Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Ivan: Updates

UPDATE 16 (Wednesday, 7:45pm Central):

Oh by the way, how do cats know what they know? .. also I think it is safe to say that we have now exceeded Category 5 on the Murphy-Mazda Scale.

USAF Hurricane Hunter just reported that Ivan is gaining strength.

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UPDATE 15 (Wednesday, 7:40pm Central):

Every indication is that Ivan will not lessen in strength before it makes landfall. Category 4 landfall with 135+ winds is almost certain.

Category Four Hurricane:
Winds 131-155 mph (114-135 kt or 210-249 km/hr). Storm surge generally 13-18 ft above normal. More extensive curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure failures on small residences. Shrubs, trees, and all signs are blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Extensive damage to doors and windows. Low-lying escape routes may be cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the center of the hurricane. Major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore. Terrain lower than 10 ft above sea level may be flooded requiring massive evacuation of residential areas as far inland as 6 miles (10 km).


Over 9,000 in southern Mobile County without power.

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UPDATE 14 (Wednesday, 7:30pm Central):

Let's just skip that # after 12.

No longer safe to step outside .. the gusts are wicked.

Can see electrical storm in the distance to the south .. moving this way, so may not have power much longer.

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UPDATE 12 (Wednesday, 7:05pm Central):

The Sound: a pulsating baritone howl .. a bit unnerving .. considering hurricane force winds have not reached this far yet.

Lights starting to flicker regularly. TV signals are intermittent. Wind gusts picking up and becoming more frequent .. about a 30-second cycle for gusts.

Ivan is about 90 miles due south of Mobile .. moving 15mph .. due north track.

Maximum sustained winds are about 135mph with higher gusts.

Landfall projection: Thursday, 1:00am Central at Mobile.

Hurricane force winds will extend to I-10 by 9:30-10:00pm Central.

Tropical storm force winds extend out to 290 miles.

Dauphin Island is experiencing 70+mph wind gusts.

Weather conditions in Baldwin County south of I-10:

Rain: moderate/heavy
Wind: 35mph (45-50mph gusts) from East/Northeast
Temp: 77°
Humidity: 89%

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UPDATE 11 (Wednesday, 6:15pm Central):

No significant change, except for the wind gusts. They're something else. Even though the gusts are still below 50mph, they pack a shocking force. Like a free safety blitz around the right end or a southpaw delivering a right hook/roundhouse.

In about 2 hours initial hurricane force winds will be felt below I-10.

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UPDATE 10 (Wednesday, 5:15pm Central):

Wind gusts increasing in frequency .. average gust about 40mph at this hour, 40 miles inland.

Ivan is about 125 miles due south of Mobile and is moving 15mph on a due north track.

This could put landfall as early as 1:00am Central. Big change from previous estimates.

Maximum sustained winds are about 135mph with higher gusts.

Hurricane force winds extend 105 miles outward .. which means the coast will start getting hammered with those winds in another hour or so.

Tropical storm force winds extend out to 290 miles.

A buoy about 75 miles south of Dauphin Island recorded 50-ft seas at about 4pm Central.

Weather conditions in Baldwin County south of I-10:

Rain: light/moderate
Wind: 30mph (40-45mph gusts) from East/Northeast
Temp: 77°
Humidity: 89%

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UPDATE 9 (Wednesday, 4:05pm Central):

Lights have not flickered since earlier.

The tropical storm force winds are extending 35-40 miles inland. The gusts are about 40-45mph and cyclic, of course. Average time between gusts is about 3 minutes.

These are the type of winds that effortlessly blow away lawn furniture, to include the yardbird flamingos and other yard knicknacks that one of my neighbors proudly put on display .. no doubt competing for redneck-yard-of-the-month. Good riddance . . . And thank you, Ivan.

Rain: light/moderate
Wind: 30mph (40mph gusts) from East/Northeast
Temp: 76°
Humidity: 94%

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UPDATE 8 (Wednesday, 2:50pm Central):

Lights flickered for the first time. There's little doubt that we will eventually suffer total power failure. I'll continue to blog until Ivan shuts me down.

Ivan is due to make landfall Thursday, about 4-5am Central. National Weather Service is still predicting Ivan will be Category 4 at landfall. Hurricane force winds could extend as far north as Montgomery, Alabama.

All other conditions same as UPDATE 7.

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UPDATE 7 (Wednesday, 1:45pm Central):

Ivan is 170 miles due south of the Alabama coastline Dauphin Island (to be more specific).

Tornado Warning in effect until 2:30pm Central for south Baldwin County.

Tornado Watch in effect until 10:pm Central for south Baldwin County.

Ivan continues to be a Category 4 hurricane with 135mph maximum sustained winds.

Tropical storm force winds continue to hit the coast and extend inland for approximately 20 miles.

Hurricane force winds will hit coast today, beginning 8pm Central.

