Not since a certain President during the 1950’s has there been such a fuss over anyone named “Ike”. But, unlike the popular “Ike” (who both Texas and Kansas claim), there is nothing much to like about the current Ike.
As stated by the NHC in its update this morning, only five days ago Ike appeared to be heading for the Florida Keys and then toward New Orleans. The Keys were ordered evacuated and hundreds of thousands of folks in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana began losing sleep over the prospect of Katrina number two.
We are now at day five and Ike is SOUTH of Cuba and “supposedly” going to south Texas to follow up on what Dolly started. The Keys are wet and windy and full of disgruntled business owners who are complaining about lost income due to the evacuation. Everyone in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana has gotten back to either recovering from Gustov or preparing for the next football game. How times change in a matter of five days.
The question that begs to be answered is; where will Ike be five days from now? That indeed is the million dollar question that is much more difficult than answered who the longest reigning monarch was in England (answered correctly on “Fifth Grader” last week for one million dollars). I know what most of the models are showing and at the current rate, according to them, Ike will probably end up in Mexico. But, I also know what the UKMET and HWRF are showing about a possible curve to the north.
All the models and the official forecast are based on a series of “What If’s” coming to pass. Assumptions are made based on the probability of certain things happening at certain times. If all works out perfectly, then the five day forecast is right. If something doesn’t work perfectly, the forecast is a bust. For five days we were told (near St. Louis) that there would be storms and rain yesterday and today. Certain areas did get severe storms last evening around St. Louis, but many areas got no rain at all. Today is sunny with no chance of rain. What happened?
A front moved faster than anticipated and the trigger for the storms was pulled to the east and south of here. The end result is a “busted” forecast that really bothered no one since this is the wettest year in history around here. The amazing part of this story is that the forecast for storms yesterday and today was still being promoted at noon yesterday.
I do not believe for one minute at this point in time that Hurricane Ike is going to end up hitting the deserted southern coast of Texas north of Brownsville early Saturday morning as a category 3 storm. Between now and then, something will change with the ridges and troughs north and east of the Gulf of Mexico and the timing of them. Something will dramatically alter the things needed for Ike to grow or diminish.
Where Ike ends up going is strictly based on probabilities at the moment. By the time Saturday rolls around, I am quite certain Ike will be somewhere OTHER THAN the uninhabited coastline between Brownsville and Corpus Christi, Texas. Where, I have no clue other than to trust those who have far more knowledge than I and who have no agenda to fulfill. The best sources I have access to put the better chance for landfall near Corpus Christi as a category 4 or even a 5 storm.
Bear with me here. WHAT IF, the ridge that is supposed to guide Ike to the west or even southwest does not do as planned when it is planned to? What if something happens to provide an opening for the storm to move north through a weakness in the ridge (has happened many times)? What if the remnants of Josephine reach the Bahamas as planned later this week and turn into a depression and totally wreck the models plans?
Of course evacuation plans and other provisions cannot be made of a series of “WHAT IF’S”, but by the same token millions of people cannot be lulled into a false sense of security by model changes either. I believe with all my heart that the wise person living anywhere between Brownsville, Texas and New Orleans, Louisiana needs to be on their own personal hurricane watch for the next two days. By this time on Thursday, we will know for sure where Ike is heading, but until then why take any chances by even toying with the worst think that could happen—complacency.