The Question Of The Moment For Large Hurricane Ike Is–Will It Strengthen?

Good afternoon everyone. Hope everyone is enjoying the new audio reports I’ve put together: The Hurricaneville Storm Report (9.3 MB) and Tracking the Tropics (8.4 MB). Recently purchased a Griffin iTalk Pro voice recorder for my iPod Classic, and so far it is working great. I just record the audio that I want to say, connect the iPod to my computer, and then take the audio file and copy it to my Desktop. From there, I go into Real Producer, and convert it into a streaming format. The quality is quite good. Very clear sound.

Doing the audio reports this way is a lot quicker than trying the other ways I’ve used in the past, and it’s a quick way just to get something up there for all of you to check out. I’ll still try to put up a text version of both reports every now and then. Moving on, we are still dealing with Hurricane Ike, which has been a strong Category Two Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale with 100 mile per hour winds over the past 24 hours. However, despite many prognostications calling for the storm to strengthen into a major hurricane, it has not.

The storm has grown quite significantly over the past few days. Several days ago, Ike had a wind field that consisted of hurricane force winds extending some 60 miles from the eye while its tropical storm force winds reached out some 145 miles. However, since that time, it has grown even more with hurricane force winds now extending 115 miles while tropical storm force winds go out some 275 miles. The vastness of the system coupled with the disparity between the upper level flight winds, lower level winds, and the minimum central pressure is preventing the storm from strengthening to a major hurricane.

According to the latest discussion provided by the National Hurricane Center, Air Force reconnaissance detected two wind maximums of equal length. Peak flight level winds reached about 100 knots, or nearly 115 miles per hour some 90 miles to the east of the center. Low level mean winds reached up to 96 knots. These translate to about 80 knots, or 100 miles per hour at the surface. Unfortunately, those wind speeds are not in sync with the minimum central pressure of 950 millibars, or 28.50 inches of Hg, which is one of a Category Three Hurricane.

Despite the problems that the storm has with its wind structure, forecasts are still calling for Ike to become a major hurricane by landfall. The GFDL model is still calling for the hurricane to be at least a Category Three storm. Although upper level wind patterns to the west of Ike have not been conducive for development in the past day or two. An upper level ridge over Texas has been responsible for that, but guidance indicates that it will move to the east, and the dry air it has been creating will go away in order to give the Western side of the storm an opportunity to get better developed and organized.

With the ridge moving to the Northeast, the upper level conditions will be much more conducive for the storm, which has well defined outflow on the Northeast and Southwest quadrants, to improve its exhaust on the western side, and become more of a well oiled machine. The official NHC forecast is in agreement with the GFDL thinking, and calls for Ike to be a minimal Category Three Hurricane prior to landfall. Speaking of landfall, Hurricane Ike is projected to move around the periphery of the ridge of high pressure extending over the Southeastern United States. Consequently, the storm is expected to turn more to the right, and head anywhere between Central Texas Coast to the Upper Texas coast.