurricane. The predictions are always fudged towards 'average' levels which have a much more likely chance of actually occurring, even conditions are right for an extreme situation (any change in the situation is much more likely to be towards a middle level than to become more extreme).

Even with conditions obviously right for Katrina to rapidly increase in strength, it's probably hard for a weatherman to predict that the very next storm will increase just as rapidly.
 
  • #29
Astronuc
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I don't think anyone is avoiding predicting a record, but I would hope that NHC are serious about warning the responsible authorities about storms like Katrina and Rita. The consequences of not evacuating people from the coast line would be horrific. As people around the coasts of Lousiana, Mississippi and Alabama found out, storm surges of 20-30+ feet (6-9 m) are not to be taken lightly. Water has a density of 1 metric/m3, and that will demolish most houses if it is going 30 mph. Now take a house that is 3 meters x 10 meters - which takes on 30 tons just from the first meter (horizontal) of water that hits it, and then add the 10's of meters of water behind it.

One of the managers at NOAA has suggested that this is part of a natural trend and the US should expect to see more severe hurricanes for the next one or two decades.

Global warming may indeed by a factor, but quantifying humanity's contribution to it is difficult because we do not have sufficient detailed quantitative historical records.
 
  • #30
Math Is Hard
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And for those who are inclined to "ride it out":
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9439537/
Staying? Better write your SS# on your body...
From one mayor, a sobering message in attempt to get die-hards to leave


Mayor Alan Tharling of Port Lavaca, a city on the Texas coast between Houston and Corpus Christi, is taking creative measures to make citizens take the threat of Hurricane Rita seriously.

Tharling says that the 1,000 or so die-hards who refuse to evacuate are being given permanent markers and asked to write their Social Security number, next of kin and a phone number on their arm or across their abdomen — so that returning officials can identify their bodies.
My family all evacuated yesterday. They live in a coastal area of Houston. It took them about 13 hours to get to Austin.
 
  • #31
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Math Is Hard said:
My family all evacuated yesterday. They live in a coastal area of Houston. It took them about 13 hours to get to Austin.
Glad t hear they made it to Austin, and I hope there's no serious damage to the house.
 
  • #32
BobG
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Math Is Hard said:
And for those who are inclined to "ride it out":
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9439537/
Staying? Better write your SS# on your body...
From one mayor, a sobering message in attempt to get die-hards to leave

Mayor Alan Tharling of Port Lavaca, a city on the Texas coast between Houston and Corpus Christi, is taking creative measures to make citizens take the threat of Hurricane Rita seriously.

Tharling says that the 1,000 or so die-hards who refuse to evacuate are being given permanent markers and asked to write their Social Security number, next of kin and a phone number on their arm or across their abdomen — so that returning officials can identify their bodies.
My family all evacuated yesterday. They live in a coastal area of Houston. It took them about 13 hours to get to Austin.
Well, I would go for the tatoo. That info also comes in handy when you don't quite make it home from the bar at night.

It probably makes them do a double take, anyway.

It reminds me of the aluminum siding company that would include your address, free of charge, on the hidden side of each piece of aluminum siding installed on your house (just in case, you know).
 
  • #33
Evo
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My mother and sister live in Houston. I was there during the last Cat 5 hurricane that hit and we had zero damage, we lost electricity for a few days, that was it. I'm not sure if they are planning to stay, we've never left the house due to a hurricane, but the house is steel frame and brick, so it's as sturdy as any building designated as a shelter. I fear those 30 foot pines all around the house though, there could be roof damage.
 
  • #34
Math Is Hard
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It looks now like Port Arthur is going to get nailed. The storm turned quite a bit today.
 
  • #35
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Is there a chance Rita going to go to Crawford ?
 
  • #36
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Official Rita thread? If this sucker hits Galveston, ooh boy. If you have seen pictures of what the storm surge did to the New Orleans coast, that is what the entire area of Galveston will look like, FLAT. Flooding wont be the issue because it will just run back into the Gulf after the fact. And the sad fact is that it will be completely leveled if it hits just right cause the biggest surge is on the right of the eye. There is a major industrial infrastructure around that area, not just oil refineries which is Huge too, but look, there is Texas A&M, Nasa Johnson Space Center 2 major Nuclear plants, up a ways near the water... Bad bad spot. Oh not to mention a Level 4 Biohard laboratory smack dab in the middle of the island not more than a mile from the water, which I dont know what I want to say about that... few images. Been having fun with Nasa's
"Worldwind" which is a global satalite dealie. http://worldwind.arc.nasa.gov/

http://www.photodump.com/viewer/tdunc/94.77379W_29.31163N.html [Broken]
http://www.utmb.edu/gnl/about/index.shtml
http://www.utmb.edu/construction/ctiedlab.htm [Broken]
http://www.nasa.gov/centers/johnson/home/index.html

Going to bed, hope for the best.
 
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  • #37
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The hurricane-name lists

BobG said:
They skipped 'Q'? I've never seen the names get this far down the alphabet - I was kind of curious what 'Q' name they would use.
nhc.noaa.gov/aboutnames.shtml

"Six lists are used in rotation. Thus, the 2004 list will be used again in 2010."


cnn.com/2005/WEATHER/09/19/storm.names/index.html

The Atlantic basin has seen 17 named storms since the season began June 1, and only four are left on the list.

What's a meteorologist to do if the names run out? Go Greek.
[...]
The letters Q, U, X, Y and Z are skipped because not enough names start with those letters, [National Hurricane Center meteorologist Daniel] Brown said.

Hurricane Alpha would be a first for the hurricane center.

"There was one year in 1933 we actually had 21 storms. That's been the most in the Atlantic. However, it was before we started naming storms" Brown said.
 
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  • #38
Astronuc
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I believe that the 2011 list will not have Katrina.

IIRC, they retire names of the destructive hurricanes, like Andrew and Katrina.
 
  • #39
Moonbear
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Astronuc said:
I believe that the 2011 list will not have Katrina.

IIRC, they retire names of the destructive hurricanes, like Andrew and Katrina.
That is correct. When one is particularly destructive, they retire the name and replace it with a new one in the list.

I'm already getting emails from scientific societies setting up message boards to help place more grad students and scientists if Rita hits Galveston and Houston as hard as predicted.
 

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