Seven years ago this Wednesday, hurricane Katrina ripped into the Gulf Coast. This Wednesday, hurricane Isaac will remind everyone on the Gulf Coast of Katrina. Whether it comes ashore as a monster storm, or just a good storm is still to be determined. However, there are some indicators that this could be a big one.
Very warm water in the Gulf of Mexico is what Isaac needs to strengthen. Right now, it looks like Isaac will be passing over water that is between 80-85 degrees F. That is like high octane jet fuel to a developing storm. While ocean water temperature isn't the only factor that influences a storm and intensification, it is one of the most important.
Right now, it is sucking some drier air into the southwest side of the storm, making it harder for rapid intensification to occur. .
Notice how there aren't any many clouds to the southwest of Isaac? That's the influence of the dry air. So while warm water is important, if the storm sucks dry air into the core, it can disrupt the intensification process. That dry air is forecast to go away in the next day or so. One of many elements to watch...
The folks at the National Hurricane Center do a great job. They hae an incredibly tough job, especially with a storm like Isaac. Computer models placing landfall anywhere from Destin, FL to just northeast of Houston, TX. That's a big area of potential! NHC only forecasting a category 2 storm as it comes on shore, but I worry that may be underdone due to all of the fuel that lies ahead of Isaac. One computer model today showed Isaac as a strong category 4 storm, hitting areas near New Orleans. Frightenting scenario, but it is just a computer model forecast. Something we have to pay attention to, but not a done deal.
Comparing a storm to Katrina is a tricky thing. Everyone remembers what Katrina was all about. But keep this in mind... Katrina weakened considerably when it came ashore. Dropping from a Cat 5 to a weak Cat 3. While New Orleans was the focus, it devastated areas between New Orleans and Mobile. This storm has the potential to be big and impact the same area. Telling folks that is our job, not an act of irresponsibility or sensationalism as some folks think. Making sure folks know the potential and being well prepared is the key. Still lot's to be decided in regard to Isaac, but if I lived in the path, I would be getting out while I could...