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, July 24, 2009

Ike Dike is a good idea based on proven technology

A proposal is gaining momentum in Texas to protect the coast with a new sea wall. Called the "Ike Dike", this properly designed seawall could stretch from High Island all the way to the west end of Galveston. Some studies are even looking at this protecting all areas from the Golden Triange to Freeport and beyond.

KTRH Morning New interview with Bill King Former mayor of Kemah, TX (AM 740 KTRH )

Planning the 'Ike Dike' Defense
Houston-Area Leaders Envision a 60-Mile Barrier Against Hurricane Flooding
(Wall Street Journal)

GALVESTON, Texas -- As the Gulf Coast braces for hurricane season, Houston-area leaders are pushing a plan to build a wall stretching some 60 miles along the coast, hoping to end the annual storm threat once and for all.

Dubbed the "Ike Dike" after the hurricane that ravaged the Houston area in September, the 17-foot-high wall would straddle the narrow entrance to Galveston Bay with 1,000-foot-long floodgates, allowing access to the city's port in good weather, but swinging shut when a storm approached to block floodwaters. Most damage from hurricanes is usually caused by floodwaters.

The total cost, according to project backers, would be $2 billion to $4 billion, although those numbers would almost certainly rise, experts say.

The idea is still in the conceptual stage and has plenty of detractors worried about cost, environmental impacts and whether it would really work. But the Ike Dike has gained significant traction in recent months.

A state commission set up by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to study disaster preparedness after Hurricane Ike supports moving ahead, and a coalition of elected officials is promoting it. The Houston business community, including powerful interests such as the chemical and shipping industries, has also signed on.

"This actually has more political legs than I ever dreamed it would have," said Bill King, a member of Gov. Perry's hurricane commission and the former mayor of the Galveston Bay city of Kemah.

After the great storm of 1900 when the city of Galveston was practically wiped off the map, residents decided to protect their city by building a 15+ foot high wall along the eastern end of Galveston Island. This Seawall has been extended twice and has protected the city numerous times from severe storms including Ike.

Flood control gates in the Netherlands and in the UK have demonstrated their ability to control floods and protect the surrounding lands during storms and high water events.

Maeslant Barrier, near Rotterdan, Netherlands (shown here, WSJ) is an example of the structures that could be used to protect Galveston Bay during a storm. A similar flood gate structure was installed on the Thames in London to prevent excessive flooding during storms.

Bill Merrell, the Texas A&M University at Galveston professor who first proposed the Ike Dike, said he based the structure on existing designs, including swinging floodgates built in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in the 1990s. London has had closeable floodgates on the Thames since 1982, and the Russian city of St. Petersburg is nearing completion of its own massive gates.

"All the technology's proven. We're not asking for a miracle,"
Mr. Merrell said. (WSJ)
Could Galveston's proposed Ike Dike work?(KHOU)

Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas said the Ike Dike would not just be a wall. It would also have a series of swinging flood gates.

"They would be always open. But when there's a storm, they would close," said Thomas.

The proposed gates would be at the end of the extended seawall and they would float. They would be 65 feet high. But during a storm, they would close, fill with water and then sink down to the sea floor providing protection.

This proposal is one that makes good sense and should be endorsed. Governor Perry's office is looking at these studies earnestly and Mayor Thomas says she is looking to use stimulus funds to start the project. With the largest concentration of energy refineries and chemical plants, such a wall could pay for itself with one storm both in the economic protection AND in the environmental protection by preventing spills caused by flooding inside chemical plant batteries.

This is a project that I would certainly like to see completed.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Molave makes landfall, moves inland

Typhoon Molave hot land in South China very early this morning local time bringing heavy rain to the area.

Typhoon Molave lands in south China (Xinhua)

GUANGZHOU: Typhoon Molave hit land in south China early Sunday, with heavy rain forecast in most parts of the Guangdong Province in the following two days, local observatory said.

Molave, the 6th tropical storm this year which became typhoon, landed at Nanao town in Shenzhen City of Guangdong Province at 0:50 a.m. Sunday Beijing
Time, with winds up to 145 km per hour in its eye.

Strong gales and heavy rains hit Shenzhen City, resulting in water flowing on streets. However, as residents and vehicles were scare during the night, the weather had no major impact on local people's living yet.

