Dr. Jeff Masters:
Data from the NOAA jet will go into tonight's 00Z (8 pm EDT) model runs, which will be available first thing Wednesday morning. That set of model runs should give us a pretty good idea of where Ike will go. I'm sure emergency managers are not eager to call for an evacuation of Houston, after the debacle of the evacuation for Hurricane Rita in 2005. Over 110 people died in the evacuation--far more than died in the storm. Still, there is a significant chance that an evacuation of large stretches of the Texas coast--including portions of Houston--will have to be ordered on Wednesday or Thursday.IKE advisory discussion:
A realistic worse-case scenario for Texas
There is a significant chance that Ike will be the worst hurricane to hit Texas in over 40 years. The latest run of the HWRF and GFDL models paint a realistic worst-case scenario for Texas. These models bring Ike to the coast as a Category 4 hurricane (which I give a 20% probability of happening). The HWRF predicts a 170-mile stretch of coast will receive hurricane force winds of 74 mph or greater. A 100-mile stretch of coast will receive winds of Category 3 strength and higher, 115 mph. Hurricane force winds will push inland up to 50 miles, along a 50-mile wide region where the eyewall makes landfall. A 100-mile stretch of Texas coast will receive a storm surge of 10-15 feet, with bays just to the right of where the eye makes landfall receiving a 20-25 foot storm surge.
When Ike is in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico it will be in a very
difluent and favorable environment for restrengthening...and Ike is
expected to regain major hurricane status. The pattern looks a
little less conducive in the western Gulf...with some northeasterly
shear...so the official forecast shows no further strengthening
there. The official forecast is a blend of the statistical
guidance...which is basically category 2...and the dynamical
GFDL/HWRF which show Cat 3/4 strength in the western Gulf.