Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hurricane Gustav now a Cat4!!!!

Now Gustav has exploded from a tropical storm to a category 4 hurricane in less than 24 hours.

Latest Advisory from the Nation Hurricane Center:


Gustav Explodes

Gustav explodes over night like expected. Gustav increased in strength from a tropical storm to a category 3 hurricane in less than 18 hours. That is almost unheard of. Gustav’s rapid intensification has calmed down a bit but, he could be a Category 4 before hitting Cuba. The southern end of Cuba will not weaken Gustav too much. He will probably emerge in the southern Gulf as a strong Category 2. From here he will cross the southern loop current in the Gulf. I would not be surprised if we were looking at a Category 5 storm late Sunday in to Monday. Now I still believe Gustav will weaken before hitting the coast, more than likely a strong Cat 2 or a weak Cat 3. Most of the computer models have come to an agreement of bringing Gustav onshore just west of Lafayette LA. A few are beginning to hint that Gustav could stall right before hitting the coast and then move southwest into Mexico but this guidance is in the minority.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Potential Effects of Gustav

Gustav has the potential to be a very dangerous, land falling hurricane early next week across parts of the Gulf Coast States. Gustav spent most of yesterday over the southeastern tip of Haiti causing the low levels of the tropical system to weaken and become disorganized. At the same time in the upper levels of the atmosphere, conditions seem favorable for development. Hurricane hunters found a surprise with Gustav this morning, the center of the storm had reorganized farther to the southwest over the warm waters of the Caribbean causing the winds to jump to near hurricane strength once again. Gustav could become a hurricane later today but he has one more obstacle to overcome, Jamaica. The current forecast track takes Gustav over the small island and this could once again disrupt the organization of Gustav today. Once Gustav moves away from Jamaica, conditions appear favorable for rapid intensification. Very warm waters and favorable upper level atmospheric conditions will allow Gustav to become a strong hurricane before reaching the Gulf of Mexico. As Gustav crosses the Southern Gulf of Mexico he will cross a region know as the Southern Gulf Loop Current. This is an area of very warm water not just at the surface, but down to a depth of 200 to 300 feet. It is this area of deep, warm water that has caused many storms to explode in strength if the conditions for development are favorable. Some storms of note that have exploded in intensity over this region are Opal of 1995, Katarina of 2005, Rita of 2005, and Wilma of 2005. The image below shows the Southern Loop Current. Notice the bright red colors. This shows water temperatures between 88°F and 90°F, giving a lot of fuel for Gustav’s development.

So the big question is where will Gustav go? Forecast tracts have consistently sent Gustav to the Louisiana Gulf Cost sometime late Monday or Early Tuesday. Right now there is a ridge of high pressure located over the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and this is forcing Gustav to move west. Over the next couple of days we expect this area of high pressure to weaken, allowing Gustav to turn more northwest. The farther west Gustav moves before turning to the northwest, the farther west the eventual land fall will be. Another big factor on where Gustav will go is an area of high pressure that will develop across the Ohio Valley Sunday. Gustav will be forced along the outer edge of this area of high pressure. The stronger this high pressure, the farther west Gustav will go. The image below is the current forecast track from the Nation Hurricane Center.

One not of interest, the average error for day five for a tropical systems location is 300 miles. So everyone with interests along the Gulf Coast, and with current fuel prices that is everyone, should continue to monitor Gustav.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Where are you going Fay?

That is a question we will be answering over the next few days. Right now it appears Fay will drift west across the Florida Peninsula and then the Panhandle. The big question is will she move far enough south, over the Gulf, allowing Fay to strengthen once again, possibly into a hurricane? The image above shows the forecast tracks from various computer models the National Hurricane Center uses to determine their official track. As you can see, the majority keep Fay right along the Florida Coast. This would not allow her to strengthen and more than likely Fay would remain a depression. You can also see that one of the models, the Navy’s GFDN (Dark Blue), their tropical cyclone forecast model, tracks Fay across the northern Gulf. This is a worst case scenario. Fay would more than likely become a hurricane over the warm Gulf waters and head in the direction of New Orleans.

