HURRICANE IKE – WHY WAS THE GALVESTON SURGE LESS THAN PREDICTED?

Since the forward movement of a hurricane (translational motion) corresponds generally with the rotational motion’s direction in the right-hand leading quadrant of the storm, one expects the surge to be the greatest on that side.  At the left-hand leading quadrant the rotational motion’s direction is generally opposite that of the storm’s translational direction.  Ike made landfall very close to the forecast mid-line (a weighted mean) and of course very well within the cone of uncertainty.  In my opinion the forecasting was superb.

Watch this radar loop below of Ike from Thursday, 11 AM EDT to Saturday, 7 PM EDT.  After studying it for a few cycles you will note that Ike veered (to the right) in a decided fashion right before reaching the shore.  I recommend that as soon as the loop starts, focus your attention on Houston as you watch the storm get closer – and in short order you will see that “sharper” turn that I’m writing about.

Had Ike not gone in head-on into Galveston and Houston as it did, the surge would have been far worse.  As it worked out, Galveston Island got the benefit of the contrary winds from the north-northwest.  Even though that wind did cause water from the bay to come in it was not nearly as bad as it would have been had the eye crossed a bit south of where it did.  The less populated places on or near the coast and northeast of Galveston – places like Sabine Pass, Port Arthur, Beaumont, and Lake Charles got stronger winds and are probably more in turmoil per unit structure and per person than is Galveston.  They too were told to evacuate.

I’ve watched on television some of the rescue efforts that are already under way and I’ve seen some of the interviews with people who rode out the storm in Galveston.  My first thought has been, “Thank goodness they are alive” and my following thoughts have been, 1) “Why?” and 2) that those involved in rescue efforts could have been engaged in performing some type of safer but much-needed assistance had it not been for the stubborn refusal of those people to evacuate.

Sure, I understand the desire to be there to “protect” ones property and personal possessions but why do so when there is such a high probability that others will have to risk their necks to get you out of trouble.  I have especially negative feelings about those who would put their kids through such an event.

Today I’ve heard and read many comments from survivors.  Some baffle me – e.g.  “Those forecasters are never right,” and “I didn’t think it would be so bad.”  Any time now I expect to read or hear on television someone saying, “I knew it would take that turn before getting here!”

THIS RADAR LOOP IS COURTESY OF WEATHERUNDERGROUND.COM

YOU MIGHT HAVE TO LEFT CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO START THE LOOP

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: