The next Cat 5 U.S. landfall

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The next Cat 5 U.S. landfall

#1 Postby Hurricane Mike » Fri May 04, 2018 12:27 am

It's been 26 years this August since a Category 5 hurricane made U.S. landfall. I was reading about return periods here: https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/1 ... JCLI1772.1 , they note:

The 1935 Labor Day Florida Keys storm was the most severe in our dataset. With a 265-yr wind speed return period and a 102-yr central pressure return period, it presses the fitted model boundaries. We believe this is due in part to the extreme southern latitude of this landfalling storm. Another storm of this intensity would likely again require a very southern landfalling latitude, with the Florida Keys or the Brownsville, Texas, region being the most likely hosts.


That means we are coming up on the return period for a sub-900 mb U.S. landfall within the next decade or two. Also, if you take into account 1935, then 1969 (Camille), and 1992 (Andrew) you average to a Cat 5 U.S. landfall every 28.5 years which would put Hurricane Season 2020 right on the mark.

So I ask for a topic of discussion, when do you think the next Cat 5 U.S. landfall will take place? My guess is sometime in the next ten years, probably by Hurricane Season 2023.
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Re: The next Cat 5 U.S. landfall

#2 Postby Shell Mound » Fri May 04, 2018 9:20 am

Interestingly, of the four known Cat-5 landfalls (including San Felipe II in Puerto Rico in 1928), three occurred during less-than-active seasons: 1928, 1935, and 1992. Only 1969 was relatively active and coincided with a Modoki-type El Niño, as far I as know, but feel free to correct me. All of the remaining seasons featured neutral ENSO, as El Niño conditions ended early in 1992. So perhaps 2018, despite its likely featuring less-than-average activity, might be a year to watch out for that one big storm, maybe even a homegrown event. The 1935 storm and Andrew (1992) were essentially homegrown, as Andrew, despite its early formation in the MDR, did not really develop into a significant system (strong TS or stronger) until it reached the subtropics, and we all know about the 1935 cyclone's genesis over the Bahamas. Katrina might well have become another infamous homegrown major hurricane for South Florida, had it managed just several more hours over water pre-landfall.
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Re: The next Cat 5 U.S. landfall

#3 Postby TheStormExpert » Fri May 04, 2018 6:27 pm

Irma could have likely been the next Cat.5 hurricane landfall in Florida has it not made landfall on the northern coast of Cuba.
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Re: The next Cat 5 U.S. landfall

#4 Postby Shell Mound » Sat May 05, 2018 12:04 am

TheStormExpert wrote:Irma could have likely been the next Cat.5 hurricane landfall in Florida has it not made landfall on the northern coast of Cuba.

A Cat-5 cyclone on any of the following trajectories could be quite devastating:

*Turks & Caicos - Straits of Florida - Miami - Jacksonville - Savannah
*Nassau - Miami / Miami Beach - Bonita Springs - New Orleans
*SW Haiti - Havana - Key West - Cape Canaveral - Charleston
*Turks & Caicos - Nassau - Freeport - Outer Banks - Atlantic City
*Kingston (Jamaica) - Cozumel - Cancún - Matamoros - Brownsville
*Puerto Rico - Hispaniola - Cuba - San Luis Pass (TX) - SW Houston
*Swan Islands - Yucatán Channel - Tarpon Springs - Orlando

The first scenario is what Irma might have done, had it simply avoided Cuba.

Probably the costliest scenarios involve the Keys, Miami, Houston, Tampa, and NYC.

Another nasty scenario would be an Isabel-type track with less pre-landfall filling.
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Re: The next Cat 5 U.S. landfall

#5 Postby CrazyC83 » Sat May 05, 2018 4:31 pm

Shell Mound wrote:
TheStormExpert wrote:Irma could have likely been the next Cat.5 hurricane landfall in Florida has it not made landfall on the northern coast of Cuba.

