Ike is about to leave Cuba, and when it hits the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Hurricane hunters should be flying through it again. It should start to pick a general path that can be estimated a bit better and folks along the Texas coast may have a better idea of what they should be doing this weekend.
In case you are wondering how they come up with these forecasts, it’s based in large part on the computer models and the NHC’s own skill. They publish their discussions which make for an interesting read:
THERE IS CONSIDERABLE UNCERTAINTY NEAR THE END OF THE FORECAST PERIOD...WITH THE ECMWF AND UKMET MODELS SHOWING A SHORT-WAVE TROUGH COMING OUT OF THE ROCKIES THAT INDUCES A RIGHT TURN ON DAY 4. THE GFS AND NOGAPS HAVE A DIFFERENT PATTERN...WITH MORE RIDGING EXTENDING WESTWARD TO THE NORTH OF IKE THAT KEEPS THE HURRICANE MOVING BASICALLY WESTWARD. THE ECMWF HAS DONE VERY WELL WITH IKE THUS FAR...AND HAS RELATIVELY HIGH SKILL IN FORECASTING THE LARGE SCALE PATTERNS AT THE LONGER RANGES. OUT OF RESPECT FOR THIS MODEL THE OFFICIAL FORECAST IS SHIFTED SLIGHTLY SLOWER AND TO THE RIGHT OF THE PREVIOUS FORECAST...AND IS PRETTY CLOSE TO THE DYNAMICAL MODEL CONSENSUS.