- Education and Science
Hurricane Igor Set To Strike The USA As A Superstorm
The way it looks right now, Hurricane Igor is a major threat to the United States and the entire Caribbean. Yes, I know that Gaston blew itself out, but it seems that Igor is going to be the storm that Gaston should have been.
Why will Igor succeed where Gaston failed? Igor is one of the strangest hurricanes ever recorded. Yes, ever in history. The way Igor is starting out is an exceptionally bad omen for the residents of the Caribbean, the US Gulf Coast and the Eastern Seaboard.
It is exceptionally rare to see a tropical storm organize itself so far east. After all, when the tropical waves come off the Sahara and over the Cape Verde Islands, they are generally loose bands which don't organize themselves with sufficient rotation until they are approaching the Antilles. Igor is different. It is extraordinarily well organized: as of the time of writing the NOAA is stating that it will not only shortly become a hurricane but that the projected west to north west path that it is taking will lead the hurricane over exceptionally warm waters with very low wind shear.
Wind shear is what tears apart hurricanes as they are forming. With little wind shear, there is no force to stop the circular motion of the hurricane from intensifying. Combine this with the completely anomalous bathtub hot water which is currently in the central Atlantic and all the way through to the Gulf of Mexico and right up the coast to Cape Cod, and we have the makings for a major barnburner here.
As of the time of writing, the National Hurricane Center in Miami was stating that the presence of a low pressure system to Igor's north was actually impeding its development. Remarkable when we note that most storms don't even begin to organize themselves into noticeable hurricane patterns until they are at least 500 further west. However, this low's effect would be out of the path by the next day and allows Igor to take a beeline to the west. This will take it over waters so irrationally warm that can only described as ready to make tea.
All of the elements seem to combine for a superstorm by the time that Igor makes it across the Atlantic and begins to threaten the Antilles. Right now, the best guess paths show it approaching Dominica as it starts to veer northwestward. At that point it seems like there would be a 50/50 chance that it would hit Hispaniola (yeah, a major hurricane... that's all Haiti needs right now to stick a fork in it), or take an even more northerly heading which might see it come ashore somewhere a bit north of Miami.
Again, Gaston did not live up to the billing, but all of the elements which should have made it a superstorm and failed are present with Igor... we won't get quite so lucky this time around.
If you're anywhere in the southeastern United States or Caribbean, heed the warning I'm issuing at approximately 1 am Eastern Time on Sept. 9: Be prepared, starting right now!
Sept. 3, 1 am Eastern. Current Best Estimate: Landfall could be in North Carolina but there is still a possibility of a straight westerly track into Florida.