Hurricane Irma 2017

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Real life and death, battle royal going on between the GFS and ECMWF over where Irma will end-up. From reading NHC discussions, I believe they are thinking strong high pressure will win out and Irma will keep moving west. The ECMWF has it pounding Key West then moving it into the Gulf a week from this Sunday.

On the other hand, the GFS and most tropical models are currently taking it into the Long Island region during the same time frame. There has been some westward adjustments over the last few GFS runs so it will be interesting when the models jell and emergency management can start planning.

No matter what the outcome, it appears that another major hurricane will impact the US coastline in the next 10-12 days. Oh, and another wave just came off the African coast!
 

Trey Thee

EF2
Mar 29, 2010
191
29
11
Tulsa metro
There's still pretty good odds it stays a fish storm. I wouldn't count that out at all...
That would be good, latest GFS run moves further west and south with landfall...

Any recommendations if I wanted to subscribe to some model sites? I'd like access to the full GFS and Euro if possible.
 
Jul 5, 2009
851
536
21
Newtown, Pennsylvania
Euro went from a SC landfall to out-to-sea. GFS consistent last couple runs with a mid-Atlantic landfall, just shifted slightly from NJ to Delmarva. I live in southeastern PA so watching this closely.


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Trey Thee

EF2
Mar 29, 2010
191
29
11
Tulsa metro
Euro went from a SC landfall to out-to-sea. GFS consistent last couple runs with a mid-Atlantic landfall, just shifted slightly from NJ to Delmarva. I live in southeastern PA so watching this closely.


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It looked to me like there was a problem with that Euro run that had it out to sea.
Anyhow, the 00Z runs from the Euro and GFS have a NC landfall. Odd agreement still more than a week out, the Euro was about 36 hours later with landfall.
 
Jul 5, 2009
851
536
21
Newtown, Pennsylvania
It looked to me like there was a problem with that Euro run that had it out to sea.
Anyhow, the 00Z runs from the Euro and GFS have a NC landfall. Odd agreement still more than a week out, the Euro was about 36 hours later with landfall.

Yeah I saw that general landfall agreement - actually looked at the 6Z models, where the Euro shows landfall just about 12 hours later than the GFS.


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That would be good, latest GFS run moves further west and south with landfall...

Any recommendations if I wanted to subscribe to some model sites? I'd like access to the full GFS and Euro if possible.
A good tropical model site is located on the NCAR site: http://www.ral.ucar.edu/hurricanes/realtime/current/

Irma could be a frustrating storm to chase. Most hurricanes that make that quick turn northward end-up being coastal scrapers that hover off the east coast and either turn out to sea or suddenly (wobble) inland. The key will be a strong 500mb trough that is shown by the GFS dropping south by late next week. I believe if Irma slows down and / or continues to move further west / southwest, the odds increase for a Florida / Gulf impact or it moves further north and shear weakens it before landfall. I'm also watching that wave just below 10 deg. N. to see where it goes.
 
Looks like Irma will be a go chase barring a curvature away from the east coast or an unforeseen weakening between now and next Thursday. I'm hoping either or both of those events occur, given some of the potential intensity and track forecasts. The NHC's "Most likely arrival time of tropical-storm-force-winds" graphic really puts things in perspective, even though it's still a long way out.

I think the Thursday AM forecast will be the break point for heading out, given the storm could **theoretically** be less than 48 hours from initial impacts in Florida if it heads that way. The forecast should get only get better after today since the NOAA Gulfstream was conducting sampling today, or so I was told.

View media item 1242
 
Jul 5, 2009
851
536
21
Newtown, Pennsylvania
A good tropical model site is located on the NCAR site: http://www.ral.ucar.edu/hurricanes/realtime/current/

Irma could be a frustrating storm to chase. Most hurricanes that make that quick turn northward end-up being coastal scrapers that hover off the east coast and either turn out to sea or suddenly (wobble) inland. The key will be a strong 500mb trough that is shown by the GFS dropping south by late next week. I believe if Irma slows down and / or continues to move further west / southwest, the odds increase for a Florida / Gulf impact or it moves further north and shear weakens it before landfall. I'm also watching that wave just below 10 deg. N. to see where it goes.


