“How Did Modest Katrina Morph Into Monster?” Based off the Houston Chronicle



“How Did Modest Katrina Morph Into Monster?” Based off the Houston Chronicle
“How Did Modest Katrina
Morph Into Monster?”
Based off the Houston Chronicle
article by Mark Carreau
• Examine how the author explains the
intensification of Hurricane Katrina as it
approached landfall.
• Explain the basic science behind the
intensification process in a hurricane still
over water.
• Explore the accuracy of hurricane
intensification forecast.
Thursday, August 25th
Max Sustained Winds: 75mph
Max Wind Gusts: 90mph
Category: 1
- Katrina spent approximately 7 hours over
land before moving into the Gulf of
Sunday, August 28th
Max Sustained Winds: 150 kts
Minimum Central Pressure: 902mb
Category: 5
- Katrina “morphed” in a mere three days,
quickly attaining the status of a major
Causes for intensification as
proposed by Mr. Carreau
• Lack of a Jet Stream to deflect and sheer
the hurricane.
• High water temperatures in the Gulf of
• Bermuda High contributing to low cloud
coverage and intense incoming solar
Casey’s Media Accuracy Meter
1. University Level:
2.Knows Their Stuff: ==
3. Guess and Check:
4. No Research at All:
5. FOX News:
Ocean Temperatures
• Provide Fuel for the Hurricane
• Higher water temperatures increase the rate of
rising air at the core of the storm, helping it
organize. Rising air in the core means a lower
central pressure, pulling in more air from the
surrounding areas and intensifying the storm.
• “Two to four degrees may not seem like a lot, but
to a hurricane, that is like the difference between
running on 89 and 92 octane fuel. That is a
significant amount of energy for a storm.”
Combined with…
So what’s all this talk about getting high?
• Bermuda High prevented any cloud cover from
hindering the warming in the Gulf of Mexico on
the days prior to the storms entrance.
• Also allowed the Gulf Coast waters to rise and
transfer their energy into the circulation of the
• Bermuda High has expanded this summer until it
covered much of the Gulf. Also the reason why
your yard is probably brown right about now.
So we knew this was going to
happen right?
….wwwwweeeelllll, not exactly.
Problems with intensification
• Too many variables: temperature, winds,
moisture, and energy.
• All systems are interdependent on each
• Forecast generally run 5-7 days in
advance, meaning change is certain.
From the article….
• “Experts know what it takes to fuel such
fury, but can’t predict such a storm in
• All data is taken from the NCDC website.
Graphs and charts come from the write up
summary of Katrina produced by NOAA.
• All other images (clip art, monkeys, etc)
are public domain.