As of the 5:00 pm EDT advisory CAT 5 Katrina has a sustained wind of 165 mph, down from 175 mph, is at position 26.9 deg. N 89.0 deg. W, with a minimum barometric pressure of 26.64" a continued fall and is currently on a NW heading at a speed of 13 mph.
I still think that Katrina will turn NNW-N-NNE due to the influence of the strengthening and digging mid level longwave trough currently located over the Southern Plains region. But as timing will be off now due to the slowly accelerating forward speed, Katrina will make initial landfall near Pilottown on the Mississippi River Delta. This will still threaten the Louisiana Delta with total inundation as well as on the east side of the City Of New Orleans.
Therefore I am shifting my second landfall window westward now to Pass Christian, MS on the left side and Gulf Shores, AL on the right side, with a bulls eye on Gautier, MS. But due to the enormous size of this tropical cyclone the damage window will extend from Morgan CIty, LA in the west to Apalachicola, FL in the east on early Monday morning 08/29/05.
It now appears that the western Florida Panhandle will be spared the worst of Katrina but it will still receive a serious blow. If Katrina were to hold her present strength then we would be looking at an incredible storm surge of 15-20 feet, with some spots seeing 28-32 feet just to the right of the eyewall at landfall. Some of the surge may also reach the west coast of the Florida peninsula too.
It takes a special set of circumstances for a CAT 5 tropical cyclone to form and it is very hard for a tropical cyclone to hold at a strong CAT 5 level for very long. But she is so strong that she may only weaken back to a weak CAT 5 (oxymoron) at landfall. But at some point she will undergo another eye wall reformation cycle (ERC), will leave the very warm loop current, enter shallower shelf water and dry air entrainment and wind shear will increase and she may weaken back to a CAT 4 at landfall. But a CAT 4 will still cause catastrophic damage.
And last and least we now have T.D. #13 which is at 15.4 deg. N 46.8 deg. W or 965 miles east of the Lesser Antilles, has a sustained wind of 30 mph, a minimum barometric pressure of 29.74" and is moving WNW at 13 mph.
-------------------- Take Care,
Thomas F. Giella
Retired Meteorologist & Space Plasma Physicist
Plant City, FL, USA
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