New ECMWF model indicates Mississippi likely landfall for Isaac



Here is a shot from 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.

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.

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.

Important time period coming up for Isaac and where it ultimately ends up

Isaac looks pretty ragged tonight with deep convection really on the downturn. On the other hand, it seems to be trying to develop a central core which could lead to strengthening if it weren’t for the lack of deep convection. Isaac has been quite an interesting storm to forecast and it has kept many of us on edge.

The biggest threat coming up for the Greater Antilles will be flooding. Isaac is forecast to pass over Haiti and then eastern Cuba this weekend. We will hope for the best but know how bad the flooding can be.

Since the storm is so large, it will spread rain and squally weather up in to Florida this weekend. Since there has already been way too much rain in portions of Florida already in recent weeks, Isaac will only add to the water in the ground and it is possible that this will be a serious flooding event if nothing else. Keep this in mind if you live in Florida and have seen a lot of rain as of late.

After Isaac emerges over the Florida Straits, the clock will really begin to tick, so to speak. It is this time frame when we could see it either strengthen and do so quickly or never recover after passing over the Antilles. It is for this reason, the uncertainty in the future intensity, that residents all along the coast of Florida and areas inland as well, need to be prepared and stay informed. I suggest you get a NOAA Weather Radio and use it for local weather statements as Isaac rolls past.

The official forecast calls for a landfall in the Panhandle next week. We’ll see how that changes over the coming days but people in that region should be already thinking about what actions to take. Don’t try to “wait and see” if Isaac is strong enough to convince you it means business. By the time it does and you react, it may be too late to make much difference. Remember the size of the storm here too- if it gets strong, it will impact a lot of people.

I will decide tomorrow morning what area of Florida my team and I will begin coverage from. I am leaning towards the Panhandle area so that we can be absolutely ready for the assumed stronger landfall this coming week. We’ll have a live stream on the homepage in place of the blog. That stream will be free through Ustream and will run up until a certain point and then we must use the live video for our private clients- our subscribers. They pay the bills and we appreciate that and so we must allocate our resources towards taking care of them with the live video feeds. If you’re interested in signing up, we have room for about 150 more members right now until we have to limit access to preserve the integrity of the service. We cannot handle 1000s of subscribers at once – it would just get too overwhelming and we can’t handle individual questions etc. during our live coverage. So check out Client Services in the link over in the right-hand column. It supports our work and gives you something absolutely unique and innovative in return. We’ll also be posting video blogs to the new HurricaneTrack app for iPhone. Our Android version is not ready yet. Hopefully we can fund the completion of the Android version after we get back from the Isaac mission.

I’ll have another blog post here in the morning and then it will be time to hit the road and begin the Isaac field work.

Latest run of GFS puts Florida peninsula in Isaac’s path

As Isaac tries to gain organization today, its future track remains a big question mark. It seems fairly certain that over the next day or so that the storm will pass over parts of Hispaniola and Cuba. It’s what happens after that part of the track forecast that has huge implications for Florida.

As you may recall, the computer model guidance has been shifting west over the past couple of days and the threat of a significant hurricane landfall along the central Gulf Coast seemed to be growing. This westward trend has apparently come to a halt today and now the threat to southeast Florida and the peninsula as a whole is back in play.

Latest GFS Model Run Showing Threat to SE Florida

Latest GFS Model Run Showing Threat to SE Florida

The key elements are a trough and ridge. The ridge is a large area of high pressure situated over the western Atlantic that acts to push on Isaac like a large water balloon. The trough is like a wedge that comes in and is stronger than the water balloon and pushes on it, creating a space for Isaac to move through. If the ridge is strong enough and resists the trough, then Isaac tracks farther to the west. If the trough is strong enough, then Isaac takes that weakness in the atmosphere and comes in to the Florida peninsula. It is not out of the question that the trough energy would be enough to pull Isaac up to the east of Florida either though nothing right now shows that happening. We did see with Irene last year how much the five day forecast can change, even day to day.

The U.S. based GFS or Global Forecast System model in its most recent run shows Isaac bearing down on southeast Florida in about 48 hours and beyond. This is in response to a clear break in the ridge of high pressure over the western Atlantic. While this development is excellent news for the central Gulf Coast, it brings back the possibility of hurricane conditions for the large population center of south Florida and the Keys. Furthermore, the GFS then brings Isaac up the west side of Florida and we all know what is going on next week in Tampa. It will be really interesting to see what the European model, aka ECMWF, shows on its run which will come out later this afternoon. The Euro model lead the charge for a westward track for several days in a row and has only recently begun to swing more east as it too sees a stronger digging by the trough over the eastern United States.

I know the public would like a perfect forecast with each storm but it’s just not possible yet. The NHC has an incredible amount of talent and modern computer guidance to utilize for each forecast cycle. But when we are talking three, four and five days out or more, there are just so many variables that can come and go, making each forecast a potential challenge. Fortunately for now, Isaac remains quite weak. That aspect of the forecast is also equally tough since rapid intensification can happen almost without warning. This is why people need to just be prepared and not waffle back and forth with the models or the forecasts. If you’re in the cone of uncertainty, then that means there is an uncertain amount of risk to you posed by that tropical entity. If a hurricane or tropical storm watch or warning is posted, then it’s time to act. Trying to second guess the guidance or the forecasts is never a good use of time. Just be ready in case Isaac tracks your way and keep in mind that it is a very large storm. This means the effects, wind, rain etc, will be impacting the areas affected well in advance of the center.

I am working on my video blog for our iPhone app now and will have it posted shortly. I will take a graphical, in-depth look at the latest GFS run and what the potential impacts could be for Florida this weekend and in to next week.

I will also be working on packing up equipment for a field mission to Florida where I will work with colleague Mike Watkins to cover Isaac’s impacts on the region. I may leave as early as this evening depending on the future forecast info from the NHC.

I would like to invite you to consider following along LIVE via our Client Services site. It is a subscription service that allows you to watch our progress live while being able to interact with us and other members via our own chat program. It is not open to the public so there are no trolls or troublemakers. Your subscription also gives you access to our expanded set of tracking maps, including our exclusive offering of Stormpulse maps. In addition, we set out our own live streaming video cam systems right in the heart of where the worst of the storm or hurricane is expected. This too is available, 100% ad free, to our subscribers. We have over 380 members from around the world, many from Florida. If you feel that having access to live coverage from a team who has over 15 years of experience in the field, then Client Services can serve you well. Click here to sign up today.

I’ll post another blog update early this evening or sooner if need be.