Ultimately Fay’s track will be determined by the overall atmospheric pattern and steering currents. Currently, a large area of high pressure is off the New England coast acting like a brick wall, not allowing Fay to move north. The outer edge of the high will steer Fay to the west over the next couple of days. There is also a trough of low pressure over the Northern Plains that could turn Fay north into the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys but, this trough will be replaced by another area of high pressure beginning next week. It is this second area of high pressure that will have the greatest effect on Fay’s future. If the high strengthens fast enough, Fay will remain on a southern track and could move as far west as the Texas Gulf Coast. If the high remains a little weaker, the Fay could squeeze between the two areas of high pressure, staying over land, weakening, and then being picked up by the continental westerly winds. The second scenario seems more likely at this time but, Fay has been surprising everyone so we will be watching this situation very closely.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Interesting Fay............

To say Tropical Storm Fay is a unique system would be an understatement. Fay is one of the rare tropical systems that actually strengthened as she moved on land. Early Tuesday Morning, Fay came ashore near Cape Romano, FL, about 20 miles south of Naples with top winds of 60mph and a rather rugged eye wall structure. However, Fay’s eye wall structure became much better organized while over land just south of Lake Okeechobee. In fact, Doppler radar indicated a well defined eye for Fay with winds close to hurricane strength before moving over Lake Okeechobee. The official statement from the National Hurricane Center showed the winds increased from 60mph to 65mph while over the mainland. So how did this happen? Tropical Storm Fay has two things working in her favor as she made landfall. First, the topography of South Florida which consists of the Everglades, a flat grassy wetland area, reduces the amount of friction the storm will encounter leading to a lack of weakening. Second, the upper levels of the atmosphere were very conducive to tropical storm development by providing Fay a large area of upper level outflow, allowing the storm in the lower levels of the atmosphere to strengthen. Notice the radar loop of Fay over South West Florida showing a symmetric eye wall, a sign of a strong tropical system.

Doppler radar velocity data indicated winds of nearly 70 knots, approaching hurricane force. The strongest surface wind reported during Fay was 78mph on the western shore of Lake Okeechobee at Moore Haven. Also, the water temperature in Lake Okeechobee is nearly 92°F, which could also add to the sustained strength over South Florida.

So where will Fay head next? Well it all depends on a developing area of high pressure over the Mid West this weekend. All indications are Fay will turn to the west and move across the Florida Panhandle, this will keep her circulation over land not allowing her to strengthen. There is a chance that her circulation could move back over water in the northern Gulf. The water temperature here is in the upper 80’s so if this does happen, rapid intensification could occur. It does appear the chances Fay, whatever becomes of her, making it into East Texas are very low. More than likely Fay will be picked up by a through early next week and move over the Mid West into the North East.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Big Weight Loss Plan.........

Well, another week has gone by and three more pounds are gone. At 207 pounds, this is the lowest weight I have been in over two years. I also went to my doctor this week and got some great news. In six weeks my cholesterol has dropped 94 points. That’s right, 94 points!!! My blood pressure has dropped significantly as well, although it still needs to come down just a bit. I have added a very tasty low carb meal on the recipe link to the right of the page. Just click on the picture and look for the Blackened Redfish recipe. Feeling great and look forward to dropping below the Mendoza line, for all you baseball fans, in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My Big Weight Loss Plan.....................

Just wanted to post an update on my progress with the Atkins Diet. I have now lost a total of 16 pounds in my first two weeks on the diet, down to 210 pounds. Only 35 more pounds to go until I reach my goal weight of 175 pounds and 45 pound until my ideal weight, 165 pounds. After two weeks on the plan I find myself having more energy during the day and not feeling hungry between meals. Sometimes I even find that I have to force myself to eat due to a lack of appetite. This surely wasn’t the case two weeks ago when I was constantly looking for something to snack on between meals. As for my meals, I have been enjoying a great variety of food. I will start adding low carb recipes to the “Grant’s Menu Link” soon. Check back from time to time to see what great tasting entrees are leading to my weight loss.