A Cat-5 cyclone on any of the following trajectories could be quite devastating:

*Turks & Caicos - Straits of Florida - Miami - Jacksonville - Savannah
*Nassau - Miami / Miami Beach - Bonita Springs - New Orleans
*SW Haiti - Havana - Key West - Cape Canaveral - Charleston
*Turks & Caicos - Nassau - Freeport - Outer Banks - Atlantic City
*Kingston (Jamaica) - Cozumel - Cancún - Matamoros - Brownsville
*Puerto Rico - Hispaniola - Cuba - San Luis Pass (TX) - SW Houston
*Swan Islands - Yucatán Channel - Tarpon Springs - Orlando

The first scenario is what Irma might have done, had it simply avoided Cuba.

Probably the costliest scenarios involve the Keys, Miami, Houston, Tampa, and NYC.

Another nasty scenario would be an Isabel-type track with less pre-landfall filling.


There has never been a cat 5 in the open Atlantic north of the latitude of central Florida (although Camille made it to 30.5N as a cat 5 in the Gulf, it probably ran over a warm eddy near shore, and the Gulf is normally warmer at peak season anyway). It would take absolutely perfect conditions to maintain a cat 5 into the subtropical latitudes, and even then I can't see it happening above about the latitude of Cape Fear.
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Re: The next Cat 5 U.S. landfall

#6 Postby Hurricane Mike » Sun May 06, 2018 2:52 am

CrazyC83 wrote:
Shell Mound wrote:
TheStormExpert wrote:Irma could have likely been the next Cat.5 hurricane landfall in Florida has it not made landfall on the northern coast of Cuba.

A Cat-5 cyclone on any of the following trajectories could be quite devastating:

*Turks & Caicos - Straits of Florida - Miami - Jacksonville - Savannah
*Nassau - Miami / Miami Beach - Bonita Springs - New Orleans
*SW Haiti - Havana - Key West - Cape Canaveral - Charleston
*Turks & Caicos - Nassau - Freeport - Outer Banks - Atlantic City
*Kingston (Jamaica) - Cozumel - Cancún - Matamoros - Brownsville
*Puerto Rico - Hispaniola - Cuba - San Luis Pass (TX) - SW Houston
*Swan Islands - Yucatán Channel - Tarpon Springs - Orlando

The first scenario is what Irma might have done, had it simply avoided Cuba.

Probably the costliest scenarios involve the Keys, Miami, Houston, Tampa, and NYC.

Another nasty scenario would be an Isabel-type track with less pre-landfall filling.


There has never been a cat 5 in the open Atlantic north of the latitude of central Florida (although Camille made it to 30.5N as a cat 5 in the Gulf, it probably ran over a warm eddy near shore, and the Gulf is normally warmer at peak season anyway). It would take absolutely perfect conditions to maintain a cat 5 into the subtropical latitudes, and even then I can't see it happening above about the latitude of Cape Fear.


Yeah, it would likely have to be extremely warm Gulf Stream waters and a Hurricane Diana 1984 type scenario. A very small, rapidly strengthening storm that reaches 160 mph just as the eye comes ashore near Cape Fear, NC. It would likely be something like a once in 200 or 300 year event, if not more.
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Re: The next Cat 5 U.S. landfall

#7 Postby Shell Mound » Sun May 06, 2018 9:41 am

CrazyC83 wrote:
Shell Mound wrote:
TheStormExpert wrote:Irma could have likely been the next Cat.5 hurricane landfall in Florida has it not made landfall on the northern coast of Cuba.

A Cat-5 cyclone on any of the following trajectories could be quite devastating:

*Turks & Caicos - Straits of Florida - Miami - Jacksonville - Savannah
*Nassau - Miami / Miami Beach - Bonita Springs - New Orleans
*SW Haiti - Havana - Key West - Cape Canaveral - Charleston
*Turks & Caicos - Nassau - Freeport - Outer Banks - Atlantic City
*Kingston (Jamaica) - Cozumel - Cancún - Matamoros - Brownsville
*Puerto Rico - Hispaniola - Cuba - San Luis Pass (TX) - SW Houston
*Swan Islands - Yucatán Channel - Tarpon Springs - Orlando

The first scenario is what Irma might have done, had it simply avoided Cuba.

