10/10/2018 - Hurricane Michael

Discussion in 'Tropical forum' started by Warren Faidley, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. Warren Faidley

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    Hurricane Michael will be a no go for me. Main concern is that onshore action will likely be in the grasslands east of of Panama City Beach. That low and no-infrastructure area runs all the way south to almost Tampa. Interesting how the two major hurricanes so far this season have hit in dead zones of chasing.
     
    #1 Warren Faidley, Oct 8, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  2. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
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    This is a tough one. This is a good week for me to take off, and I'm eager to experience a daytime landfall of a quick-hitting Cat 3 - but I agree with Warren. On its current forecast track, it's coming into an area with absolutely no suitable shelter within 50 miles of the coast. I'm going to regret not going if the track shifts west and Panama City ends up being ground zero, though. That would be as an almost-ideal scenario for a hurricane chase as you can get, one that we haven't had for many, many years. At least two parking garages there, daytime landfall, solidly-major hurricane, storm gone by nightfall. The only other contingency option I see is Tallahassee for an eastward track shift, but likely at Cat 1 or less strength. Really no options for in between unless you want to lose your car in the surge.
     
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  3. Warren Faidley

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    The major models keep Michael's onshore / right quad just east of Panama City. I have not used the RAP much for predicting hurricane landfalls but it also maintains offshore or parallel flow near Panama City as Michael moves inland. It's really on a razor's edge as to what residents or chasers there will experience. A minor shift of 40-50 miles east or west makes for the chase of a lifetime or a bust. The major front moving in from the west is clearly the play maker here and / or a possible eye wall morph / wobble between now and landfall. I am most concerned about Apalachicola -- and especially Carrabelle and Lanark Village as those cities could be moonscaped if the storm has direction, time and energy to generate a major surge. This storm could be a potent killer given the serious delay in media attention and the failure of residents to evacuate in time.
     
  4. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
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    I decided to pull the trigger on this one. Models seem to have locked in with remarkable consistency and the NHC has stayed with their track that has generally mirrored the model consensus, aside from a westward shift in the tropical guidance earlier today. Target is Panama City/Callaway, with the plan to move northeast to one of the inland towns if the track shifts east. Elevation data shows most of that area is over 50 feet and would be out of the surge. I'm not going anywhere near the coast, as "moonscaped" is almost certain for much of that area southeast of Panama City.

    I will not be staying in a hotel. I of course have all of the necessary supplies including 15 gallons of reserve fuel (that's about 1.3 tanks with my car). Fuel reports shows plenty of gas on the way down, with most of the outages within 50 miles of the coast. Hotel booking data shows Montgomery 97% booked and Birmingham nearing 50%. That provides an estimated evacuee radius. I saw several big jams on I-65 northbound, between Nashville and Birmingham, I'm not sure if those are related. Southbound is free-flowing.

    I'm optimistic for some decent daytime action, even if I have to settle for the western eyewall. I'll report in here in this thread periodically.
     
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  5. David Cox

    David Cox Lurker

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    NHC 10:00 PM CDT discussion says Michael explicitly forecast to be Category 4 hurricane before landfall.
     
  6. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
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    Gas stations are out south of Troy, Alabama, 2 and a half hours north of the coast. Chasers WILL need adequate fuel reserves! If you are arriving late, you'll need to get your reserve containers filled 3 or 4 hours out and top off your main tank at every opportunity. With no reserves, you *will not* make it out.
     
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  7. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
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    8:36AM CDT - finally starting to see TS-force gusts in Panama City. No damage so far with outer bands. Still a LOT of local traffic on the roads. I surveyed the road to Wewahitchka (Rt 22) in case of an eastward shift, and is is a no-go due to tall trees closely lining it for 20 miles. It will be blocked for a long time. So, Callaway will be the eastern extent of the chase zone. Will head to reinforced shelter in downtown Panama City for eyewall in any case given Cat 4+ strength.
     
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  8. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
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    9:40AM - only now seeing the first power flashes of the day during the higher gusts. The wind field is relatively small. Will ramp up very fast here soon.
     
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  9. Warren Faidley

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    Looks like Michael has begun the northeastern shift judging by the latest radar image. I believe the parallel surface flow along the coast has greatly reduced the chances of a ocean mega-surge, in Panama City, but we will see. The web cams (as seen below on the beach) show a somewhat civilized scene. I'm sure winds will be the main destructive force unless the storm turns back west. Really concerned about the areas east of Panama City.

    p-beach.jpg
     
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  10. Warren Faidley

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    I've seen a lot of chasers (from their mobile ID's) heading east of Panama City to get into the core of Michael as it shifts east. Although I have not scouted that route in years, I seem to remember there is little in the way of infrastructure or elevation. The core of Michael is still very strong and the onshore flow could rapidly produce a dangerous surge, possibly cutting off escape routes. Just a note.
     
