Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker

A single source reference on tropical weather predictions. With a traditional focus on the upper Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast we've maintained links to track all Atlantic Basin, Caribbean and eastern Pacific storm systems. We are now expanding our view to tropical storms throughout the world intending to be a comprehensive global storm tracking resource.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Massive storm surge possible

The data plotted in the post below for the buoy marker furthest out shows a recorded wind speed of 110 mph. Since sustained wind speed and gusts are not plotted separately on these graphs, there is no way to tell if this is a steady 110 or just a puff.

Either way these winds are very strong and will cause great damage both from the wind pressure against windows and structures and from flying debris. If you haven't done so already, please bring anything loose indoors or secure it firmly so it cannot blow around. This includes grills, potted plants, wind chimes, rain gauges and anything else that could be out on the porch that we just wouldn't give another thought to.

A bigger danger than the wind is the water. The storm surge that is being discussed for Galveston is AT LEAST 20 feet high. This morning Fox News crawler stated that a 50 foot wall of water could hit shore and then travel up Galveston Bay. Now I see that it says 20 feet. Both are dangerous and destructive. The sea wall in Galveston is only 17 feet high and that doesn't take into account all the sand that has build up along the bas of the sea wall over the years. In some places I suspect that there is really only protection against a 10 - 15 foot wave height.

This morning, a good 15 hours or more before landfall is expected, water levels in Surfside (just south of Galveston) are 4 feet and higher already. News reports showing the surf in Galveston reveal waves breaking over the sea wall.

Deadly Wall of Water Reaching Texas (AccuWeather)

Winds will continue to intensify through Saturday, gusting over 100 mph in Houston, Galveston and surrounding areas. Mobile homes will be demolished, most homes will suffer major damage, and even homes built to withstand hurricanes could be damaged.

The skyline of Houston will be blasted by hurricane-strength winds, which will cause significant glass damage. Seven out of the 10 tallest buildings in Texas are in downtown Houston, the nation's fourth largest city, and 28 buildings stand over 500 feet tall.

Torrential rain and tornadoes will add to the devastation from the upper Texas coast to the Mississippi Valley. As much as a foot of rain will spark dangerous flooding and flash flooding across Texas as Ike moves to the north after landfall.

The National Hurricane Center is warning coastal residents whom have chosen to stay behind that they face certain death from the storm surge. It was pointed out last night that even an Olympic swimmer like Michael Phelps cannot outswim the rip currents that are now plaguing the gulf coast from Florida to Texas. If you get caught up in the surf there is little that you can do to be rescued. This is dangerous.

Ike Brings Dangerous Surge (The Weather Channel Video)

Last Night in Galveston: Big waves already (The Weather Channel Video)

Tropical Update (9/12/08 9:50 am) (The Weatehr Channel Video)

2010 Atlantic Hurricanes (courtesy of

NOAA Gulf of Mexico Radar (courtesy of

NOAA West Atlantic & Caribbean Radar (courtesy of

NOAA East Atlantic Radar (courtesy of