Probably the costliest scenarios involve the Keys, Miami, Houston, Tampa, and NYC.

Another nasty scenario would be an Isabel-type track with less pre-landfall filling.


There has never been a cat 5 in the open Atlantic north of the latitude of central Florida (although Camille made it to 30.5N as a cat 5 in the Gulf, it probably ran over a warm eddy near shore, and the Gulf is normally warmer at peak season anyway). It would take absolutely perfect conditions to maintain a cat 5 into the subtropical latitudes, and even then I can't see it happening above about the latitude of Cape Fear.

I just meant a Cat-5 cyclone on the general tracks that I listed, not whether it would still be a Cat 5 at each point. I think a Cat-5 cyclone is possible as far north as the Outer Banks. Reanalysis has suggested that the 1635 hurricane likely traversed 80°F SSTs as far north as southernmost New Jersey. This is based on the fact that the observed ~22-foot (6.7-m) storm tide between Narragansett Bay, RI, and Buzzards Bay, MA, indicated a high-end Cat 3 or low-end Cat 4 at landfall, according to SLOSH model simulations. The estimated central pressure at landfall was in the mid to upper 930s, deeper than the record of 941 mb in the 1938 New England hurricane. Such a strong landfall on southern New England would suggest a potential Cat-5 cyclone as far north as the latitude of the Outer Banks before weakening set in.
After passing by the Virginia coast this large category 4 hurricane continued to accelerate toward the northeast. Since the hurricane occurred in late August the sea surface temperatures were likely 80 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer up to about the latitude of southern New Jersey similar to hurricane Bob on the 19th of August, 1991. Bob’s central pressure did not begin to rise until it reached this latitude. A similar thing is done with this hurricane except that the hurricane is 930 mb when it starts to fill [off southern New Jersey].P. 7

So, in the western Atlantic at least, any location at or south of ~35°N is likely vulnerable to a Cat-5 landfall, when SSTs are seasonally warmest and other factors conducive. Note that the report does indicate that, per reanalysis, the 1635 hurricane likely maintained Cat-4 status as far north as the latitude of the entrance to Chesapeake Bay.
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Re: The next Cat 5 U.S. landfall

#8 Postby Exalt » Fri May 11, 2018 9:07 am

I think the closest we had recently was Harvey, if it had more time over water I think it might’ve considering it was still bombing out as it was making landfall.
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Re: The next Cat 5 U.S. landfall

#9 Postby Hurricane Mike » Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:45 am

I wonder sometimes, were certain storms already the "return period" hurricanes? In other words, was Andrew 1992 the return period for the 1935 storm? Was Katrina 2005 the return period for Camille 1969? Any thoughts?
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Re: The next Cat 5 U.S. landfall

#10 Postby terstorm1012 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:25 am

I'm not all that comfortable with picking a year for the next Cat-5 landfall because it then suggests return-periods are a clock, when they're not, they're an average.

that said, 35 years does seem to be a reasonable time between Cat-5 strikes.

Also, I agree that a category 5 north of the mouth of the Chesapeake would have to have some very exceptional conditions to occur, but strong 4s have happened this far north---the 1821 hurricane appears to have maintained Cat-4 strength all the way to the mouth of Delaware Bay, and possibly into what's now NYC, and there's some evidence a very intense hurricane, stronger than the 1821 storm, struck New Jersey between 1278 and 1435.

