About Mark Sudduth

Greetings! I am Mark Sudduth, the founder and editor of HurricaneTrack.com. The site began in 1999 as a way to post info concerning tropical storms and hurricanes for any interested visitors. Little did I know how big it would become in the years since. Now, we have millions of visitors from all over the world who have come to rely on the site as a no non-sense, tell it like it is resource for all things hurricane related. We are supported by a combination of corporate sponsors and our loyal Client Services members who subscribe to premium content on our sister site, premium.hurricanetrack.com. I am married with six energetic and intelligent children and live in southeast North Carolina. I graduated UNC-Wilmington in 1995 with a BA in Geography and have studied the effects of hurricanes on our society ever since.

Isaac not done, not by a long shot

5 Day Rainfall Forecast from HPC

5 Day Rainfall Forecast from HPC

The field mission to cover Ike along the Gulf Coast is nearing its end. I will write up a more thorough look back at what all we accomplished, and what still needs to be done, in a later post.

Right now, Isaac continues to dump heavy rain on portions of the lower Mississippi Valley. This huge envelope of tropical moisture will spread northward and eventually turn northeast, bringing heavy rain to a large chuck of the eastern United States. Just look at the HPC rainfall forecast and you’ll see what could be coming over the next five days as Isaac leaves the coast and finally moves inland.

For areas that have not seen heavy rain in quite some time, keep in mind the risk of flooding and take the necessary precautions. It mostly has to do with common sense. Follow that, and you will be safe.

As for Mississippi and Louisiana, Isaac will live on long after it moves away from the region. The clean up and recovery phase, something all too familiar in this area of the country, will commence. Some locations were hit harder than others. News reports are full of more sad stories of flooding and loss but the effects, as we well know, could have been far worse. They were far worse exactly seven years ago today.

The rest of the tropics remain busy as we round out August. Kirk is no threat to land and 98L will almost certainly be a depression tomorrow. We’ll watch it and see what its future holds. At least the coming weekend will be nice for coastal areas with no threats from the tropics to worry about.

We had a very successful field mission and I look forward to sharing much of what we learned, the data we captured and some incredible video with you over the coming days. Mike, Kerry and I would like to thank all of the people who watched our live streams and for the support that we received from the great people of Mississippi once again. While it’s tough to see you all have to deal with this on a regular basis, we appreciate you extending a helping hand to us as we do our work to better understand and report about these incredible weather events. I’ll have regular blog posts again beginning tomorrow afternoon.

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Flooding from rain is a huge issue with Isaac

Isaac Rainfall Map

Isaac Rainfall Map

Check out this graphic from the NWS. It shows the projected rainfall over the next few days as Isaac approaches and then makes landfall along the northern Gulf Coast. This is as serious a threat as the storm surge will be along the immediate coastline. People who think Isaac is not going to be that big of a deal are going to be mistaken and need to realize that it is not about the category every time but rather about the effects of what is coming. Keep Ike in mind and what it did to Texas as “only” a category two. Isaac will cause significant damage and I hope people are prepared.

The team and I are going to deploy another wind tower tomorrow in New Orleans. This will send wind data and hopefully a web cam image to Tower #2 in the app. We should have it set up early tomorrow afternoon.

We will also continue to post video blogs to the app throughout the day as long as we have a 3G signal. We’re hoping for the best!

Our live Tahoe cam coverage will begin again in the morning, not sure exactly when. Tonight we need some sleep as this is the last chance at that we’ll see for some time to come.

Goodnight from Gulfport, MS where the wind is picking up and the skies are cloudy.

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New ECMWF model indicates Mississippi likely landfall for Isaac

ECMWF Model

ECMWF Model

Here is a shot from Weatherbellmodels.com as Tweeted by Dr. Ryan Maue just moments ago showing the 00z ECMWF model output for 48 hours from Sunday night which would be Tuesday night and in to early morning Wednesday. The model has remained tough with its depiction of an “east of” New Orleans landfall of Isaac. It is hard to say what intensity Isaac will be – but this latest run of the reliable Euro model underscores the need for people in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana to be prepared.

The team and I will be out and about all day Monday working with local officials to prepare for locations to place our equipment. We brought one complete wind tower system with us and will have it set up most likely in Gulfport, MS. The data and web cam image will feed in to the app in Tower 1. The other two towers will not be active for this mission. We want to make sure that our set up does in fact get the job done before deploying the remaining towers in future field missions.

I will also keep posting video blogs to the app under “Field Missions”. Please remember to close the app completely and then re-starting it to refresh the video page. I regret that this was overlooked in development but the video blogs are important enough that it is worth the aggravation for now to close the app and reopen it for new content. Please follow @hurricanetrack on Twitter and set an alert for when I post Tweets. I will ALWAYS alert Twitter as to when the app was updated with a new video. Plan on several per day, perhaps a dozen or more starting tomorrow.

Thank you all for the support that your purchase of the app provides. We hope to increase sales significantly in the coming days and then re-invest a lot of this funding in to future enhancements of HurricaneTrack, including an Android version as we know many people want that.

We’ll see you all from the coast of Mississippi.

