Some time Friday night or even late after noon on Friday, you can expect hurricane force winds from Hurricane Ike to affect the Texas coast, possibly not too far from Galveston/Houston. Note, however, that the Hurricane is still pretty far out at sea and it is just now beginning a slow right turn that is expected to get more curvy over the next 48 hours. So, the exact location of land fall of the eye is very difficult to predict. Note also that Ike is very large, and has unusually strong winds in places somewhat far from the eye. The strength of the hurricane at landfall will be Category Four, Three or Two.

It turns out that Ike is interesting. There are very strong winds at high altitude, and very weak winds near the ocean surface (for a hurricane). There is something of a discordance between the central pressure and the wind patterns, and there seems to be multiple zones outside of the eye wall that have maximal winds.

Ike might be likened to a person about to fall off a tight rope. If you add up the physical locations of all the body parts, you get a center of gravity indicating that this person is not supposed to be on the tight rope, yet they are still there. For now. Or, Ike might be linked to a major league baseball pitcher. If you were from another planet and saw a pitcher pitch but could not perceive the ball, you would see a contradictory flailing pattern of mass movement. But somehow out of this we get a 95 mile an hour projectile. The overarching pattern of movement of heat from the warm sea surface to the frigid stratosphere is strangely disrupted and this disruption may be causing further disruption. The high winds that are far from the eye and in advance of the storm’s movement may be messing up the heat pump by churning up the sea surface. Ike is doing things that hurricanes don’t normally do.

So, the storm could fall apart somewhat. Or it could be stronger than it looks. I’ll tell you one thing: If I was in Freeport, Texas right now, I’d be doing my laundry so I would have clean underwear to pack. Especially if I lived in the little bungalo with the green roof on East 8th Street between Poplar and Spruce.

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  1. #1 Kate
    September 11, 2008

    looks like whatever that tropical disturbance is in the Baja is steering Ike eastwards.

    Is that map ACCURATE? are they expecting hurricane force winds near DALLAS? That’ s pretty far inland for it to maintain!

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    September 11, 2008

    No no no! This map is not showing hurricane force winds in Dallas. Or if it is it is bogus.

    This map is for fun. It is some geek drawing the hurricane track on a google map and updating it every few hours. The red line is not hurricane force winds, it is the cone of error for the central track of the storm.

    The eastward track is not from the cyclonic activity in the Baja, but rather, this is Ike making an end run around a large ridge that has been steering it westward until just recently.

  3. #3 Epicanis
    September 11, 2008

    I just hope it keeps curving more sharply eastward. A couple of days ago (when the predictions tended to point more towards a landing nearer to Corpus Christi) I was making tongue-in-cheek comments about being disappointed that we were going to miss out on the rain. At the moment, the predictions have the center of the possible tracks going right over the area where I live. Obviously, someone told Ike what I said.

    We’re almost 100 miles inland, so we have that going for us, but still…

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    September 11, 2008

    As a quick update: The storm has ‘normalized’ and is now looking like it will be a pretty solid Cat three on landfall, but then of course it will weaken quickly.