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Hurricane Ivan - Friday - September 10, 2004 - 9:00 PM




CURRENTLY: Let me say from the outset….there is little to no change to my thinking from the last few days. Will narrow landfall location further with this update.

Ivan weakened some the last 24 hours…however it is my opinion that Ivan has now started an intensification cycle and this is not good news for Jamaica. IR satellite pics are showing a more symmetric hurricane than just a few hours ago. Cloud tops have cooled significantly and the eye has contracted down to about 10-12 miles…the CDO is now getting better organized. Were it not for some interaction with Jamaica Ivan would be free to rapidly intensity. Ivan will be influenced by Jamaica for the next 24 hours so I don't expect him to get out of hand. Still, expect a 145-155 (strong Cat 4) hurricane to rake Jamaica with the eye skirting along the extreme south coast of the island and emerging off the western tip of the island during Saturday.

Latest recon in Ivan has pressure down to 926 mbs…over a 10 mb drop since this morning and maximum sustained winds are back up to 150 mph from 140 mph earlier today.

Ivan has been moving W.N.W. today (300 degrees) at about 15 mph for the last 24 hours and this motion with perhaps a more northward component (305-310) toward 24-36 hours will persist for the next 24-36 hours.

On this track the eye of Ivan will skirt the south coast of Jamaica tonight and into Saturday.

Expect damage to the southern part of Jamaica to be very severe from battering waves/winds/rainfall….rainfall will be a problem over all of the islands, especially the higher terrain. The north coast will be spared the worst of the wind and wave battering…..depending on the exact track the north coast will only see gusts to hurricane force…a slight jog to the north however, could put them under much stronger winds. It is going to be a very long and rough night for the residents of Jamaica.

INTENSITY: Jamaica will do little to knock down the intensity of Ivan. Ivan will be moving over increasingly warm water after passing Jamaica….Intensity changes will be the result of eye wall replacement cycles/concentric eye wall cycles and any interaction with land namely Jamaica and Cuba…thus expect Ivan to be a strong Cat 4 to low Cat 5 through the weekend.


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 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. The "cooler" water is nearer the west coast of Florida so a track closer in would tend to weaken Ivan more than if he stays more offshore aimed at the panhandle. In addition shear is forecast to increase beyond the 84 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)

Now, I'm a bit more concerned tonight than I was 24 hours ago as the increasing shear forecast is now somewhat in doubt. If Ivan tracks to near the left edge of my swath and shear is lower than expected we could be in more serious trouble intensity wise. Latest 00Z SHIPS guidance is near 130 mph at landfall.

Intensity forecasts even in the short term are dicey…never rmind beyond 60-72 hours. Will stick with my going forecast of 96-115 mph at time of landfall….however….I am somewhat concerned it could be higher. More on this tomorrow.

Track: Again, I have no significant change in my track thinking from the last several days. Ivan is now moving W.N.W. (300 degrees) at about 12 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 along the south coast of Jamaica.

From there expect a path that will take Ivan across extreme western Cuba emerging near 23N/83W Monday morning or early afternoon..…this is essentially over or just to the right (30 miles) of the Isle of Youth….before crossing Cuba. This timing is about 18 or so hours slower than previously advertised here.

It will cross Cuba at a brisk pace, and then turn more NW to NNW and then North at roughly 9-12 mph. At this point Ivan will have eyes for either the west coast of Florida or the Panhandle.

I will narrow landfall in this post to between Apalachicola Bay eastward to the Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota area…..with the highest threat in the middle of that swath. Expected timing for a landfall….late Tuesday afternoon or Tuesday night.

This track remains 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 a heck of a lot. The Navy NOGAPS and Canadian Global are the western most solutions with landfall west of Apalachicola Bay. GFS has eastern most solution with landfall near Naples then a track cutting across south Florida then exiting near Cape Canaveral. 12Z UKMET has landfall just north of Tampa with a track then into S.E. Ga. 12Z SREF is close to NOGAPS. My track is nearly on top of the 12Z GFDL and 12Z ECMWF. Very latest 00Z BAMM guidance is similar to the GFS.

Now, having said all that…Residents south of Tampa to the Keys and also from the AL/FL border east to Apalachicola Bay need to monitor the progress of these updates because the key to landfall is where the bend to the NNW, N and then NNE is key where the center makes landfall. A slower, wider turn favors the Panhandle and a faster, sharper turn will take the center in along the west coast of Florida. I just point this out since only a subtle change in track will bring the center inland outside of the swath I have outlined above.

To repeat…my forecast is for landfall between Apalachicola Bay and Tampa, St. Petersburg/Sarasota.

Remember, even though the worst weather will be near and to the right of landfall…Ivan has a wide area of Tropical Storm force winds (125-150 miles) and will affect a large area.

Will try to narrow specific impacts as we move through the weekend.

Next update…..9:30 tomorrow evening. If any significant changes are needed there will be an update about 3:00 in the afternoon.

Latest IR satellite pics just in show a strengthening hurricane! The re-orgainization over the last 6 hours has been VERY impressive. I hope the residents of Jamaica (especially along the south coast) are ready for this. The northern eye wall should be on the south coast of Jamaica in the next 3-4 hours.

A little long here tonight…sorry about that.


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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