(Weather Master)
Fri Sep 30 2022 12:14 PM
Re: Ian Lounge


In this case, a lot of people in Tampa panicked for no reason.

Well if the Tampa track would have verified then that panic was warranted. However as soon as Ian came off the coast of Cuban it rode the E side of the cone. A each hour went by the direct threat to Tampa kept dropping while places further south became more under the gun. As with Charley the shape of the west coast and angle of approach meant a wide area of landfall was possible, yet the worst wind effects would be concentrated in only a small area so pin pointing landfall became critical. The surge however was massive, as far SE as Flamingo & Everglades City got swamped too. Almost nobody lives down there so you will not see news reports about it. However I fish these area and have seen pictures from local guides showing water filled streets with around 2-3 feet of surge but clearly not the 5-7 Ft Myers saw.

The problem was the NHC wasn't shifting the cone S despite the storms track on radar. The models apparently misjudged / didn't see how strong the western jet was. Remember at one point Ian was forecast into the Big Bend area and slowing down in GA which in hindsight seems almost impossible given its final track across FL and back into ocean.

Running thru the models here: Loop #24 shows the UK model with the right path but the spread was large and the NHC went with the average which put Tampa in the middle. GeorgeN noted this solution in his post #114262 - Mon Sep 26 2022 09:54 AM Loop #25 seems to confirm this was the right call, it took until Loop #27 for all the other models to get onboard but even those tracks were ultimately a bit too far north after landfall.

Watching this frame-by-frame you can see several plots of NE movement off Cuba, followed by a N wobble, then a clear NE path across the state. If the N wobble had been maintained landfalll might have been more like Sarasota. You get even more details with this graphic: Advisory #25 was almost spot on for landfall but the angle was wrong and this was never correct as the NHC continued with this N motion when it was actually more NNE and finally NE.

Given the devastation of Ian this whole scenario will be studied in even more detail for years. The NHC publishes a report in the off season with preliminary findings too. The final report for Wilma is 27 pages including wind and plot accuracy tables, plus a radar image showing NW Broward where I live in the eyewall.

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