Hurricanes that had more potential than they delivered in the US

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Re: Hurricanes that had more potential than they delivered in the US

#61 Postby Alyono » Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:34 pm

J_J99 wrote:
CrazyC83 wrote:
Andrew92 wrote:As horrifying as it sounds, Harvey could have been worse, because its strongest quadrant missed Corpus Christi. Imagine that, plus the devastating floods in Houston.

Irma could have easily caused worse effects in either Miami or Tampa. And what if it didn't hit Cuba directly first? She was strengthening up to the Keys if I am recalling correct after that weakening spell.

Also, what if Nate had continued strengthening, or done so faster than it actually did, coupled with that fast forward speed? It would have been very difficult to pull off to say the least, but still, I shudder to think.

To go back to Matthew, skipping Florida for a second (we all know what could have easily been there). If shear hadn't taken its toll on that storm before the Carolinas, could that storm have been worse there as well? Especially had it moved further inland, with I think already flooding worse in North Carolina than that of Floyd as is. Someone correct me if I am wrong there though.

-Andrew92


Indeed, had the storm hit 20 miles down the coast, Cat 4 conditions would have hit Corpus Christi instead of a largely rural area. Plus that same track would have drawn it in for the last time near Beaumont and brought an extra 24 hours of extreme rain to Houston. Consider that Port Arthur was practically destroyed - that would have been even more of Houston instead with dam breaks.

It was "largely rural".... but had many towns that were completely devastated by the storm including Rockport, Port Arnasas, Port Lavanca, etc that got the brunt. Yes Corpus dodged A BIG ONE by 5 miles(eyewall was very very near the city and could have been there if the storm did not jog more north) (I still fume to the edge of my seat at the fact that the Corpus mayor did NOT order a mandatory evacuation and was a complete idiot)


You think that's bad, try Houston mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Ed Emmit who refused to order an evacuation even for areas that had repeatedly flooded in much milder rainstorms previously
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Re: Hurricanes that had more potential than they delivered in the US

#62 Postby Alyono » Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:37 pm

Shell Mound wrote:This thread is somewhat in the mould of the past what-ifs involving hypothetical hurricanes. As in the latter example, hypotheticals are based on historical precedent. The problem is that historical precedent is not long enough to determine what is or isn't possible. One cannot conclude that the northern Gulf cannot, as a rule, support intensifying major hurricanes. The climate of the region has changed over long periods of time, and what applies today may not have applied in the past, or may not apply to future cases. When discussing worst-case scenarios or storms that "might have been" worse, there are many factors to consider, such as demographics, population, settlement patterns, geography, geology, and topography, besides a storm's angle of approach, size, fetch, intensity, speed, rainfall, and a number of synoptic and mesoscale factors that come into play. Theoretically, almost every storm, even the worst on record, could have been even more catastrophic had one or more variables been different.

However, I wouldn't consider Wilma to have been "worse than expected," given that advisories between 0300Z/18 October and 0300Z/24 October consistently called for at least a low-end Category-2 hurricane to strike Southwest Florida; forecasts were consistently in the 85-to-100-knot range at the projected time of landfall in Florida. The actual landfall intensity, 105 knots/950 mb, was not far off from the range of possibilities. The miscommunications in Southeast Florida resulted from local TV meteorologists' wording, not the Hurricane Center's, according to my recollections. Anyway, I personally doubt that Wilma could have hit South Florida as a Category-4 or stronger cyclone, given the strength of the shear over the Gulf of Mexico. Wilma was able to intensify because it left the Yucatán Peninsula as a weaker, Category-2 system, instead of passing through the Yucatán Channel as a Category 4+. Thus, Wilma was more like Eloise 1975 than Katrina 2005 as it entered hostile conditions near the shelf waters. Weaker systems, Category 1 or 2, tend to benefit from baroclinic forcing more than storms that are already extremely intense (Category 4+).

Based on past discussions on this forum, some of the worst-case scenarios are as follows:

