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Hurricane Ivan update...

Jason Samenow @ 12:39 AM

Ivan image courtesy NOAA
I'd like to welcome all of those visitors outside of the DC area visiting the site. Here at CapitalWeather, we focus on DC weather, but cover national weather when it's making headlines (like right now).

Very briefly, for the Washingtonians, expect a beautiful day today, with comfortable humidity and highs near 80.

Onto the Hurricane. As I write this, the eye of Hurricane Ivan is just offshore Jamaica paralleling the southern coast. With its present motion (just north of west), the eye of the storm may just graze or miss the southern coastline. Even if the eye itself doesn't move ashore, Jamaica is no doubt getting hammered. I'm afraid the toll will be devastating with widespread wind damage and flooding. As of 2am, the storm has intensified with maximum sustained winds at 155mph.

Whereas the models were trending east with the storm yesterday, today they have trended west. Plus, the storm itself has been moving on a bit further west than forecast. Accordingly, I must revise my forecast for landfall in Florida to the west. I now believe the storm will make landfall between Ft. Myers and Apalachicola on Tuesday (although tropical storm conditions may affect southwest Florida beginning Monday). Admittedly, that is a huge area. But because Ivan is likely to take a turn such that it will parallel the west coast of Florida, predicting the exact point of landfall is difficult and somewhat arbitrary. But I'll make a call for Cedar Key, Florida (see map). However, don't be surprised if I flip flop and say something else tomorrow. Due to the uncertainty in the track forecast, anyone anywhere in the state of Florida (and even as far west as New Orleans) needs to continue watching this one.

Based on the westward revision to the track, I now believe it is less likely that the storm will move across Florida into the Atlantic and then up the coast to the Carolinas. More likely, after Florida, it will take an inland track over Georgia and then into the western Carolinas (where there may be important flooding implications). This track is in general agreement with the National Hurricane Center.

Regarding intensity, the storm continues to flucuate. Right now, it's near maximum intensity. Because the eye may just graze Jamaica and pass over a narrow region of Cuba, it may hold together pretty well due to the reduced influence from land. However, increased shear is expected to weaken the storm a bit in the Gulf of Mexico. Having said that, I still think the storm will be a Category 3 storm at landfall (plus or minus 1 category).

Stay tuned for another update late tonight or early tomorrow morning.

Also, for loads of news links and resources on Ivan, see WxNation's Weather Log.

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