As of 2:30 a.m. Sunday, the city hadn't reported any serious damages

Typhoon "Molave" hits Guangdong(CCTV Video)

Typhoon Molave reduces to tropical storm, leaving Guangdong(China Daily)

GUANGZHOU:Typhoon Molave was downgraded to a tropical storm as it left south China's Guangdong Province to neighboring Guangxi Sunday, said the Guangdong Provincial Meteorological Bureau.

Winds weakened to 65 km per hour at noon, down from 145 km per hour at its center when it landed at Nan'ao Town in Shenzhen City at 12:50 a.m..

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Typhoon Molave crosses Phillipines; heads for China

Typhoon Molave moved across Batanes Island in extreme northern Phillipines as a tropical storm yesterday but strengthened to a Category 1 typhoon before leaving the country. Thousands of people were displaced due to heavy rains and flooding and the capital was effectively shut down. Three people were killed due to the storm.

Three dead as Typhoon Molave exits Philippines (AFP)

MANILA — At least three people were killed and nearly 100,000 displaced in the Philippines by Typhoon Molave, as the storm gained strength before rolling away from the country Saturday, officials said.

Among the dead was a 13-year-old boy who drowned in a swollen river in suburban Caloocan city north of Manila and a 32-year-old man who was electrocuted in norther Ilocos province.

Radio reports meanwhile said a baby also drowned in central Iloilo province after her house was flooded.

Typhoon paralyzes Philippine capital (Windsor Star)

Two people were missing and more than 4,000 others displaced as typhoon Molave caused widespread flooding that effectively shut down the Philippine capital Friday, rescuers and officials said.

The eye of Molave hit the sparsely populated Batan island group near Taiwan on Friday night as weather services upgraded it from a tropical storm into a typhoon packing maximum sustained winds of 95 km/h.

Typhoon Molave is expected to make landfall tonight (local time) at Guangdong province in south China. Molave is expected to affect Taiwan and Hong Kong as well. Molave is the first typhoon to come ashore in CHina this year. Previous storms only reached tropical storm strength.

Typhoon Molave to hit Guangdong tomorrow (Xinhua)

The typhoon might make landfall at China at its peak, which could bring serious danger, Chen said.

At 8 am today, Molave was located at 21.2 degrees north and 119.0 degrees east, 375 kilometers from Huidong County in Guangdong Province, the NMC said.

Packing winds of 33 meters per second (119 kilometers an hour),the typhoon is moving northwestward at a speed of 20 to 25 kilometers per hour. It is expected unleash gales and torrential rains in southeastern China, especially the coastal areas.

Residents in Guangdong, Fujian, Jianxi, Hainan provinces should expect dangerous winds, heavy rains and potential flooding. The storm may then move into Guizhou, Hunan and Jiagxi.

Carlos dissipates; Delores comes and goes

Hurricane Carlos reached category 2 strength before decreasing to a tropical storm and eventually dissipating completely.

Around the same time, Tropical Storm Delores formed, lasting for about a day and then also dissipated as it entered cooler waters in the Pacific. Neither storm came close to affecting Hawaii.

The Eastern Pacific typically has a high number of storms throughout the season, much more than develop in the Atlantic. El nino has once again formed in the Pacific as well and the warmer water in the eastern Pacific Ocean will likely lead to more storms. So we will likely see a number of storms no as the season progresses.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Carlos weakens, Another storm develops

UPDATE: OK, now Carlos is back to a hurricane again. I guess the winds are not as strong as were expected. Earlier in the week, the projection was that teh strong winds and cooling waters would cause Carlos to break up so once I saw this storm drop to a tropical storm I thought that was it. Apparently not. The interesting thing is that the storm track has been steady with a constant heading due west. This takes Carlos south of the Big Island whether he is still a hurricane or if he drops back to a tropical storm again.

The next storm following Carlos is also projected to follow the same path. The NHC is still showing a better than 50% chance that this area of disturbed weather will develop into a named storm.

Hurricane Carlos degraded fairly quickly from a Category 2 hurricane to a tropical storm Sunday. Current projections indicate that Carlos will remain a tropical storm for the next five days. As a tropical storm Carlos will pass south of the Hawaiian Islands. I do not believe that there is any potential for strengthening due to cooler sea waters in this region and the potential for shearing winds.

Along the Mexican coast, another area of disturbed weather is showing sogns of developing into a tropical system within the next 24 - 48 hours. The Hational Hurricane Center is predicting a greater than 50% liklihood that this new storm will form into a named storm. Computer models from Weather Underground are showing that tis storm will likely follow in the path of Tropical Storm Carlos at least for the next few days. This system will have to be watched to see if it will develop into a tropical storm or a hurricane.

