I want first apologize for my absence from the blog these past couple of days. I was able to take a little breather after our extensive Gustav coverage. My thanks goes out to all of you who emailed me with your questions about Gustav, and I was really proud of our whole news station during the Gustav event.
As for now, I'm sure you have already been told about our new friend "Ike". At the 4pm update he has now strengthened to 135 mph, which makes it a Category 4. This intensification is clearly connected to a low shear value of 20kts and, of course, the movement into warmer water. The next 24 hours could see even more intensification, but the biggest story will be the land interference of Cuba. Cuba, once again, has claimed prime real estate to diminish the intensity of Hurricane Ike, but the amount of loss Ike will lose from land interference is a little uncertain. The 2nd biggest story is the models continuation to push Ike westward into the center of the Gulf.
I feel certain about a Gulf entry for Ike, but I am not completely sold on a similar location as Gustav. Gustav ran right through the middle of the Gulf in a NW fashion, but my early thoughts keep Ike on the Eastern side of the Gulf. I'm basing this thought on the models showing a trough pushing through the nation Tuesday through Thursday. This front will break down the ridge and allow Ike to make a Northern turn into a region of lower, or weaker, pressure. Without a strong push from a solid ridge I am not comfortable forecasting a "Center of the Gulf" forecast for Ike. Remember, hurricanes will always take the path of least resistance. The path of least resistance is always found away from a ridge, or high pressure. Ike's westward movement will be hard to continue without the influence of a ridge as forecast by mid-week. Fronts break down ridges. My early thoughts on landfall look at the Tallahassee through New Orleans coastline.
Although please remember many things can still mix up this forecast. Several factors are waiting to be nailed down after Ike makes landfall on Cuba. Ike is a threat to the Gulf Coast region, but Cuba will definitely have severe destruction.
I will update you more later.
Please feel free to email me your thoughts firstname.lastname@example.org