Isn't it a fairly weak trough? The strong, deep long wave trough that digs into the northeast this week lifts out by Thursday/Friday, then after that there is another piece of energy that digs into the southeast but seems cut off from the main flow and is not particularly strong, this does seem to phase with Irma and tugs it north but not as far as earlier model runs when the first trough was involved, before Irma slowed down and trended more south.


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Jul 5, 2009
851
536
21
Newtown, Pennsylvania
Looks like Irma will be a go chase barring a curvature away from the east coast or an unforeseen weakening between now and next Thursday. I'm hoping either or both of those events occur, given some of the potential intensity and track forecasts. The NHC's "Most likely arrival time of tropical-storm-force-winds" graphic really puts things in perspective, even though it's still a long way out.

I think the Thursday AM forecast will be the break point for heading out, given the storm could **theoretically** be less than 48 hours from initial impacts in Florida if it heads that way. The forecast should get only get better after today since the NOAA Gulfstream was conducting sampling today, or so I was told.

View media item 1242

Warren, any advice for those of us that would love to chase a hurricane but don't have press credentials to get into areas near the coast that have been evacuated or have police roadblocks? Will hotels generally let you stay in an evacuation zone? Sorry if OT...


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Dan Robinson

Staff member
Jan 14, 2011
2,475
2,132
21
St. Louis
stormhighway.com
James, it's been a while since I chased a hurricane, but typically you are allowed to go where you want - especially if you "look the part" with equipment, supplies, extra gas cans, etc. I never had problems nor was even stopped once by an official. I think it's one of the times when looking like a (adequately prepared) storm chaser/media person actually helps.
 
Warren, any advice for those of us that would love to chase a hurricane but don't have press credentials to get into areas near the coast that have been evacuated or have police roadblocks? Will hotels generally let you stay in an evacuation zone? Sorry if OT...


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Best advise is to be very careful if you don't have experience, and most important, don't place yourself in a storm surge situation you cannot escape from. There are so many dangers with hurricanes it would take an hour to list. If you can find a printed or e-copy of my book, "The Ultimate Storm Survival Guide," I go over all this stuff. I'm not trying to sell a book as I don't make much on it, but it could save your life.

As for road blocks, there is generally no problem until after the storm. Sometime they are closed for good reasons. Even as an EMT/EMR I generally obey the rules. Get there early, like two days early. Sometimes contraflow traffic will stop your travel. Again, get there early. Watch the TWC or other media and see where they are staying. Some hotels actually stay open during hurricanes and the media always finds safe areas for their crews. Don't go on barrier islands. Others can chime in as there are a lot of chasers here with excellent hurricane chase experience.

I'm on my way to Tampa, so I have the bases covered from the Gulf to all of Florida. Maybe I'll get to return to Ft. Andrew unless they discover I still have the open parking ticket from 1992!

Stay safe everyone.
 
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Jul 5, 2009
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James, it's been a while since I chased a hurricane, but typically you are allowed to go where you want - especially if you "look the part" with equipment, supplies, extra gas cans, etc. I never had problems nor was even stopped once by an official. I think it's one of the times when looking like a (adequately prepared) storm chaser/media person actually helps.

I haven't ever really "gone for it," but when Irene and Sandy were in my neck of the woods (I live near Philadelphia and am just 60-90 minutes from most NJ shore points), police were blocking roads near the coast - and it wasn't even a barrier island. For Sandy I was there hours before landfall - I didn't want to stay for landfall because I knew my family would probably be dealing with a power outage back home - and the police were actually telling people to get off the boardwalk. I guess I have to do more research and find places with hotels and/or parking garages... Like I said, I've never really completely committed, and probably can't this time either, unless the models change and it takes a run further up the coast toward Delmarva, NJ or Long Island... But definitely something I want to do some day!


