Thursday, September 11, 2008
Latest On Ike............................
Hurricane Ike promises to bring wild weather to East Texas Saturday into Early Sunday. The current forecast track has Ike crossing the central part of East Texas Saturday Afternoon. The large wind field associated Hurricane Ike will bring widespread strong gusty winds and possible power outages. There is also a good chance that Ike will produce isolated tornadoes across East Texas Friday Night into most of Saturday. The good news, if any, is the fact Ike will begin to move rapidly through East Texas. This will keep total rainfall amounts much lower than they could be, mainly 2 to 4 inches with a few isolated spots in our eastern counties nearing 6 inches.
Ike is having a hard time developing this afternoon due to its unique structure. Ike actually has two areas of wind maxima, eyewalls, with winds near 100mph. It’s the outer wind maxima that is inhibiting the inner eye to strengthen to level we would expect with low sea level pressure Ike has, around28.00” of mercury. Also, this second eyewall is helping spread out Ike’s wind field. Tropical storm force winds extend nearly 300 mile from the center this afternoon. So as Ike approaches the coast early Saturday morning, up here in East Texas we will begin to fell tropical storm force winds.
The possibility of tornadoes with Ike will be greater than we see with most tropical systems. With Ike’s large circulation, there will be a great deal of wind shear, winds blowing at different speeds and directions, over a large area of Texas. It is this wind shear which causes the storms to spin as they develop in the outer rain bands, making tornadoes a distinct possibility. Past hurricanes with wind fields this large have been prolific tornado producers. Hurricane Beulah (1967) produced 117 tornadoes with five of them being an F-3 in strength and one an F-4 but I doubt we will see this many because of the rapid movement. We will all have to monitor this situation very closely through the weekend.