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  11. David Cox

    David Cox Lurker

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    I'm new to weather radar study. I am seeing on Eglin AFB radar small areas indicating 223 mph in the eye wall opposite the flow of the storm. Would these be tornadoes or is this just noise? Thanks.
     
  12. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
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    Identical to Jim Edds' Charley video downtown Panama City now. Debris-filled roaring air. Incredible.
     
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  13. Greg Campbell

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  14. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
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    8:00pm - made it out of the damage zone and am in my hotel room in Destin. Getting out was a literal maze with trees blocking most streets and lots of wood debris with nails. Damage in Panama City is very serious, it looked to me like more than half of structures are total losses. Still very little gas west of landfall, but I am seeing a few stations that have received shipments. I still have 11 of my 15 gallon reserves. I posted a quick edit on Youtube. This will get a detailed report on my web site and a reports thread eventually.

     
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  15. Warren Faidley

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    Great job Dan, glad you made it through OK. I can only imagine what would have happened in Panama Beach had the surge side hit at the same time.
     
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  16. Shane Young

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    Gotta think it was noise or scale issues or such. Do you have an image of what you were looking at?
     
  17. rdale

    rdale EF5

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    Always use spectrum width when analyzing velocity data to judge specific pixel reliability.
     
  18. David Cox

    David Cox Lurker

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    I didn't but I should of. I was going back and forth between Eglin and Moody (Tallahassee was down) It was a couple of pixels in a sea of green on the upper right of the eye wall before it came on shore. They were gone on the next pass. The green pixels read some very high numbers (173 to a max of 183 mph as crossed Mexico Beach from about 12:50 to 13:15 EDT at 3K' to 4K'), but they seem reasonable considering the strength of the storm. I was using Radarscope Super-Res Velocity and the altitude came from the screen measurement from Eglin radar. I'll remember to screen shot in the future so there is something more concrete to discuss. Thanks..
     
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  19. David Cox

    David Cox Lurker

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    Thanks for the info. It will really help when looking at thunderstorms where I am (NE FL).
     
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  20. rdale

    rdale EF5

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    Fake pictures happen in every event. Don't share them ;)
     
  21. Mark Blue

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    I noticed on SN Doug Keisling was hunkered down in Mexico Beach yesterday. I tracked down his footage of the aftermath. It looks like the city was torn apart from stem to stern except a few well built buildings that are still standing.

     
  22. Warren Faidley

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    Really difficult and extremely dangerous to shot in those unprotected areas with 100+ mph winds. Gulf surge is always hard to predict with any accuracy, especially if you change your position at the last moment. Michael was moving and intensified too fast to build a super-surge. One of the most disturbing surge moments I've had was not with a massive surge, but the day before Hurricane Katrina when increasing waves nearly stranded me on a deserted coastal highway. You know you are going to get a 20+ foot storm surge when it starts flooding the day before the big event like with the 1900's storm, Camille and Katrina.
     
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  23. Jake Orosi

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    I'm not saying there's any particularly safe place to be driving in a monster like that; but surely choosing to drive along the beachfront road while the eyewall was making landfall was not a moment of brilliance.

    Is there any information about what happened to those two individuals? They abandoned their vehicle in the height of the storm with debris and storm surge washing against them. I really hope they made it to some kind of shelter.
     
  24. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
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    From what I understand, everyone is safe and accounted for. There are reports of at least 3 chaser vehicles lost in storm surge, and 1 unconfirmed lost or heavily damaged from a structure's roof or wall collapsing on them. That last one is a secondhand report, so I do not know who it is nor the details.

    Even with preparation and knowledge of what was coming, even I was caught off guard by the actual intensity of the eyewall. I have chased two Category 3 landfalls (Rita and Ivan) and this wasn't just "one notch higher" than those.

    I lingered a few minutes too long several blocks east of my parking garage shelter, and my car was constantly being pelted with debris. Storage containers were going airborne. Structures don't provide much shelter, as most of them lost roofs or part of walls which collapse on the downwind side of the structure. Large rooftop HVAC units also were being blown off of buildings and crashing to the street below. Like this at a big church downtown - imagine someone sheltering from the wind there:

    oct1018c.jpg
     
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  25. Warren Faidley

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    I hate to say it, but I honestly believe we are at the same point in hurricane chasing as we were with storm / tornado chasing before the first fatalities. People are taking increasingly stupid risks to up each other during violent hurricanes. It's just not worth your life for a clip that is already old news 24 hours later.
     
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    #25 Warren Faidley, Oct 11, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018

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