Uh Oh...

Here's Tropical Depression 24, now Wilma:

Update [2005-10-19 2:52:50 by Stuart Staniford]: Alas, Wilma is now category four with 150 mph winds and is sideswiping Honduras and Nicaragua with significant loss of life. NHC thinks she could go to category 5 later today. She's doing 8mph straight at the Yucatan, but the models continue to demand she should turn sharp right before getting there. If she proves to be an independent minded lady and continues straight across the Yucatan and goes back to cat 4-5 in the southern GoM, she'd devastate Mexican offshore production.

Update [2005-10-18 20:24:17 by Stuart Staniford]:Wilma has reached category two with 100mph winds and is doing about 8mph. In the satellite loop, she just took a little lurch towards the Yucatan.

Update [2005-10-18 17:5:16 by Stuart Staniford]:Wilma is a category one hurricane. An hour ago, the models were unanimous that she would take a sharp right past Cuba and go over Florida. But one has just broken ranks and predicted she'll go straight on up the Gulf. A meta-observation I have had from the last few years of hurricane and hurricane-forecast watching is that once hurricanes get charging, they don't seem to like to change course in the way forecasters demand of them - they often seem to change course later and less.

Update [2005-10-18 4:47:38 by Stuart Staniford]:. She's now up to 65mph wind speed, and expected to become a hurricane later today. Right now the models are in agreement that she's headed for the Yucatan/Cuba gap, but then most of them have her bend right over Florida and out into the Atlantic. However, they've been so unstable in their predictions that we probably shouldn't pay much attention.

Update [2005-10-17 13:8:1 by Stuart Staniford]: Watching the satellite loop, she basically headed south overnight, and then has done a sharp U-turn (eastward!) and is now headed north. Who knows!

Update [2005-10-17 12:31:34 by Stuart Staniford]: She is now officially Wilma, having strengthened to a tropical stom overnight. The models are all over the place. I don't think they have any clue where she's going to go yet.

Update [2005-10-15 23:11:26 by Stuart Staniford]: In advisory #2 "some strengthening is forecast", as the depression continues "gradually organizing".

Picture credit NOAA, as noted by billyt

As Fred Flintstone would say: "WILMA!!!".
Sure intensified quickly today....

230 AM EDT WED OCT 19 2005


A classic case of damned if it turns, damned if it doesn't...


Yikes! i noticed on the 5 day projection that it takes a sharp turn to the right.


i am not aware or even sure of any projected high pressure pushing it out to the right. but if a high pressure does not get there in time to move it, then i imagine it will continue on a more WNW path to central GOMEX. I don't think the waters of the gulf are as warm now as they were 2 weeks ago. so that should help keep it from blossoming to something substantial. nonetheless, it has potential to disrupt oil and gas production AGAIN. note if it turns hard right as projected, then it goes to FLA where there is not much oil and gas.

Have to wait a days to see if it turns north - from what Im hearing it will be a strong hurricane, but odds are currently staying in Caribean, Yucatan,etc. Here is link with maps
it takes a sharp turn to the right

Don't you hate it when that happens?

The public advisories from the NHC are not very helpful.  Read the discussions.  Here is Discussion #2.  It is way too early to be too specific, but this will probably become a hurricane, and there is a reasonable chance that it could go into a rapid deepening phase and become a major hurricane.  IMHO, we'll see a Category 4 making its way into the Gulf of Mexico.  It could affect the Northeast Gulf Coast, which would be a bit of bad news for oil if the easternmost concentrations of rigs are affected.  However, odds are that it will hit the western or southern Florida coast.  In fact, one scenario is that Wilma could devastate the Keys but spare the Florida mainland.

While the Gulf of Mexico isn't as conducive for strengthening as it was prior to Katrina and Rita, a strong hurricane can still be supported.  The development stage will occur in the Caribbean, which has been undisturbed for several months.  AFAIK, TD 24/Wilma will go nowhere fast in the next several days.  

If your interested in real time Sat. images go to
WWW.ssec.wisc.edu. This is where all the Sat images are received and agencies like NOAA, N.A.S.A, CNN, etc. get their Sat. images from. Ssec does not do forcasting they only post the most recent Sat. images.
holyshit, are you located in Madison?  I just recently moved from there to brooklyn.  I miss it a lot.
Before I go ahead and say this I should say that I feel horrible about the loss of life from Katrina and Rita and also am slightly pleased with the "artificial" shock they imposed. But that's not the main point. I wanted to point out that in many ways we are all very concerned with how hurricanes interact with the gulf area, so if a hurricane is in that general area i feel that there is the potential to overemphasize its chances of going north. Now two big storms did go through the oil producingparts of the gulf this season, but I think we should recognize how our various "lenses" may be colouring things.
At this point, it doesn't even have to get close to the U.S.  If a hurricane forms in the gulf, everything gets evacuated and shut down for two weeks just from the threat alone.
While the storm has not taken that sharp turn to right as was projected 5 days out, it is running straight towards the gulf. The water temp has hardly changed since a month ago. see the link! Soooo, once it gets inside the gulf, well you know the rest..........