Finally, Tropical Depression six in the western Pacific crossed Taiwan yesterday and has made landfall along the Chinese coast. This depression has winds of 20 knots with gusts of 30 kts and is moving northward over land. This system is expected to break apart and is no longer being tracked by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hurricane Carlos continues to strengthen

Hurricane Carlos is continuing to strengthen in the eastern Pacific and is projected to grow to a major Category 3 storm over the next 3 days (see post below for Weather Underground tracking map). Over the next five days, Carlos should only be a threat to shipping interests.

The good news is that Carlos does not appear to be a threat to Hawaii, although it is still too early to say so for certain. The Weather Channel is reporting that westerly winds will likely break up Carlos long before the storm comes within range of the islands. The remants of the storm should pass to the south of Hawaii and just result in some high waves.

Weather Channel Tropical Update 8:50 am EDT

The storm track, wind shear and steering currents will have to be watched closely during the next week before we can say for certain whether this storm will affect Hawaii.

Soudelor sweeps ashore - heavy rain and winds

Tropical storm Soudelor lands in south China (XinhuaNet)

The storm hit Wenchang of Hainan Island at 5:30 a.m. and moved further inland at Nanshan Township of Guangdong in the mainland at 8:20 a.m., with a speed of up to 65 kilometers per hour at the eye, according to the Guangdong provincial meteorological administration.

The storm, which formed in the sea to the north of Luzon Island, Philippines, on Friday, packed winds of up to 97.2 km per hour and downpours to the western coast of Guangdong.

Tropical storm Soudelor made landfall this evening(local time) along the Hai Phong coast in Vietnam with winds of 62 - 70 kph and heavy rain. The key cincern is flooding in the mountainous provinces of the north. From VOV News:

Storm Soudeler ripped through the northern coastal region on the afternoon of July 12 and lashed the area with heavy rains, according to the National Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting Centre.

At 16.00 on July 12, the storm was positioned at 20.8 degrees north latitude and 107.8 degrees east longitude, about 70km southeast of Quang Ninh-Hai Phong coastline. It was packing maximum sustained winds of between 62-74kph near its centre.

In the next 12 hours, it is expected to move west and north west at a speed of 20-25kph and slam into the north-eastern coastal provinces. In the afternoon, the storm will sweep across provinces from Nam Dinh to Quang Ninh and be downgraded into a tropical depression after making landfall.

The National Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting Centre warned northern coastal provinces of heavy rains, high sea surges, flash floods and landslides.

Flooding and landslides are a major concern with this storm as this areat has been hit with heavy rain quite a bit this year. Soudelor is the fourth storm to affect the region this year and heavy rain caused flooding and mudslides just last week in Bac Kan Province.

Vietnam battens down the hatches for year’s fourth storm(Thanh

Soudeler is expected to lash the coastal areas from Quang Ninh to Nam Dinh provinces in the north with strong winds and heavy rain. Hai instructed local governments there to ban local fishermen from going to sea beginning late Saturday.

Residents had to be evacuated by this morning, Hai said.

Mountainous northern provinces including Bac Kan Province needed to prepare residential areas vulnerable to landslides and flash floods for immediate evacuation, Hai said. At least 13 people were killed in floods since last Saturday in Bac Kan Province.

The eye of Storm Soudeler was around 550 kilometers southeast off the Quang Ninh-Hai Phong coasts as of 7 p.m. Saturday, the Central Hydro-meteorological Forecast Center said with winds reaching 70 kilometers per hour (kph).

The storm would continue in the northwestern direction for the next 48 hours at 20 kph, the center said, before weakening into a tropical depression on Monday.

Northern coastal areas and the Gulf of Tonkin would experience rough seas, the center said.

Heavy rains were also expected in northern provinces, it added.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Soudelor becomes a tropical storm before making landfall in south China

Tropical Storm Soudelor formed from a depression of the same name this evening and is headed for landfall on the southern tip of the Leizhou Peninsula with a second landfall in northern Vietnam by Sunday night local time.

The current storm track shows the most probable storm path to pass at the southern tip of the peninsula through the Qiongzhou Strait just north of Haikou on the Island of Hainan. The Hong Kong Observatory tracked this storm at a speed of 22 km/hr moving essentially due west.

