Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Gustav is a MAJOR concern



Please take this with a grain of salt; maybe even with half a shaker, but anyway you slice it, the model output by the GFDL model is very disturbing. The GFDL is considered one of the most reliable models in forecasting tropical systems.

The GFDL shows a strong Hurricane Gustav making landfall on the coast of Louisiana, just west of New Orleans around Midnight Sunday night/Monday morning. The GFDL shows the storm will be packing maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour and a minimum central pressure of 938 millibars, or 27.70 inches of mercury. That is a top end Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. That pressure figure is usually associated with a Category Four hurricane. The GFDL also shows the storm to have winds of 150 miles per hour, which is a high end Category Four about 6 hours prior to landfall.

HUGE disclaimer: This is simply model output. I think that it is reasonable to expect that a strong hurricane will strike the Gulf Coast early next week. The models will likely shift back and forth quite a bit between now and then, however, with regard to intensity and especially location.
To back up the disclaimer, here is an excerpt from this morning's NHC discussion:

THERE IS VERY LITTLE...IF ANY...SKILL ININTENSITY PREDICTIONS AT THESE EXTENDED RANGES. INDEED...IF ONELOOKS AT THE LATEST WIND SPEED PROBABILITY PRODUCT INCLUDED IN THISPACKAGE...IT CAN BE SEEN THAT THERE IS NEARLY AN EQUAL CHANCE THATGUSTAV WILL BE A CATEGORY 1...CATEGORY 2...OR CATEGORY 3 HURRICANEAT THE END OF THE FORECAST PERIOD.

It is very disturbing, though, that the GFDL is painting this picture.

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