9/15-?/04 REPORTS: Hurricane Ivan (Gulf Coast)

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after driving all day(and hacking and pulling trees to help clear roads north of the destroyed bridges) im back in florida.

we were positioned on route 59 in southeast alabama about 15 miles inland and the eye passed over us at about 3am central. By daybreak winds were down and we moved out. We were among the first on scene at the I10 collapse, just after dawn. There was one truck ahead of us as we moved east on 10 but he pulled ahead beyond our sight. The first cop had apparantly just arrived as we did, responding "the bridges arent there" when I said "i take it the bridges are closed" I almost couldnt beleive that a major highway bridge like that could be taken out. Now we see a truck dangling off the bridge on the news. nah.... couldnt be the one we were following. No one could hit that gap in daylight, could they?

im really tired and i'll post a more detailed report later, hopefully a video capture or two in a few days
The first cop had apparantly just arrived as we did, responding "the bridges arent there" when I said "i take it the bridges are closed" I almost couldnt beleive that a major highway bridge like that could be taken out. Now we see a truck dangling off the bridge on the news. nah.... couldnt be the one we were following. No one could hit that gap in daylight, could they?

im really tired and i'll post a more detailed report later, hopefully a video capture or two in a few days

Please, more details about that bridge when you get around to it. What time did you get there, after daylight? Do you think it failed in the middle of the night or right before you got there? Did the guy in the truck make it out?
Short summary: left Raleigh at 6PM, arrived in Mobile at 8AM. Spent the next 30 hours at a downtown Mobile parking garage. Thanks to Ivan's last minute jog to the east, we didn't take a square hit from the eye, but got a nice brush from the western eyewall. Late night, curfews, and a low bridge across Mobile Bay prevented us from readjusting east to intercept.

Still had a good time being out in 70-80+mph winds. My highest measured gust was 71mph, but I didn't record the entire eyewall passage. I don't think we topped 100mph at Mobile, but I could be wrong. Mobile never lost power (due to mostly underground power grid) so we had illumination to film all night. A mini convergence of around 10 chasers materialized at the parking garage as the night progressed, including Doug Keisling, Jim Edds, Blake Michaleski and Stuart Robinson.

Currently at a Hampton Inn in north Atlanta, Ivan still has teeth out there. Saw a good bit of damage all the way to Montgomery, AL. Power is out in spots around the Atlanta metro. Right now, going to go find a hot *real* dinner, sit down and go through video.

Tomorrow, planning on meeting Bill Coyle and Jesse Bass for a flood video expedition in the NC/VA mountains, then heading back to Raleigh to wait for Jeanne.

More detailed summary to come later, with some video and pictures.

B Ozanne, I assume the bridges failed at some point durring the night, and that the status of the driver was unknown. This is also what local radio suggested in the following hours as we made our slow trip north and then east on state roads. From the looks of it, I dont see how he could have lived. Going over my tape, it appears that the gap in the bridge was at least a half mile offshore.

We arrived at about 0700 local time, sunrise was 0633 if I recall. Winds were low end tropical storm at that point with some higher gusts. 1 lone police car blocked I10 east at the last exit before the bridge. From that point on I10, the tops of the spans were barely visible(call it ~2 miles), and the break in the causeway was not visible. From the overpass at that point, the break in the causeway was clearly visible. Within a few minutes of our arrival, at least 3 other police cars showed up and formed a solid blockade.

We were originally positioned in Mobile and then repositioned via I65 to route 59 around Robertsdale when the storm made its easterly jog(and thanks to the mobile police, who kicked us out of our first position). Winds were i guess around 100mph. Destroyed an aluminum awning at our position over the course of the night, which made a pretty constant loud crashing. Tore the roofs off a number of structures nearby. Too bad it was pitch black and we saw very little of it. Damage was much worse near pensacola/escambia bay, near the bridge. Significant flooding, trees down made route 90 impassable at that point. Trees, power lines, and mobile homes were scattered about near the shore. North of pensacola bay, trees were down over most roads. Some poorly built structures were destroyed and numerous roofs were damaged. Local roads were almost all impassable. State roads were not passable at first, but a few bulldozers and some chainsaws made them barely passable over the course of the next few hours. I never thought my ford taurus would handle alabama mud and drainage ditches.

Ivan dumps rain on SE Ohio

Location: SE Ohio

I was hoping to not have any reports on Ivan but Ivan came to me.
Combination of dying hurricane and a cold front lead to lots of rain.