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Dan Robinson

Staff member
Jan 14, 2011
2,475
2,132
21
St. Louis
stormhighway.com
The best thing is to get there early and scout out some steel reinforced concrete shelter (parking garages are best) on high ground. Safety of self, vehicle and cameras have to be addressed, one has to be 100% self-sufficient in every possible way. Hurricane chases are also marathon grinders with little sleep and lots of discomfort (especially after landfall, no power or prepared food). Chris Collura posted a great thread on hurricane chasing tips a while back:

https://stormtrack.org/community/threads/hurricane-chasing.5851/

Although I do love the experience, my hurricane days are mostly over. Chasing one requires allotting 4-5 days minimum off of work, plus all of the expenses of preps, risks of vehicle damage/flat tires, camera damage and so on. I used to be able to count on enough video revenue from a hurricane to self-insure against those risks, but that's long gone. These days I have to choose between spring in the Great Plains or hurricanes, the Plains wins for me.
 
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David Swindler

Enthusiast
Aug 30, 2017
2
2
0
Metairie, LA
Hey I just joined about a week ago, but I have been chasing for several years on and off. Living in New Orleans has taught me a few things about hurricanes and what you need to do to be safe. I completely agree about scouting out some steel and concrete for this storm. They have several major hospitals on both sides of the coast that have open parking garages. Plus you are literally across the street from a hospital. I booked a hotel with pretty strong construction with no outward facing hotel room doors. If this storm does what it is supposed to do though, it may not be enough. The parking garage might save you at the end of the day.
 
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Jun 1, 2008
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Chattanooga, TN
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Irma is NOT a first hurricane chase storm. Anybody checked in with reality here?

Agree no barrier islands. Agree get on the offshore wind side of the eyewall. However I have never chased a hurricane and have no plans to do so.

If Irma goes over Cuba it could drop off to Cat 2 which would be great for the US but bad for Cuba. We don't have time for politics. Bad for Cuba is bad for people. No good options are apparent to me. As for the northern Leewards, God be with them.
 

MClarkson

EF5
Sep 2, 2004
891
27
11
Blacksburg, VA
The best thing is to get there early and scout out some steel reinforced concrete shelter (parking garages are best) on high ground.
Agreed. This worked great for me in the past. I scouted a good building every 20 miles or so of coastline about a day ahead and then made the final move just before eyewall impact to take into account the final wobbles. This storm could be taking a pretty oblique approach to parts of the coast... that could make initial scouting more difficult as a large landfall location delta might come from a minor track change.

Also I suggest carrying LOTS of extra gas. The evacuations and personal generators and loss of power will take out a lot of gas stations before and after the storm.
 
Jul 5, 2009
851
536
21
Newtown, Pennsylvania
Key West ordered an evacuation. Hurricane chasing question: *IF* one were so inclined (and no, I'm not doing it), would a chaser be able to make the choice to stay in a well-constructed hotel if they wanted to?? Trying to get an understanding of what's possible in these situations, relative to posts by others above.


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Unless you have a death wish. Stay away from Key West if Irma's path or core heads that way. Highway 1 is a death trap. There are places where the ocean is literally lapping at the edges of the highway. I remember telling Jim Leonard that one of my worse fears was to be trapped on that highway -- and it's a very long road, about 160 miles from Miami. Just thought I'd throw this out in case someone was considering it.

Stay safe.
 
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Jul 5, 2009
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Unless you have a death wish. Stay away from Key West if Irma's path or core heads that way. Highway 1 is a death trap. There are places where the ocean is literally lapping at the edges of the highway. I remember telling Jim Leonard that one of my worse fears was to be trapped on that highway -- and it's a very long road, about 160 miles from Miami. Just thought I'd throw this out in case someone was considering it.

Stay safe.


Thanks for your insights Warren, wasn't at all considering it, just wondering about hurricane chasing in general and how/if it is possible to stay in a hotel in an area that is being evacuated. Would it be *possible* to do that in a case like this??

Please keep us updated on your chasing activities with this one!


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Jun 1, 2008
469
363
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Chattanooga, TN
www.linkedin.com
RE above: Trees stripped is tornado like damage. Looks like plenty of flying missiles too. Thankfully we see survivors about.

OK Warren is right. You can't set up near sea level due to the storm surge. The Keys are a no-chase zone. Even in a steel reinforced concrete mid-rise, the lower floor flooding will create unlivable conditions; and, help would be days away.

If I were to do it, again zero interest, it would be from a steel reinforced concrete building with lowest floor well above sea level. I would not try it on a barrier island. Position must be in the off-shore wind part of the eyewall.

Actually, my living room with TV 1,000 miles away is a great position!