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Hurricane Ivan - Thursday - September 9, 2004 - 8:00 PM



CURRENTLY: Let me say from the outset….there is little change from my thinking since Wednesday nights post. Will narrow potential landfall location with this update.

Ivan is a very intense, well developed hurricane. Satellite signature is text book perfect. Winds have come down slightly since earlier today, currently 150 mph down from 160 mph earlier today. Expect minor ups and downs in intensity for the next 60-72 hours….expect Ivan to range between 145 - 160 mph through Sunday.

Ivan has been moving W.N.W. today (295-300 degrees) at about 15 mph.

Expect this motion to continue for the next 24 hours.

On this track Ivan will pass over or just south of Jamaica during Friday.

Jamaica will likely sustain a direct hit from a strong Cat 4 or Low Cat 5 tomorrow. Best we can hope for is that Ivan passes to the south by 50 or so miles…in that case the core of strongest winds will remain just offshore. That is a possibility, but equally possible is a direct hit and that's the way I am leaning. Residents of Jamaica should batten down and prepare for a very rough ride. Depending on the EXACT track damage could be catastrophic with all but the most sturdy buildings remaining untouched.

INTENSITY: Jamaica will do little to knock down the intensity of Ivan. Ivan will be moving over increasingly warm water for next 60-72 hours and shear is forecast to be low. Expect Ivan to fluctuate between 145 - 160 mph through Sunday.

Intensity changes will be the result of eye wall replacement cycles/concentric eye wall cycles and any interaction with land….Jamaica and Cuba.


I know there is a lot of anxiety about how Ivan will impact the United States. I can say with 100% confidence that Ivan will not affect the United States anywhere near the intensity it is now. Anyone spreading that kind of hype is very irresponsible…and I've seen some of it.

As for intensity at landfall….if Ivan follows my outlined path he will be passing over some "cooler" waters recently churned up over the eastern gulf by Charley and Frances, this "cooler" water shows up well on the latest SST analysis. In addition shear is forecast to increase toward the 84-108 hr period…so it is my expectation that Ivan will affect the United States as a strong Cat 2 or Low Cat 3….(96-115 mph)

Having said that…96-115 mph is no picnic, but a heck of a lot better than 140 mph +.

I think the latest intensity forecast from TPC at 5 P.M. looks very reasonable.

The one way this intensity forecast could go wrong, is if Ivan makes a wider turn into the central Gulf then heads north toward the central gulf coast…if that were to happen (I'm not forecasting it to) then we could be faced with a stronger hurricane 130 mph+. Once again, this is not my forecast.

Track: Ivan is now moving W.N.W. (295-300 degrees) at 15 mph…this motion is expected for the next 36-48 hours with a gradually increasing northward component through the period.

This will take Ivan on a path over or just south (no more than 50 miles south) of Jamaica during Friday afternoon. If this thinking is correct Jamaica will sustain a direct or very near a direct hit by a very intense hurricane.

From there expect a path that will take Ivan across extreme western Cuba emerging near 23N/83W Sunday afternoon…this is essentially over or just to the right (30 miles) of the Isle of Youth….before crossing Cuba.

It will cross Cuba at a brisk pace, and the terrain is not that rough…so expect little disruption in the overall circulation. Expect "cooler" waters off the west coast of Florida and some shear to knock back the intensity as Ivan slows after emerging Cuba and turns more NW or NNW.

Once emerging from Cuba Ivan will continue NW to NNW taking aim on the Gulf Coast…will narrow landfall in this post to between the AL/FL border eastward to just south of Tampa…..with the highest threat in the middle of that swath. Expected timing for a landfall….later Tuesday afternoon or Tuesday night.

This track is only a very short distance (30-40 miles) to the left of the official TPC track…and essentially the same as my forecast from 24 hours ago.

There remains some model spread today, but not near the spread of yesterday. The leftward outliers from yesterday have shifted slightly to the right and the far eastern (rightward) outliers have shifted significantly left. My forecast is essentially on top of the 12Z UKMET.

Residents from the MS/AL border all the way through the Keys should monitor the future progress of Ivan for any possible change in track.

The statement in red below applies.


Please refer to official statements from TPC and local weather services offices for official information. Please obey all evacuation orders as issued by local emergency service offices.

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