Prayer Request: Hurricanes Hanna, Ike, & Josephine

Prayer September 3, 2008


Now that Gustav has gone ashore we are faced with a veritable parade of hurricanes with Hanna developing over the Turks and Caicos Islands and threatening the Bahamas, Ike developing in the Atlantic and heading into the Turks and Caicos Islands, Dominican Republic and the Bahamas, and Josephine expected to form in the next day or two with others coming off the African cost that are also expected to develop. While the activity is currently focused in the northern part of the Caribbean none of us can afford to be complacent. In recent years as prayer has been mobilised we have seen air currents change and steer very dangerous hurricanes away from our islands. Please begin to pray that God would intervene in these next couple of weeks and protect our small island states from death and destruction.

Yesterday afternoon’s blog by Jeff Masters is below. You can follow develops and Jeff’s blogs at www.wunderground.com/tropical/.

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Hurricane Hanna
Looking at the satellite loops and wind shear images of Hanna, you'd never suspect that this storm was a hurricane. Hanna is under very high wind shear of 25 knots, thanks to strong northerly upper-level winds that are part of the outflow from Hurricane Gustav. These strong winds have distorted Hanna into an amorphous shifting blob of heavy thunderstorms with little resemblance to a hurricane. Nevertheless, it is a hurricane--the Hurricane Hunters found a central pressure of 983 mb at 3:16 pm EDT this afternoon, with surface winds of 75 mph. However, the shear is so strong that Hanna has not been able to form an eyewall. Recent eye reports from the Hurricane Hunters suggest this process is underway, though.

The track forecast for Hanna
The current steering flow driving Hanna to the west-southwest is very weak, and we can expect erratic motion or a loop over the next two days, in the vicinity of the Bahama Islands. Hanna may move far enough south to hit Cuba, which would seriously weaken the storm. However, only the UKMET model forecasts this, and I'm not counting on Cuba helping the U.S. out again. By Wednesday, a rather strong high pressure ridge will build over Hanna, forcing it to a landfall in the Southeast U.S. Due to the storm's expected rather random motion over the next two days, the location of final landfall has a much higher uncertainty than usual. It is cases like this that really expand the size of NHC's cone of uncertainty, when they go to recalculate the size the cone after hurricane season. So, take your pick of landfall locations:

UKMET, South Florida, Thursday night
GFS, GA/SC border, Friday afternoon
NOGAPS, FL/GA border, Friday morning
GFDL, GA/SC border, Friday morning, Category 3
HWRF, GA, Friday morning, Category 2
ECMWF, GA/SC Friday

These landfall locations have been shifting around quite a bit over the past few days, with North Carolina the favored target yesterday. There have yet to be any model runs showing Hanna recurving out to sea without hitting the U.S. It is likely that Hanna will recurve after landfall, dumping copius amounts of rain on the mid-Atlantic states and New England.

The intensity forecast for Hanna
OK, here are my words from yesterday: "Hanna will not be able to intensify significantly over the next two days, due to upper low it is situated under, and the outflow from Hurricane Gustav." Well, the upper low dissipated, which apparently was enough to allow Hanna to intensify, despite 25 knots of wind shear. It's very unusual to see a tropical storm intensify into a hurricane while under that much wind shear. The shear is expected to remain 20-30 knots over the next 1-2 days, then decrease to 10 knots by Friday as Gustav weakens and pulls away, reducing the amount of its upper-level outflow that is currently shearing Hanna so much. All the major intensity models respond by intensifying Hanna into a Category 2 or stronger hurricane. This is a low confidence intensity forecast--as is typical for intensity forecasts. I wouldn't be surprised if Hanna drops back down to tropical storm strength Tuesday or Wednesday, due to the shear. As is the case with the track forecast, we don't have a very good idea how strong Hanna might be on Thursday and Friday.

Here come Ike and Josphine!
OK, this is really getting nuts. We've got two more very impressive storms that came off the coast of Africa that look like they will become hurricanes. Ike has a good chance of becoming a large and dangerous major Cape Verdes-type hurricane, although our skill in predicting such things five days in advance is nil. The GFDL model makes Ike a Category 2 hurricane by Thursday, while the HWRF forecasts a Cat 4. NHC conservatively forecasts a Cat 1.
Visible satellite loops show a large and very intimidating circulation, with plenty of heavy thunderstorm activity and decent upper-level outflow beginning. Ike is expected to pass well north of the Lesser Antilles Islands on Friday or Saturday, but will get forced west-southwest towards Hispaniola or the Bahamas late this week. I do not expect Ike to recurve out to sea. Ike's sister, Josephine (AKA 99L), looks like it will form just off the coast of Africa on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in the tropics
There are two other areas of disturbed weather in the Atlantic that currently don't appear to be threats to develop, due to high wind shear. NHC is giving these systems a low ( < 20% chance) of developing into a tropical depressions over the next two days. Consult the NHC Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook for more details.


There is one other impressive African tropical wave lined up behind 99L that is likely to be a threat to develop once it moves offshore Africa late this week. It's time for a vacation in the ice-free Arctic this September! Yes, the Arctic now has it's second lowest ice extent on record, and may surpass the record set just last year. The Northwest Passage has opened up for the second time in recorded history, 2007 being the other time. I'll blog about this in more detail once the unbelievable onslaught of hurricanes eases up.



Bishop Gerald A. Seale, DD,
General Secretary and CEO,
Evangelical Association of the Caribbean,
41 Excel Road, Elizabeth Park, Christ Church BB15092, Barbados,
Tel: 1-246-427-9746
Alternate Email: [email protected]
Web Site: www.caribbeanevangelical.org

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