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September 10, 2008

Ike, now Cat. 2, gathers force for beach assault

NOAA

UPDATE: Hurricane Ike is now a Category 2 storm with top sustained winds of 100 mph. The storm continues to gather strength in the Gulf of Mexico, headed for a weekend landfall in Texas. Watch Ike grow in this satellite loop. An earlier post follows, below. 

Hurricane Ike appears to be recovering from its scrape with the Island of Cuba, and appears ready to become a major hurricane again tomorrow, with designs on the central Texas coast.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center note that Ike's cloud pattern is becoming better organized, and some deep convection has developed near the center - both indications that the storm's primary heat engines are still healthy and revving up. Maximum sustained winds have increased from 75 mph as it pulled away from Cuba yesterday to near 90 mph today. Here's how the morning discussion at the NHC put it: 

"THE OFFICIAL FORECAST MAKES IKE A CATEGORY THREE HURRICANE BASED ON A BLEND BETWEEN STATISTICAL AND DYNAMICAL MODELS. HOWEVER, THE INTENSITY FORECAST IS UNCERTAIN, AND IKE COULD END UP BEING A CATEGORY HIGHER OR LOWER THAN FORECAST."

A Cat. 3 storm has top winds of at least 111 mph.

The storm was moving toward the northwest at 8 mph, with a slight left turn later today. A weakening high over the eastern U.S. is still expected to curve the storm track more to the right before or soon after landfall. 

Here's the latest advisory for Ike. Here is the forecast storm track. And here is the view from space.

In the meantime, Tropical Storm Warnings remain in effect for waters west of Key West to the Dry Tortugas, and over portions of western Cuba as Ike's outflow continues to be felt there. They can expect 6 to 12 inches of rain. The Keys could receive another 1 to 3 inches, with 2 to 4 over other parts of South Florida. Isolated tornadoes, waterspouts, storm surge flooding, large and dangerous waves and rip currents are also still on the menu until Ike moves farther off. Here's some more video from Key West.  And this, too.

In Texas, folks are preparing for Ike's landfall this weekend. 

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:54 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Hurricanes
        

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff
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