Archive for August, 2008

Video Blog And Video Of An Ominous Feeder Band From Gustav
August 31, 2008

I had some time this evening to shoot some video.  The first video is of an approaching feeder band from Gustav.  The second video is more shots of the ominous clouds that passed over the station.  I was impressed how mean the clouds looked as they moved in.  It reminded me of Oklahoma.  The winds gusted to 40 mph and this band did promt the national weather service to issue a tornado warning south of here.



By the way, WDSU is broadcasting nation wide on Direct TV channel 361.  You can also watch streaming live coverage right here at  It should get busier as the storm moves in.



My Louisiana Friends…
August 31, 2008

Ok…so in case you do not already know this, I began my career as a Meteorologist in Lafayette Louisiana.  Lafayette is Here….

So basically between Houston and New Orleans.  I lived there for 5 years and while I was there I made many friends that I still talk to often.  I sent a text message to a few of them today asking what their thoughts and feelings were about Gustav and what they have done to prepare.  Here are some of the responses.

“I am so worried about my house!!  My boat my motorcycle and piano!!  No worries though…they are all replacable.”

“Ga La Gustav”  That is french for Here it is!! 

“Run for higher ground, back in the roman days, Gustav was a bad warrior!!”

“Where do you think its going to make landfall?’  I got that response about 3 times….

“I spent 6 hours boarding up my house yesterday and another 4 hours packing.  I went to bed at 11pm and got up at 2am to ‘beat the traffic’ of evacuees.  It took me 2 and a half hours just to get to Alexandria, normally a 75 minute drive.  Now I am in Conway, Arkansas at a Holliday Inn waiting to go back and wondering if I will have a house to go back to!.”  That was one long text message!!

“Only the good die young….so I will be fine”

“Its been crazy down here…we closed the shutters…we stocked the fridge…hopefully we have everything prepared”

“I have been up since 3:00am Saturday.  Everybody is just on each others nerves…everybody is on eachothers nerves.  My eyes are crossing as I drive home”   

Just wanted to share that with you…


Storm Surge…
August 31, 2008

Storm surge isn’t something Oklahomans thing about often.  We have enough to worry about with respect to Tornadoes right?  Well in case you were wondering what it is after listening to all the Hurricane Gustav coverage over the past few days…I thought I would throw out my easiest explanation.  Storm surge referrs to the amount of SALT water that the Hurricane will bring with it ashore.  The water is pushed by the strong winds swirling around the storm.  This can raise the water level near the shore 15 ft or more.  Gustav is expected to create a storm surge of 10-14 feet above normal tidal levels, near and east of the center of the storm at landfall.  That would make the water well above your head…and that is why the mandatory evacuations occur along the coast.  For example, a home or hotel on the beach could have water up to the 2nd or 3rd floors.  So here is a picture of what I am talking about. 

 How far inland the water goes, depends on the size and strength of the Hurricane itself, what angle it hits the coast, and how fast the Hurricane is moving.  Here is a graphic indicating the storm surge potential of Gustav based on the NHC forecast. 



The Storm Approaches
August 31, 2008

I was lucky overnight since I had a hotel room.  Even though all hotels were supposed to be shut down, the Marriott stayed open for the people who will be “working” the storm such as police, media, etc.  So I actually had a good night’s sleep.

I awoke this morning to the news that the storm had not strengthened, and actually weakened.  As I type this at 2 pm, the winds are down to 115 mph in the storm, but the pressure is starting to fall again, perhaps signaling some new intensification.  The offical NHC forecast still calls for the storm to become a category 4.  While that could happen, I have my doubts.

I’m again helping out on the air, and my shift will run through midnight.  I give the broad information on the storm such as where it is, how strong it is, water temps, ect., while the WDSU mets give the detailed stuff.  I’m told I probably won’t be able to get back to the hotel tonight so I may end up sleeping here.  I’ll just have to wait and see.

The main mood today for the locals is very nervous.  Many people do not know if their homes will survive the storm.  The evacuation seems to be going as smoothly as possible.  I can say that things are far different here from what they were during Katrina.  I feel safe here at WDSU.  I just want this storm to get in and get out so I can get home.


Gustav–Sunday 1pm
August 31, 2008

Gustav has weakened a bit more early this afternoon.  The 1pm advisory has maximum sustained winds at 115 mph.  That’s still a category three storm–a major hurricane, but it’s far better than yesterday afternoon.  The official forecast has Gustav strengthening before landfall–perhaps back up to 130 mph.  Landfall still appears to be after lunchtime Monday west of New Orleans. The storm surge forecast has been updated to 12-16 feet.

Yes, these numbers are a little better, but Gustav is still a dangerous storm.


A Few Storms Here…One Big Storm South
August 31, 2008

There’s so much to talk about.  The big story is of course Gustav.   I’ve been looking at the satellite maps, the information from the National Hurricane Center, and the information coming from our crews in New Orleans.  You don’t need me to tell you that this will be one nasty storm.