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Isaac mission underway as Florida and northern Gulf Coast readies for possible impact

The Key to Isaac's Eventual Strength Will Likely Be How Well Its Inner Core Develops

The Key to Isaac's Eventual Strength Will Likely Be How Well Its Inner Core Develops

So far, so good. I have made it to Lake City, Florida where I will meet up with Mike Watkins on Sunday. We will decide our next course of action once the overnight models are complete and the new track forecast comes out from the NHC tomorrow morning. We could be setting up along the coast anywhere from Mississippi to the Florida panhandle. We simply have to wait and see like everyone else. However, there is one key difference.

We are ready. We have all the gear and supplies we need to survive on our own for a week or more. While we wait for Isaac, you shouldn’t be. If you can make some early preparations now along the Gulf Coast, that will help should Isaac in fact make landfall near you. The NHC forecast now calls for a category two hurricane and it will be a large one at that. This means a lot of people will be affected. Use THIS time to do what you can to make things easier later on.

I will be very interested to see how fast, if at all, Isaac develops an inner core. This, I think, is the key to how strong it gets and how fast. If it can align itself vertically and develop that strong inner core, with a ring of deep convection surrounding the eye, then Isaac will be poised to become an intense hurricane. The longer this takes, the better the news will be at landfall. We can only watch and take note of what the Hurricane Hunters find when they fly in and around Isaac.

The blog posts will be less frequent now since I am out in the field. In their place, I will upload video blogs, several per day, with new information about Isaac. These video blogs will play under the “Field Mission” tab inside the HurricaneTrack app. As much of a pain in the butt as it may be, you have to completely close the app and then re-start it to get the video page to refresh. We will have this fixed in the first update pending with Apple. So anytime you see a post from @hurricanetrack on Twitter about a new video blog being added to the app, close it, open it back and it should be there under the “field mission” tab. I plan to post several such blogs each day throughout the mission.

I have brought one complete wind tower set up for use during this mission. It will send wind and pressure data, plus a web cam image, to the app every minute once we deploy it in a place yet to be determined. This page DOES refresh itself automatically- all you have to do is watch the data pour in. It will be really great to see this work. Once I know that the equipment works under the stress of field conditions, then we will roll out the other two towers for future missions down the road. For now, only Tower 1 will have data feeding in to it and if all goes well, it will be a monumental victory for weather fans who own the app!

The westward trend in the models is a bit concerning for Alabama and Mississippi. We will have to wait and see if this trend continues. Remember, it is not just about where the center makes landfall. Isaac is and will be a large system and its effects will impact a wide swath of coast and points inland from landfall.

It’s time for some rest and then on to day two tomorrow as we await the next move by Isaac.

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Isaac prompts hurricane warnings for portions of Florida as it dumps heavy rains on Hispaniola and Cuba

TS Isaac Tracking Map

TS Isaac Tracking Map

TS Isaac is currently feeling the effects of land as it moves over eastern Cuba. The rugged terrain is no doubt taking a toll on the low level center of circulation and this has caused weakening which will continue until the center moves back out over the very warm waters of the Florida Straits. At that point, it is possible that Isaac will regain hurricane intensity and could do so rather quickly. For this reason, hurricane warnings have been posted for much of extreme south Florida, including all of the Keys.

Once Isaac emerges over the water, it will roughly parallel the Cuban coast which means a prolonged period of continued heavy rain for the island. And since the storm is still quite large in size, its effects will spread in to the Florida peninsula well ahead of the center passing through the Keys late tomorrow night or early Monday. Make no mistake, if Isaac is strengthening as it passes through the Keys, its effects will be significantly enhanced, especially the wind. As I have mentioned many times before, it has been our experience that an intensifying storm/hurricane tends to bring the wind down to the surface much more efficiently so please keep this in mind and heed the advice of your local emergency management officials. If you’re told to evacuate, do it. Don’t try to wait and see how strong Isaac gets. It will definitely be too late, especially if it rapidly intensifies over the very warm water.

The next concern will be for the Panhandle region of Florida. Isaac is forecast to make landfall perhaps late Tuesday night. Exactly where cannot be determined yet but keep in mind, the storm surge will be highest to the east of where the center makes landfall. Here too, when the time comes to evacuate, do so without hesitation. It really is better to be safe despite the aggravation of going through the evacuation process. Waiting on Isaac can be a deadly mistake. We can hope all we want but hope is NOT a planning tool.

I am packing up the Chevy Tahoe with gear to prepare to head to Florida today. I will meet up with colleague Mike Watkins and we’ll cover Isaac’s effects for the next several days. I’ll head to SW Florida first, then to the panhandle region after that, unless the track shifts west more and Isaac is forecast to pass farther away from SW Florida. We’ll see as I drive the 12 to 14 hours ahead of me to even get down there.

I will stream LIVE on our Ustream channel which will be embedded on the homepage here once I depart North Carolina. Along the way, you can watch my progress, hear and see everything that goes on. I will also post video blogs to our iPhone app, several of them per day. So if you have the app, be looking for numerous video updates throughout the next few days in the video section of the app. Remember that, unfortunately, you have to completely close the app and then restart it to refresh the video pages. This was overlooked in the initial development and the update coming out soon will have a fix for this.

Florida has not had a hurricane in seven years. I hope that people are ready for what Isaac brings. We will do our best to provide information and updates along the way via this site, Twitter, our app and our exclusive subscriber site, Client Services. A lot of what happens with Isaac will hinge upon how quickly it regains strength over the Florida Straits. Be prepared for anything, especially in the Keys. I’ll see you all from the road this afternoon.

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