Ike is slowly increasing in intensification. With sea surface temperatures well above 80°F and wind shear of only 5-10kts, Ike could become a Cat 3 overnight and even a Cat 4 by tomorrow night. Ike is also under good upper-level diffluence, which allows the whole hurricane to maintain strength with a steady lift from the sfc to the top of the cloud deck. The last 24 hours has also shown us an infrared satellite image of very cold cloud tops in the center of rotation. In fact, I have seen temps colder than -75°C , which is near the top of most IR temperature scales. One thing is for sure, Ike is liable to be a very dangerous storm for the TX coast line, but most of the Gulf coast will see an influence of Ike.
Here in the Pine Belt we have a slight chance of seeing some isolated showers on Thursday and Friday afternoon, but the best shot of rain should come in to play along the southern portion in Pearl River, Stone, and George County.
The image at the top shows the latest model runs still leaning to a Corpus Christi. I feel like I must address the lonely model (in orange) tracking the storm North through Mobile. This is the CLPS model, which is only based on statistics. So from past statistics Tropical Activity usually travels northward. Since hurricanes never follow their "normal" path, this model is very rarely correct.
For intensity: Most models show a landfall between a Cat 3 and low end Cat 4. This could easily happen as many variables are in line for Ike to be a very strong storm.
In the wake of a strong hurricane hitting Texas, I have been able to review some of the past strong hurricanes in Texas history. A few to talk about...
Ike has a very simliar journey as a hurricane in 1919. This storm hit just south of Corpus Christi and killed nearly 1000 people including about 700 in sea vessels. In 1961 Hurricane Carla hit Texas with max winds of 150mph and a pressure of 931mb. Only 46 lives were lost because of the early preparations. Also, Hurricane Allen hit Brownsville, Texas, in 1980 after reaching an extremely low pressure of 899mb.
Many of Texas' most powerful hurricanes made landfall within the first two weeks of September, which just happens to be the similar time period of Ike.
Landfall is expected very early Saturday morning. This could very well be the time when we are all hoping Texas residents are safe and sound.