Ike is trying to make up his mind

One of the most important elements in the success of the D-Day invasion of Europe … commanded by the other Ike, General Ike Eisenhower, was that the Allies pretended to prepare to invade from and to a different region of England/France. Like its namesake, Hurricane Ike seems to be trying to fake us out.

Of course, it is a hurricane and thus does not have the ability to actually try to fake us out.

Right now, if the five day forecast is taken verbatim and extended a few more days, Ike is going to strike New Orleans as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane. But the certainty of this prediction is about as uncertain as it gets.

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If you look at that track, you’ll notice that Ike is slated to run the length of Cuba. What is not clear from this picture is that the models predict with roughly equal probability that Ike will run mostly on land for the entire length of our neighboring country’s island, vs. it will run off shore to the north for this entire distance. The difference will mean a lot for both Cuba and the US. Either way, really, this is not good for Cuba, as flooding is probably the biggest risk there, and it is hard to say which is worse: A hurricane on the land that is constantly weakging, or a hurricane that is a little ways away that does not weaken very much.

Either way, Cuba will take some of the punch out of Ike. On the other hand, the cooling effects caused by Gustav and Hanna (a hurricane or large tropical storm tends to reduce sea surface temperature over its track) are not going to play much of a role in reducing Ike’s strength. So Ike will weaken quite a bit between now and, say Midnight Tuesday. Then it will head out over the Gulf and strengthen again.

Unlike Gustav, which was predicted to follow a certain path and pretty much followed it, Ike remains more unpredictable than average in terms of both strength and direction.

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Ike is currently a Category Two storm. Expect it to be a Category Three by this time tomorrow. Depending on what happens with Cuba, Ike may be considerably weakened by Tuesday. Ike will have plenty of warm Gulf water to crank up to major hurricane status after that, and could easily head northwest into the US gulf coast as a serious threat by next weekend or so but it is way too early to tell at this point.


Oh, by the way, even though the attempted distraction of an invasion from and of different locations was an important element in the D-Day planning, there is evidence that the effectiveness of this strategy was limited.

Comments

  1. #1 Pierce R. Butler
    September 6, 2008

    The effectiveness of the Normandy invasion in 1944 hinged in large part on faulty decisions by Hitler and his generals.

    The destructiveness of hurricanes striking the Louisiana coast ion 2008 depends on the preparations completed by the Bush administration (FEMA, Army Corps of Engineers, etc).

    Cite Godwin’s Law if you want, but I’m glad my friends & family have places to go inland.

  2. #2 greg laden
    September 6, 2008

    As I have said elsewhere, Hurricane Katrina owes her greatness to the unpreparedness of her contemporaries.

  3. #3 Rocky
    September 7, 2008

    Katrina taught us a lot of lessons, both those of us who are civilians and those of us in the various responding government agencies. Most of them were not the lessons everyone thinks they were simply because the problems were not what most everyone thinks they were.

    My son, my brother, and his wife are, even now, after Gustav, still on National Guard duty awaiting Ike’s decision. Things went better this time, though Gustav was not as powerful as expected. Still had some problems with shelters here in Shreveport and I fear that may cause some south residents to forsake evacuation. As bad as it sounds I hope Ike goes somewhere else if it strengthens up.

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