After passing through the Qiongzhou strait (also known as the Hainan Strait), Soudelor will pass through the Gulf of Tonkin and make landfall by Sunday night between Quang Nihn and Hai Phong along the northern coast.

Storm Soudeler to make landfall on July 12

In a weather bulletin released on July 11, the centre said that at 16.00, storm Soudeler - the fourth of its kind to form in the East Sea this year – was positioned at 20.1 degrees north latitude and 113.5 degrees east longitude, about 330km southeast of Leizhou peninsula of China. It was packing winds of between 62-74kph near its eye.

The storm is expected to move west and north west in the next 24 hours at a speed of 20-25kph and dump heavy rains on northern coastal provinces from Quang Ninh to Hai Phong. It will weaken into a tropical depression when it moves further inland. It will cause strong winds and rough seas in the northern part of the East Sea and northern coastal provinces. Mountainous provinces are warned of flash floods and landslides. (VietnamNet Bridge)

Carlos becomes a hurricane

Carlos has now strengthened to a Level 1 hurricane. The second hurricane of the 2009 Eastern Pacific tropical season. Hurricane Carlos is expected to strengthen further to a Cat 2 storm and is expected to remain at hurricane strength for at least 5 days.

Carlos becomes Hurricane(The Weather Channel)

Carlos continues to strengthen in the eastern Pacific and has now become the 2nd Hurricane of the season, with maximum sustained winds near the center now at 80 mph.

From Weather Underground:

Carlos is moving toward the west near 12 mph...19 km/hr. A motion just north of due west with a small increase in forward speed isexpected during the next two days.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 80 mph...130 km/hr...with higher gusts. Some additional strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours.

Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 25 miles...35 km...from the center...and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 85 miles...140 km.

Tropical Storm Carlos formed yesterday...intensification continuing

Tropical Storm Carlos formed off the coast of Mexico yesterday. This storm is a fairly small and well organized storm that is gaining strength. As of 11 am EDT, Carlos is heading due west at 10 mph with sustained winds of 65 mph.

(July 11, 2009)—Tropical Storm Carlos continued to churn Saturday in the eastern Pacific Ocean and is expected to reach hurricane strength at some point over the weekend, forecasters said.

Saturday morning, the storm was about 970 miles south-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California, moving toward the west at about 10 miles per hour with sustained winds near 65 miles per hour.

Tropical force winds extended outward 70 miles from the center of the storm. (KWTX)

Tropical Storm Carlos strengthens, should Hawaii be concerned? (

Carlos' predicted path right now has the storm heading out to sea. With warm sea temperatures and low wind shear, if Carlos continues on a westerly path, then Hawaii could be threatened by the end of the week. A shift in the storm track to the northwest by mid-week would allow Carlos to avert the islands but it is too early to tell which way Carlos will go.

The extended forecast charts a path for Carlos that has it approaching east of the Hawaiian islands perhaps mid to late next week. Current model trends have been to slowly push the storm more to a northwesterly track that ought to veer the storm up and away from Hawaii.

This is subject to some change as upper level wind patterns may begin shearing apart the storm and/or nudging its path northward as the storm begins to encounter cooler sea surface temperatures. This will rob the storm of its warm-core low pressure "fuel".

Its still far too early to say if Carlos will pose any real threat to Hawaii by late next week but that being said, folks with travel plans to the Hawaiian Islands over the next week or so will probably want to keep an eye on Carlos until a clearer picture of its long term forecast becomes available. (Examiner)

Weather Channel Tropical Update 7:50am

Monday, July 06, 2009

Tropical Storm Blanca forms off western Mexican coast

Tropical Storm Blanca formed over this past weekend and developed into a tropical storm with winds as high as 50 mph by Monday morning.

Tropical storm Blanca has formed in the eastern Pacific and is showing signs of strengthening at least through Tuesday.

Tropical storm Blanca had sustained winds near 50 mph Monday morning and will likely strengthen further over the next 24-36 hours.

Blanca's path continues to be west-northwest taking the storm well south of Baja California on its present course. (Examiner)

Bianca is moving away from land into open water. By Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, this storm will move into cooler water and likely dissipate.

Simultaneously, a little bit east and south is another area of disturbance that has the potential for further development. These two storms are so close together that they may merge to form one storm in a few days. Blanca is heading to the northwest while the other disturbance/depression is tracking primarily due west. If these storms don't converge within the next day or so, then they will drift apart and go their separate ways.

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