Gil Head

In regards to Katrina

By now, everyone has seen or heard this. My comment to someone else is worth repeating, I think, keeping in mind I work as a meteorologist / weather analyst.

I got to spend all day today at work, issuing forecasts on this storm to our company, answering questions, etc...

When out team of mets saw that come over the wire, it floored us. NWS just doesn't issue statements like that. A couple of the senior guys, who have worked dozens of hurricane seasons, have never seen anything like that come from NWS.

As we read it, the most frightening thing was that we all looked at each other, and said, "the bad thing is, I don't think they are being over-sensational." If it takes one of the "doomsday" paths, there won't be a hell of a lot left of the city.

This is just no good.


I'm on duty until 1 or 2 AM tomorrow morning (from home now, at least). This storm is unprecidented; nothing like this has made US landfall. The New Orleans "doomsday" scenario (which drops the entire city under 30+ feet of water) is within the 12-hour error radius. The entire Gulf of Mexico oil and gas production is shut down now. Oil is over $70/bbl, gas over $10/Bcf. There will be damaged and even missing platforms. There probably already ARE damaged or missing platforms, we just don't know about them yet.

People are holding Hurricane Parties in the French Quarter. There's a reasonable chance most of these people will be dead in less than 12 hours.

It's too late to hope there won't be serious loss of property and life. It's not too late to hope to keep the doomsday scenario away, true, but the best thing to hope for is, once everything has passed, that we find sanity *somewhere* and recover as best we can. If you live anywhere in the US, this WILL impact you, from everything from people you know to how much you pay for gas and electricity.

And for anyone in New Orleans, I wish you the best of luck, and I hope you've already gotten the hell out.


EDIT: It's 9:00 CDT, and it looks like an eyewall replacement cycle looks like it may be starting. This COULD drop it a category, which may help quite a bit.
I have been wondering... and since you are into meteorological analysis.. Have you been wondering at all if this wasnt bound to happen (of course it was) But I mean VERY VERY soon.

Reason I ask.. I lived in houston for 7 years.. and I love to watch the weather.. well.. I began to notice something amidst all the talk about what the water temperature was doing out there. I kept seeing a lot of 'almost hurricanes' in the north gulf of mexico.. but none that seemed to really get OUT there and sit for any length of time...
meanwhile it always seemed the water just kept getting warmer.

So... cat 5.. THIS doesnt surprise me, i have been expecting it since '99
and i cant help but wonder if there were more smaller hurricanes out there over the years, would this have happened at the magnitude that it is??
I am asking for your input... this all seems logical to me, but could be way off base.
There are a few things going on this year which (IMHO) combined to lead to this.

First of all, the Tropical North Atlantic index is very VERY high. That's basically a measure of how warm the surface waters of the equatorial North Atlantic are. I have to quickly add a caveat to this: don't blame global warming! This is a natural cycle, and global warming really only shows up globally. The TNA region is small, compared to the globe.

The inredients for a strong hurricane are warm waters, moist air, and lack of upper-level shear. For much of June and July, the equatorial Atlantic met all of these criteria, and we had a record number of storms. Many years we don't get to the "K" storm; we're at K now and it's not yet the peak of the season. The reason the storms suddenly shut off was a sudden burst of dry air off Africa, which took one of the ingredients away.

The problem was, hurricanes "feed on" the warm waters in the ocean. Behind a hurricane, the water is cooler. The source regions of the Gulf water is still quite warm, and local warming is significant. BUT, we turned off the source of storms, so the water just got warmer and warmer. Last week, looking at what was then "Remnants of TD10" on our maps, we said to our group, "this could well become a major hurricane as soon as it hits the Gulf, and it likely track is very scary." That's basically exactly what happened. This little, piddly disturbance hit the high-octane energy water of the gulf, and it took off.

Does that have a season to season impact? It's hard to say. I expect not. However, the TNA hasn't been nearly as high in recent years, which tends to keep the Gulf cooler. The other thing is, if the TNA gets too high, it usually tends to be related to El Nino, which leads to more shear, which also kills off storms. We had some interesting things in the Pacific related to El Nino this last Spring, some of which probably let the TNA get so high. In other words, we managed the perfect combination this year (High TNA, completely neutral El Nino) to let the system as a whole just explode, and do so with particularly strong storms.
Ohh.. and insurance...
... taxes as well?? .. hmm the money from FEMA has to come from somewhere and man its being used A LOT lately.

I know we all get to share in the cost of their rebuilding fun.

I wonder when/if the cost of insurance will ever get so outrageous that people stop start pulling more inland. :P
High winds... lots of rain... possible tornadoes...

I'm sorry, but I'm not seeing what's causing your concern. Nothing here I haven't seen in other hurricane alerts. Has the page changed since you posted this? What am I missing? Curious bunnies want to know!
Gotta say, that reads an awful lot like someone decided to let their emotions get in the way of their professionalism. I'm sure that this will not be good, but I'm betting that this report is...*ahem* overblown.

Drop a category...and swing to the east. Very bad for Mississippi; very good for New Orleans.

Just finished watching the NBC news, though....the scene reminds me of the closing scene from "Dirty Bomb", except that London seemed to be in much better shape then New Orleans.