(https://pubs.geoscienceworld.org/gsa/ge ... t--paywall, full text is here http://www.geo.brown.edu/georesearch/es ... Jersey.pdf)
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Re: The next Cat 5 U.S. landfall

#11 Postby Patrick99 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:51 pm

Shell Mound wrote:Katrina might well have become another infamous homegrown major hurricane for South Florida, had it managed just several more hours over water pre-landfall.


I do sometimes wonder how much more time over the Gulf Stream Katrina would have needed in order to get to Cat 5 before landfall. I suspect it could have been just a matter of a few hours.
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Re: The next Cat 5 U.S. landfall

#12 Postby TheStormExpert » Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:55 pm

Patrick99 wrote:
Shell Mound wrote:Katrina might well have become another infamous homegrown major hurricane for South Florida, had it managed just several more hours over water pre-landfall.


I do sometimes wonder how much more time over the Gulf Stream Katrina would have needed in order to get to Cat 5 before landfall. I suspect it could have been just a matter of a few hours.

Katrina was already weakening though on approach due to continental dry air.
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Re: The next Cat 5 U.S. landfall

#13 Postby Bocadude85 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:41 pm

TheStormExpert wrote:
Patrick99 wrote:
Shell Mound wrote:Katrina might well have become another infamous homegrown major hurricane for South Florida, had it managed just several more hours over water pre-landfall.


I do sometimes wonder how much more time over the Gulf Stream Katrina would have needed in order to get to Cat 5 before landfall. I suspect it could have been just a matter of a few hours.

Katrina was already weakening though on approach due to continental dry air.


Katrina was rapidly deepening upon approach to South Florida, not weakening. I believe you are talking about her second landfall in Louisiana?
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Re: The next Cat 5 U.S. landfall

#14 Postby TheStormExpert » Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:55 pm

Bocadude85 wrote:
TheStormExpert wrote:
Patrick99 wrote:
I do sometimes wonder how much more time over the Gulf Stream Katrina would have needed in order to get to Cat 5 before landfall. I suspect it could have been just a matter of a few hours.

Katrina was already weakening though on approach due to continental dry air.


Katrina was rapidly deepening upon approach to South Florida, not weakening. I believe you are talking about her second landfall in Louisiana?

Oops, I thought we were talking about the Gulf Coast landfall. :oops:
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Re: The next Cat 5 U.S. landfall

#15 Postby Alyono » Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:15 pm

Katrina was not rapidly intensifying when it hit Florida. It was gradually intensifying. It likely would have reached cat 2 had it had 6-9 more hours over the water, but not cat 5
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Re: The next Cat 5 U.S. landfall

#16 Postby Hurricane Mike » Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:03 pm

If Rita formed 24 hours earlier, it would have been a rapidly intensifying Cat 4-5 just south of the Keys.
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Re: The next Cat 5 U.S. landfall

#17 Postby gatorcane » Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:20 pm

Bump.

Michael today almost achieved this and in the Florida panhandle of all places...
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Re: The next Cat 5 U.S. landfall

#18 Postby SconnieCane » Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:29 pm

gatorcane wrote:Bump.

Michael today almost achieved this and in the Florida panhandle of all places...


Could still be upgraded in post analysis...pressure was certainly there although as we saw with Opal that's not a guarantee.

I wonder if we will ever see an *operationally recognized* and accurately predicted days in advance Cat 5 US landfall. Like where all the globals and hurricane models are in lockstep agreement of a monster in 10 days and it happens, as opposed to weakening on approach like they *ahem* "always do" (guessing fewer people will be saying that from now on).
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Re: The next Cat 5 U.S. landfall

#19 Postby SootyTern » Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:00 am

Considering how close we came with Irma last year to a long-lasting well-predicted Cat 5 hitting the US mainland, I would have to say yes. We will see one sooner rather than later.
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Re: The next Cat 5 U.S. landfall

#20 Postby terstorm1012 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:32 am

gatorcane wrote:Bump.

Michael today almost achieved this and in the Florida panhandle of all places...


I suspect in post-analysis we'll find it did.
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