Hurricane Isabel is a harsh mistress

Now that Isabel has become the first category 5 hurricane in five years, we're starting to make plans in case it comes ashore around St. Augustine (which is within the realm of possibility).

A meteorologist on a mailing list I read posted this heads-up warning:

Right now it looks possible that Hurricane Isabel will strike the East Coast of the US in about a week. Anywhere north of FL is possible but right now NC is most likely although being such a strong storm, it can have significant effects all the way up the coast.

This is a good opportunity to mention the best storm-tracking Web site I've found in six years as a coastal Floridian: the hurricane news site of the Palm Beach Post. They keep changing the name and URL -- it's been Lowe's Storm 199x, Lowe's Storm 200x, GoPBI Storm Warning Central, and now Storm 2003 -- but it's worth finding again each year.


Thank you, Rogers! I'm in North Carolina and I can tell you that we don't want Isabel paying us a visit, no sir, you guys in Florida can have her. Thanks for the hurricane tracking URL, just what I was looking for.

Jennifer Martinez sends

Glad to help. Good luck in the Carolinas. The way these East Coast hurricanes seem to move, you get more of them than anyone.

I need to do a plug here for my organization. I work for the Navy's weather facility here in Jacksonville, and we have very detailed information on storms available all the time, including the ones you don't hear about on the news. This somewhat cheesy-looking page is the main Tropical information page produced by our folks in Norfolk. Along with my operations department, we're in the process of building a new locally-produced page on our site here in Jacksonville. We recently installed a new METOC data system that allows us to ingest tons of data from one bird, so as soon as I can get some networking stuff done and get the coding started, you'll see a nice information page right here in J'ville.

As for Isabel, the current discussion text on the storm from NHC is encouraging. She appears to be weakening to some degree, and there are atmospheric conditions that may weaken her further and might even carry her out to sea. The entire track prediction is based on models, and they're often educated computer-generated guesses based on history. They tend to be pretty accurate, so you can't discount them. But, these storms can be unpredictable, so everyone on the east coast needs to be vigilant. Especially north of Georgia.

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