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Thoughts On Ike — Why Now?
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Thoughts On Ike

The state of Texas is taking this storm very seriously, as they should. It is being reported that Evacuations Begin As Ike Heads For Texas, and they obviously took notes during Rita and are avoiding most of the problems. The most vulnerable and most difficult to move group are going out first and they are staging buses for the people who do not have their own transportation.

When I say that the report on MSNBC that Ike postpones Arkansas-Texas game is an indication of how serious this is being taking, many may scoff, but this is a major event in Texas and it would generate a lot of traffic in and around Austin. Many people from Arkansas would normally drive to this event, as well as people from all over Texas. This is a very responsible decision by those involved. Austin may not get as much from Ike as the coast, but there is no need to have tens of thousands of extra people on the roads and in motels while people are fleeing a hurricane.

The pressure in Ike has dropped to 944 millibars. That is consistent with a minimal Category 4 hurricane with winds above 130 miles per hour, but it is still a Category 2 with 100 miles per hour winds. It seems to be preparing for an explosive jump in status. Something is going on with the storm, that I’m not seeing. The hurricane force wind field has expanded, and it is a huge storm, filling the Gulf, but it has a very small inner core.

Currently there uncertainty about the steering involving two elements. There is an East-West ridge of high pressure building in above the storm and a low pressure area is expected to drop down. The ridge will keep Ike on a West-Northwest path, but the low will pull it to the North. The models don’t agree when the ridge will weaken as a result of the low and allow Ike to start heading North. That is the reason the entire coast is on alert. The majority of the models say around Corpus Christi, but one says Houston and another says Brownsville. At this point the only semi-sure thing is Texas.