  1. A Category-5 cyclone of similar intensity to Irma, possibly annular or quasi-annular—à la Isabel 2003—that strikes the USVI and just south of San Juan, PR, placing that city in the powerful northeast quadrant, and then passes north of the Greater Antilles, taking a path over the deeper channels of the southeastern Bahamas, en route to a landfall on Nassau, New Providence Island, as a Category 4+, then continuing northwestward, its northern eyewall affecting Freeport, before making landfall on Sebastian, FL, as a Category 4+, and continuing north-northwestward to just west of Jacksonville, its eyewall affecting downtown and the St. Johns estuary. The system slows as it nears the latitude of Jacksonville and eventually stalls over or just west of Savannah, GA, producing a prolonged fetch over coastal SC and GA, including the Charleston area.
  2. Similar to the above, but continues west-northwestward after PR, taking a path similar to Irma's through the southeastern Bahamas, then assuming a more northerly trajectory to strike Andros Island, continuing over the Gulf Stream to hit just south of downtown Miami, FL, as a Category 5, similar to Andrew in strength but mimicking Irma's size, with the eyewall affecting downtown Miami and Fort Lauderdale. The storm then heads northwestward to Egmont Key, near the mouth of Tampa Bay, its northern eyewall affecting downtown St. Petersburg and/or Tampa, then gradually curves over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, hitting west of St. Marks, its northeast eyewall affecting downtown Tallahassee.
  3. Similar to the first scenario, but instead of hitting FL, the cyclone curves northeastward post-Nassau, passing well to the southeast of Cape Hatteras, but then interacts with a negatively tilted mid-level trough and accelerates north-northwestward, making landfall over the southern tip of Barnegat Bay, NJ, as a large Category-3 cyclone, similar in intensity to the 1938 New England hurricane, comparable in size to the 1944 Great Atlantic hurricane, Floyd 1999, and Sandy 2012. The eye moves north-northwest after landfall, too, passing over Newark, with the eastern eyewall affecting the lower Hudson River, Manhattan, and western Long Island. Once past New York City, the system slows dramatically, transitioning into an extratropical cyclone that merges with a cold front, producing torrential rains over portions of New York State and New England. As in 1938, this scenario follows a very wet summer in portions of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, and coincides with astronomical high tide.

Given property values and infrastructure, the absolute worst-case scenario, blending size, intensity, fetch, angle of approach, and storm surge, would involve the USVI, San Juan, Nassau, the east coast of FL (Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Kennedy Space Center, Jacksonville), Savannah, Charleston, Chesapeake/Delaware Bays, and of course Newark, NYC, Long Island, and southern New England. Probably no single storm would hit all of the points I've highlighted, but anything of the above that would involve these places could be far, far costlier and deadlier than a similar impact to New Orleans or Houston-Galveston. There are simply more financial and other resources at stake.

So, yes, I'm thinking a blend of Irma, Maria (in PR, St. Croix, and Dominica), Floyd, Andrew, Katrina, 1926 Miami, 1928 San Felipe II, 1938 New England, 1944 Great Atlantic, and Sandy all rolled into one. Perhaps a Donna-type track over the eastern U.S., melded with an Irma-esque track through the islands (with more impacts to San Juan and Nassau), would do the trick, and potentially bring Tampa/St. Petersburg into the high-risk zone as far as surge is concerned, too.


Wilma was NOT sheared on its way to Florida. The strong winds merely enhanced the outflow. Had it not have sat over the Yucatan, that would have been a sub 900mb hurricane into Florida given the baroclinic enhancement is was receiving. We have to remember, it intensified significantly despite losing its core over the Yucatan. That tells you had favorable the environment was
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Re: Hurricanes that had more potential than they delivered in the US

#63 Postby J_J99 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:17 am

Alyono wrote:
J_J99 wrote:
CrazyC83 wrote:
Indeed, had the storm hit 20 miles down the coast, Cat 4 conditions would have hit Corpus Christi instead of a largely rural area. Plus that same track would have drawn it in for the last time near Beaumont and brought an extra 24 hours of extreme rain to Houston. Consider that Port Arthur was practically destroyed - that would have been even more of Houston instead with dam breaks.

It was "largely rural".... but had many towns that were completely devastated by the storm including Rockport, Port Arnasas, Port Lavanca, etc that got the brunt. Yes Corpus dodged A BIG ONE by 5 miles(eyewall was very very near the city and could have been there if the storm did not jog more north) (I still fume to the edge of my seat at the fact that the Corpus mayor did NOT order a mandatory evacuation and was a complete idiot)


You think that's bad, try Houston mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Ed Emmit who refused to order an evacuation even for areas that had repeatedly flooded in much milder rainstorms previously

Aboslutely agreed. He was so idiotic in justifying his non decision with "Rita caused 108 deaths when we evacd all of houston in 9/2005 in 105 degree heat, we cant evac 6.8 million people (WELL GUESS WHAT, HOUSTON HAS 2.5... not 6.8)" when conditions were WAY different. The heat and poor planning killed more people than the evac itself. And not even considering evacuating a idiotic. The Teas Governor was completely right... and its a shame the local government did not listen to them.
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Re: Hurricanes that had more potential than they delivered in the US

#64 Postby Blown Away » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:26 am

Irma doesn't skim N Cuba coast, it's likely a Cat 5 into Keys/Florida...
Harvey likely a Cat 5 if he had a few more hours over GOM.
Charley likely a Cat 5 if he moved over GOM a few more hours and into Tampa area.
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