Keeping an eye on Hurricane Ike
Hurricane Ike is in the Gulf of Mexico heading toward Texas. The storm is expected to make landfall early Saturday as a very strong hurricane, possibly as strong as a Category 4.
Thursday, September 11, 2008 – 7:00 AM CDT / 8:00 AM EDT advisory from AccuWeather
Ike by the numbers:
Hurricane Ike was located near 25.3 north, 88.0 west or about 575 miles east of Brownsville, Texas and 270 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi River.
Ike is traveling west-northwest at 10 mph with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph. Ike is a very large Category 2 hurricane.
The minimum centralizeed pressure is 946 mb, or 27.94 inches.
Hurricane-force winds extend 115 miles outward from Ike’s center. Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 255 miles.
A tropical storm warning is in effect from the Mississippi-Alabama border westward to Cameron, La.
A hurricane watch remains in effect from Cameron westward to Port Mansfield, Texas.
The circulation of Ike is so large that it is already causing water levels to rise 1-3 feet across the entire Gulf of Mexico coast from south Florida to Texas. Parts of southern Louisiana will see a 3-5 foot water rise with tropical storm conditions Thursday. 2-4 inches of rain can be expected along the immediate coastline of Louisiana today, along with isolated weak tornadoes right along the coast.
Ike is still being steered by a strong upper-level high that extends across the northern Gulf of Mexico and the Deep South of the United States. This ridge should remain in place through Friday and keep Ike on a west to west-northwest course through Thursday. Conditions will be favorable for intensification over the next 24-36 hours as water temperatures along Ike’s projected track are at least 82 degrees and wind shear remains relatively weak. Ike is a large hurricane with a small central core and strong winds extend far away from the eye. Ike’s surface remains very low for a Category 2 hurricane. This is due to the fact Ike is a very large storm with energy spread out over a huge distance. But, more energy will focus near the center Thursday. Once this happens then Ike should increase to Category 3 strength, perhaps as early as Thursday afternoon.
Future Path of Ike:
Our forecast is for Ike to remain a major hurricane when making landfall along the Texas coast during the early morning hours Saturday. There is some chance for Ike to become a Category 4 hurricane; however, environmental conditions may become a little more unfavorable by Friday. The recent slower speed of Ike means there is a better chance for it to take a further north track, brining the center closer to Galveston. The best estimate right now is for landfall somewhere between Matagorda Bay and Galveston, Texas. But, a devastating storm surge is expected for more than 100 miles east of landfall. One should not focus on an exact landfall location at this time and all interests along the western Gulf Coast should monitor the progress of Ike closely.