It’s also Labor Day weekend and I know you’re trying to fish, golf and cookout inbetween these thunderstorms, so, we’ll talk about the local weather first.  We saw a few showers and storms yesterday, including one storm that made a grand appearance over Norman at the wrong time!  We will see a few showers and storms around today and tonight.  Rain chances today and tonight will be 20% in central and eastern Oklahoma, 30% in western Oklahoma.  For Labor Day, take today’s rain chance and subtract 10%.

OK, the latest on Gustav.  The trip over Cuba was a bit tough on Gustav.  Sustained winds are down to 120 this morning, which takes the storm back to category 3 status.  The storm should increase in intensity today.  We will likely again see 140 mph winds by later this afternoon, taking it back to a category 4. 

The current forecast takes the storm in west of New Orleans around 1pm tomorrow with sustained winds between 130-140 mph.  This forecast places New Orleans on the right hand side of the storm.  But, with a hurricane, the “right side is the wrong side”.  The right side gets the threat for tornadoes.  The right side gets the strongest winds.  The right side deals with the storm surge. 

I was looking at some of the data we get with Advantage Doppler HD.  On the east side of Gustav, there are 18-22 foot waves.  18-22 feet!   

Bottom line–some area near and just east of landfall will see 140 mph winds and an 18-21 foot storm surge, plus 6-12″ of rainfall and possible tornadoes.  This isn’t pretty for southcentral Louisiana. 

  Rick and our crew are still in New Orleans.  I was watching FAST Video from FAST unit 5 this morning.  Mark Fryklund was showing the contra-flow in New Orleans…it was an amazing sight.  We also have SKY 5 in Baton Rouge.  We will have the latest on Gustav tonight on Eyewitness News 5 and on


Gustav Latest
August 30, 2008

Gustav became a major hurricane today, intensifying beyond anyone’s belief. The storm came real close to being a category five storm this afternoon before the eye interacted with western Cuba. The southern eyewall has just passed over Cuba, so Gustav has now emerged into the southern Gulf of Mexico. It’s back down to 140mph winds, but should strengthening again over the next 24 hours to perhaps category five winds.

Landfall is expected late Monday or early Tuesday along the Louisiana coastline. Right now, it would be east of New Orleans, though anywhere from Houston to Mobile falls under the “cone of uncertainty.”

A trough moving through the southern plains should slow down Gustav quickly after landfall. Gustav is expected to crawl through northern Louisiana and turn west into east Texas, though southeastern Oklahoma is not out of question. Gustav could begin to affect our weather as early as Tuesday evening with tropical downpours, gusty winds and cooler temps.



“Gustav Worse Than Katrina”
August 30, 2008

I just watched New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin’s press conference saying that this hurricane will have a worse effect on New Orleans than hurricane Katrina.  The storm is larger and stronger than it was this morning, and some intensification is likely overnight.  The mayor’s comments were strong and I’m sure they were directed at those people who feel they may want to ride this storm out.  Whatever his intention was, he sure got my attention.  If I lived here, I would get out.  No doubt about it.

The station here in New Orleans is beginning to look like a shelter.  People are bringing pillows and blankets, getting ready for the long haul.  Some people have even brought their pets.  Let me stress that the station is full of supplies and security.  There is a plan for us to evacuate if the storm surge is expected here in downtown.  If we do leave, some folks will go to Baton Rouge, while others will go to Jackson, Mississippi. 

Here’s what I expect to take place the next few days.  Tomorrow will be cloudy with rain developing by afternoon.  East winds will increase to 10-20 mph and some flooding of coastal areas will already begin. 

Tomorrow night into Monday morning the rain will become steadier and heavier.  Winds by Monday morning will be sustained 30 to 45 mph with gusts of 50 to 60 mph.  Coastal areas will begin to experience hurricane force winds. 

The roughest weather in metro New Orleans will be from 2 pm to 10 pm Monday.  Highest wind gusts here will be in the 80 to 90 mph range.  Storm surge at the coast will be 20 to 25 feet, while here in the city we’re thinking a low chance of a 5 foot surge. 

I’m going to try and get a good night’s sleep tonight because there may be no sleep tomorrow night.


Stronger And Faster
August 30, 2008

The rapid strengthening of Gustav continues.  The 4pm advisory has the maximum winds at 150 mph.  156 gets you to cat 5.  So, the winds have increased 40 mph since early this morning.  The strengthening should slow down a bit as the storm rips across western Cuba.  Once the storm gets into tvery warm waters in the southern Gulf, it should strengthen again and should become a category 5 storm.  The water will cool a bit as the storm travels northwest, so the storm should weaken a little.

The track that just came out from the National Hurricane Center is disturbing.  The storm could come inland Monday afternoon–about 8-10 hours earlier than the forecast from earlier today.  Needless to say, a Hurricane Watch has now been issued from far eastern Texas through southern Alabama.  That earlier arrival and this rapid increase in strength means that there are a lot of people who will have a small window to get out of town.


Gustav Satellite as of Saturday Afternoon….
August 30, 2008

I just wanted to share this amazing picture of Gustav.  It looks like a monster and the eye is becoming very well defined now.  The first picture is just to give you a good idea of where Gustav is in reference to the US.  The second one is just an amazing satellite picture…