Isaac Eyes Gulf/US Landfall
This Sunday evening, Isaac was still a strong tropical storm (60 mph sustained winds) with an upgrade to hurricane status (74 mph winds) likely to wait for Monday. His Sunday afternoon assault of South Florida and the Keys was nothing too dramatic, despite what I saw on national network coverage. Wind whipped squally rains strafed much of the region from the Everglades and Alligator Alley all the way south to the Keys. In between downpours, some waited at Mallory Dock for a tropical sunset at Marguerite-ville (of Jimmy Buffet fame).
Farther north showers and thunderstorms made it to the Tampa Bay area where Republicans arriving for the G.O.P. national convention had only to remember to pack their umbrellas and ponchos and they would be safe.
That’s because Isaac’s centroid (developing an eye was slow to occur) was indeed avoiding the west coast of Florida just as the European Model had said for a week. If politicians still want to debate global warming, that’s fine though a 20 years ago argument. What we should instead be talking about is why the European Meteorology Center in London has a consistently better depiction of our weather here in the States than our American model (GFS).
A week ago, the GFS had a Florida east coast storm. Then gradually over time that forecast has shifted to the Eastern Gulf and now on Sunday evening a possible landfall west of New Orleans. Imagine the “panic” going on now as the possibility of a strong hurricane going just west of the Crescent City is spewed by the media to folks in the French Quarter.
You see, a major hurricane going to the west of New Orleans has always been the worst case scenario (worse than Katrina) since it would have the ability to cause tidal storm/ surge flooding of sea water into N.O. Recall when Katrina went onshore in 2005 to the east of N.O., it was water from Lake Pontchartrain that inundated the city from the north on the backside of Katrina. That was brackish/fresh water, not sea water.
Meanwhile, with only marginal wiggle room all week long, the European model (Euro) has maintained a fairly consistent and reliable track with a landfall somewhere in the Florida Panhandle-Mississippi-Alabama Gulf coast region, a mere 100 mile spread. And this Sunday evening, that continues to be the Euro’s best track.
The next 24 hours will tell a lot about Isaac as he steers through the tepid waters of the open Gulf. Intensification is likely as the tempest makes his decision as to where to take his eye.
For Thundering Herd and Ohio Bobcat fans, my best GUESS is a landfall close to Mobile Bay and nearby Ladd Peebles Stadium of GMAC Bowl fame. Recall how high winds from Katrina did damage to the stadium back in 2005.
Here’s a link to the National Hurricane Center. It provides you with all the information you need to track the storm through the eyes of the hurricane experts.
Here’s the Sunday afternoon Euro’s look at the storm going onshore near Mobile Bay.
And here’s the GFS model’s depiction of the same time with a storm track along the Louisiana Gulf coast.
For vacationers heading to Myrtle Beach, there will be indirect effects felt at the Grand Strand. Those effects center on an infiltration of the steamiest air of the summer. So expect a tropically muggy environment all week and next weekend. Under those conditions, a tropical downpour in a thunderstorm can occur on a moment’s notice, any place, any time.
For our region, Isaac will help to keep our weather hotter than normal through the Labor Day weekend with any rain way more likely to fall in Southern Kentucky than say Northern WV. Herd and ‘Eers fans, that means a repeat of the weather from the 1997 game is in store.
That day the heat was intense with air temperatures in the upper 80s feeling like 90s inside Milan Puskar. The TDs flew fast and furious with Pennington to Moss for the Herd and Marc Bulger and “Famous” Amos Zereoue hitting pay dirt for WVU.
Isaac and Friends of Coal updates, all week long!