The path predicted for Ivan looked SE for a while there and I thought it might spin out of our way. No such luck. It arrived a little later than expected but beginning at 4 AM and continuing till now, 3:16 PM EDT the rain has come with a vengance. Local meterology lab reports 4.25 inches of rain so far. We still had saturated ground and high river levels from Frances last week. On Sept 9, just last week we got 5.27 inches from Frances, Locations North got substantially more.

My personal observations is that this is the worst "high level" or tributary or flash flooding that I have seen. I live pretty high up the watershed and my neighbors house is flooded, Probably a few inches inside the house. Further downstream things are worse. I can not get into town but I wonder if the main rivers can take the load.

The pressure is rising 29.64 in/Hg the rain has slowed and the upper tributaries have receding floodwaters. So the worst is over. Once the upper levels drain we will see if the lowlands can take it.
My neighborhood creek has the closest gage about 10 Miles downstream. It looks something like this.

Lower tribs look something like this.
You can see the highs from last week and the median flow.

Athens just missed flood stage a week ago, and just beginning to rise.

Anyone else flooding due to Ivan? Any WV reports?
Rode out Hurricane Ivan in the parking garage at the Mobile Infirmary Medical Center in Mobile AL. Estimated the max winds I saw were sustained about 55 mph with gusts to 80 mph out of the northeast just before landfall from about 1-2am and again out of the northwest between 2:30-4am as convection apparently wrapped around the west and southwest part of the eye. The actual eye itself passed several miles to the east and never came over my location. Power was on at my location for most of the event. Saw many power flashes, and heard many trees snapping throughout the night. Minimum pressure I recorded was 958 millibars at 3:03am.....which is about 7 millibars lower than what was recorded at the airport 6 miles to the west.

Damage in Mobile appeared mostly light....looked a lot like how Norman looks after a severe thunderstorm with tons of leaves covering the roads and quite a few uprooted trees and snapped tree branches. Very little damage to permanent structures - although a few suffered minor roof damage. I did however see a steeple that had fallen off the roof of a church and into the parking lot. Several fast food signs were blown out and billboards ripped apart. Similar tree and sign and minor roof damage was seen in Semmes and Wilmer, virtually none however in southeastern Mississippi.

Special thanks goes out to Jay Barnes of Austin TX for nowcasting and updates.

Observed Ivan south of Mobile at Theodore, AL. Minor damage was observed with numerous power flashes and large signs down. Overall, areas west of the bay lucked out from any significant damage with the exception of the north side of Dauphin Island.

Deployed two meteorological towers at Mon Louis, AL and Dauphin Island, AL. The Mon Louis site was about 10 miles south of Mobile, directly on the bay. The highest wind gust recorded was 74mph with highest sustained winds of 62mph. It's a confident assessment that areas of metro Mobile didn't experience any hurricane force winds at the 2m surface (unless winds were funneled by objects). The lowest pressure recorded came with the Dauphin Island site of 945mb.

More information and images will be posted later on my site.

Scott Blair
Moved this post from Weather & Chasing to Target Area.

Good morning All,

Feels great to be back here in South FL after running around in the AL / FL panhandle. First of all, it was myself (www.sky-chaser.com), Jim Edds (www.extremestorms.com), and Doug Kiesling (www.bnvn.com). Doug and Jim chased with me but remained in Mobile, AL during the landfall as I myself positioned closer to the right-side of the most dangerous part of the eyewall in Fairhope, AL at Thomas Hospital (a re-inforced building). The 130-MPH winds made the same "freight-train sound" I heard a month ago in Punta Gorda intercepting Charley. Shook the ground, your chest, and your self-respect as well. Measured entire pressure fall from 995 MB as it bottomed out at 943 MB in the calm of the eye, which lasted about an hour. Looking up, you saw stars peeking through, got still and quiet, even seagulls were hovering, trapped in the still air. The quiet sound in the eye actually had a low rumble to it in the distance (maybe the eyewall tearing stuff up a few miles away around me?) I even saw flashing strobes from a plane briefly (gotta be the hurricane hunters at 10,000 feet)! This was all while CONSTANTLY having to clear my ears as they popped. The calm was replaced by 100 MPH WNW winds and the pressure began rising again, so I waited / slept and waited until I saw 985 MB and winds less than 80 MPH to return to Mobile, as you could imagine, which was a long tree-blocked path. Storm surge footage before and after the storm was awesome!

Pictures available in large format at the link below ...


later to be replaced by this link ...


I guess I should tell the hurricane season 2004 to "bring it on", only to have it tell me "i'ts already been brought"!!

Chris Collura - KG4PJN

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