Friday, August 29, 2008

Gustav and Hanna - What Will Happen?!

Going into the Labor Day Weekend, many Gulf Coast eyes are on Gustav. Who can answer that million dollar question--where is it going? Well, first of all, let me just say that there is no one single person. On the plus side, we have a no nonsense man named Bill Read at the helm of The Hurricane Center (Tropical Prediction Center) and that is a very good thing.

I've known Bill for a long time--working with him professionally for the last 12 years. I was in the media and of course, he was with the government, working as the Meteorologist in Charge at the Houston/Galveston NWS. Bill was always steady and straightforward. He won't sugar coat, and he won't sensationalize. So, really, really listen to him.

One of the first things he'll tell you is this far out we just don't know. Even up to 24 hours from landfall, the error is close to 100 miles either way. At 3 days out, it is plus or minus 300 miles. So please don't completely focus on that middle line in the center of the Cone of Uncertainty. You know the one I'm talking about--you check it out online.

At this point, everyone along the Gulf Coast should be checking supplies. If the storm comes this way, you'll need 14 gallons of water per person, 2 weeks worth of prescriptions, a full gas tank, cash on hand and of course lots of non-perishable food. Make sure you know where your critical documents are...maybe make an extra copy and mail it to safe location. Let friends and family know what your plans are--will you stay or go. If your area is hit, power will be out a while. Depending on the severity of the storm, you could lose power for weeks. If you are thinking about buying a compressor, remember most only power a small appliance like a fan...maybe a refrigerator. You aren't going to cool the whole house with it. And don't use it during the storm...wait until the storm has passed and operate it from a well ventilated place...definitely not in the house or garage. what do I think at this point. Well, I'm still in the Houston area this Friday evening. I think the landfall will be anywhere from southwest Louisiana to southern Mississippi. One of my favorite hurricane forecast models is GFDL and I tend to give that track a lot of weight. Keep in mind that even though you see some tracks that take the storm inland south of Houston, those tracks are from lower performing models. There are other factors to consider but I won't go into that now.

Someone asked me if Gustav and Hanna could combine...the answer is no. There is something called the Fujiwara effect and it boils down to all storms have their own counter-clockwise rotation which will tend to make them rotate around each other (if they get close enough). Eventually, if they haven't made landfall, one or both of the storms will encounter less favorable conditions and weaken.

Well, that's enough hurricane talk for tonight. Be safe and make good use of your time this weekend---and not just for hurricane preparation. It's less than 4 months until Christmas, and if you are doing some early Christmas shopping, be sure to check out my educational video series, Let's Learn Spanish with Frank and Paco available through, Amazon, Best Buy, and Barnes and Noble. There are many benefits to early language learning including higher math and science scores on standardized tests and improved hypothesizing in science. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, there is the connection between Cecilia being a meteorologist and promoting early language learning.
Take care,
Wonder Weather Woman Cecilia Sinclair

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