Weather conditions in Baldwin County south of I-10:

Rain: light/moderate
Wind: 30mph (35mph gusts) from East/Northeast
Temp: 79°
Humidity: 83%

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UPDATE 6 (Wednesday, 12:05pm Central):

Ivan is 220 miles due south of Mobile and is on a due north track.

Ivan continues to be a Category 4 hurricane with 135mph maximum sustained winds.

Tropical storm force winds are hitting the coast at this hour, beginning to extend inland.

Hurricane force winds will hit coast today, beginning 8pm Central

Weather conditions in Baldwin County south of I-10:

Rain: light/moderate
Wind: 25mph (30mph gusts) from East
Temp: 79°
Humidity: 83%

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UPDATE 5 (Wednesday, 9:11am Central):

Ivan is 250 miles South of Mobile. Landfall is expected Thursday, 4:30-5:00am.

Ivan is still at Category 4. His winds have decreased to about 130mph.

As Ivan hits a band of warm water -- 87° -- about 90 miles off the coast, he will probably gain about 5mph windspeed.

Hurricane force winds will start hitting the Mobile area by 9pm tonight.

Tropical storm force winds should hit the area in the next 2-3 hours.

Storm surge is expected to be 10-14 feet above normal tide.

Current situation in south Baldwin County: Cloudy, Windspeed: 15-25mph


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UPDATE 4 (Tuesday, 9:45pm Central):

Ivan is now 380 miles SE of Mobile and has increased his forward speed from 9mph to 12mph. That would put landfall at about 5:00am Central, Thursday .. hours earlier than previously forecasted.

Tropical storm force winds by 1:00pm Central, Wednesday.

Hurricane force winds by 9:00pm Central, Wednesday.

Subject to change, but that's the current situation.


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UPDATE 3 (Tuesday, 9:00pm Central):

It's eerily quiet .. only the sound of crickets. Not a leaf rustling. The mandatory evacuation continues at an achingly slow pace, but now with more method and less chaos.

Local radio stations are doing pretty good storm tracking/traffic tracking. Local officials are urging people to pay attention to what they're doing. When in slow traffic, it's too easy to become distracted by talking on cell phones, fiddling with the radio, etc. Seems to have been a lot of that today as evidenced by the number of traffic accidents.

It's a good time to point out the necessity of having a plan(s). True, the best plans often don't survive reality, but at least you've put some thought into it and you can readily make adjustments based on the current situation.

What we saw earlier today -- feverish flight and the attending chaotic, congested roads -- was brought on by people without a plan. They did what comes natural to a lot of people when faced with uncertainty .. they panicked.

Harry and Ethel left so fast that it's no telling what they left behind or forgot to turn off. They weren't even sure where they were going or what they would do when they got there. After 6 hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic on a path from which there is no turning back, it dawns on Harry and Ethel that something is amiss. It's too quiet inside the car. Why by this time, Jip should've barked at least once. Well, Jip is barking, but he's about 30 miles south wondering why he's been left to fend for himself.

OK. So Harry and Ethel (and Jip) are fictitious, but you get the picture.

In this day and age of terrorism, everyone should have a plan. A good place to start is Ready.gov -- the information there can save you a lot of hassle and it might even save your life.

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UPDATE 2 (Tuesday, 5:55pm Central):

We are in the proverbial "calm before the storm" phase .. it's very still, warm and humid outside.

Ivan is currently ranked as a Category 4 hurricane. That's a change from this morning when his winds were blowing at 160mph, but brings little comfort as his winds are "only" 140mph with higher gusts.

Hurricane force winds are now extending 105 miles out from the center of Ivan. Tropical storm force winds extend out to 260 miles.

Ivan is still on a track to make landfall at Mobile. Of course, that is subject to change. Ultimately, Ivan will go wherever he damn well pleases. Even if he starts tracking more to the Northwest and misses Mobile, we are still in danger as that will put us to the east .. which means we will be subject to coastal storm surge flooding 10-15 feet above normal and to large and dangerous battering waves.

Then there's the rainfall and tornadoes that will spin off Ivan.

No knocks on the door .. yet.

Traffic situation is still congested and chaotic. I judge it safer to stay put for awhile longer. I'd rather suffer through the initial winds than risk colliding with someone who is so panicked that they're not paying attention to the road.

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UPDATE 1 (Tuesday, 2:50pm Central):

The National Weather Service is telling the Mobile area to expect 10 hours of hurricane force winds starting Wednesday evening.

The governor of Alabama has ordered evacuation of Baldwin County south of I-10.

Traffic, at this hour, is still two-way. Major roads leading out of the area are a parking lot. As far north as Birmingham, I-65 is backed up for 15-20 miles. That must be the yankees who went into full panic mode this morning.

I'll continue blogging today until an official knocks on my door and tells me to leave. Otherwise, I'm sticking around until at least Wednesday.

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