The forecast path is a curve to the right following the Yucatan shoreline and off to Miami as a Cat3.
As i mentioned yesterday morn, Wilma is still on track to be a Cat3 as she passes north of Miami on Sunday.  Became the 12th Hurricane of the season a few moments ago.  This is only the second year we've had a dozen named Hurricanes.  The fear of her entering the energy fields in the gulf are unfounded hysteria.
Re-emphasizing the accuracy of the models, Wilma is still projected towards the Miami region, but as a Cat2...as shown on Monday.
I'm not about to engage in a week of second guessing what this storm will do.

Wait till Friday, we'll know more.  

Wise words, Ben.

With all the suprises in storms and energy issues we've seen this year, a wait-and-see attitude (even if with crossed fingers) is probably best.

I won't ignore it, but after living through the hysteria before, during, and after Rita (we are an evacuation destination, and a few days before the storm they predicted the eye would pass thirty miles west of our town, in the end it didn't even rain here), I've decided to wait until there is much more data to get worked up.  

I can spend lots of time and energy speculating, naturally, and it's very tempting for me to play "what if" games, so I'm choosing to sit on my typing fingers for a bit and see what plays out.

Wilma could brush the Yucatan, but then it will make a huge right turn.  I don't think it will miss Florida to the south, but who knows?  When we speak of differences of opinion about the various factors in play here, we are talking about the difference between Tampa Bay, Ft. Myers, or Miami.  Tallahassee is the furthest north and west I could foresee Wilma going.  This is not a north central or northwest Gulf hurricane.  Why is this so?  There will be a HUGE trough making its way into the south.  Just look at the cold overnight lows that are forecasted for many locations!  The subtropical ridge will be completely eroded by the shortwave.  

About intensity: right now it is hard to say that this will develop into more than a strong Category 2 hurricane, but a Category 4 or even a 5 is very possible.  For the most part, conditions seem favorable for a major hurricane.  Forward speed is very important, because Wilma will quickly encounter tougher conditions in the Gulf of Mexico.  If it moves rapidly toward Florida, it won't have very much time to weaken.  With a slower speed, it will be very hard to maintain major hurricane status.  Rita had nearly ideal conditions for most of the way, but it was slow moving, and we saw how it couldn't maintain its peak intensity for very long.

Bear in mind that hurricane Stan, which did not get much attention here, caused huge damage in Mexico, Guatamala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and other places down in Central America. Most of the model runs go right over the Yucatan.
on the plus side "peak oil" has made it into usa today


nothing new but nice to see simmons in the msm

The prospect of another serious hurricane puts some of us in the mood to discuss the End Times as reported in today's NY Times. After all, we've had the tsunami, Katrina, Rita, the earthquake in Pakistan -- there's apparently no end to signs and portents.
But after last week's devastating earthquake in Pakistan, coming as it did after a succession of recent disasters, the apocalyptic speculation, bubbled up again with impressive fervor on many Christian blogs, in some pews and among some evangelical Christian leaders.

Combined with fears of a global pandemic of avian flu, the calamitous flooding that followed Hurricane Katrina and last year's tsunami in Asia, the predictions of the end of the world are to be expected, religious historians said. After all, Christians have been predicting the end of history since the beginning of theirs.

"The doomsday scenarios are fairly cyclical," said Randall Balmer, a professor of American religious history at Barnard College. "The theology they are based on is a very linear view of history. They believe we are now ramping up to the end of time."
I'm getting hysterical about the coming Bird Flu Pandemic, aren't you? You don't want to miss the boat on this one. You could be next!

But what of this "linear view of history"? I see no linearity in recent events and all this misses the point if you're looking for Signs of the Apocalypse. Consider this: Last year, the Boston Red Sox overcame the Curse of the Bambino and won the World Series for the first time since 1918. And now, the Chicago White Sox, who have not won since 1917, who last won the pennent in 1959 and who "threw" the 1919 series -- are they not cursed? -- are threatening to win it all this year. Surely, this portends The End. If the White Sox win the World Series this year and the Cubs win it all next year, I will be forced to conclude that God is cleaning up some Unfinished Business before putting an End to Our Suffering.

I conclude then that the signs are definitely there, but I myself, with regard to Wilma and the End of Time, will take a "wait and see" attitude.
There's an interesting listing of end of the world predictions at ReligiousTolerance.org. The initial reaction is of course to note how many times it has been predicted, and how many predictions have been wrong (all of the ones tested to date!).

Stepping back a bit, however, a trend emerges to me (I haven't made the graph yet): the frequency of such predictions is increasing rapidly. It may be that the frequency of such predictions serves as a kind of approximate global human anxiety-meter. Most folks don't process the global situation rationally/scientifically (in the way we encourage Oil Drum readers to do), and yet at some level they are increasingly worried, and express it in their own ways.

<Warning type="amateur psychologizing">It's particularly interesting to me that apocalyptic thinking is so prevalent on the right wing. On the one hand, at least in the US, the Republicans have been the party of "It's morning in America", we-have-nothing-to-fear, the-market-will-provide, take-down-those-solar-panels and quit-that-alternative-energy-research. A Jungian would suggest that such a level of denial of a problem at the conscious level would lead to lots of dreams and fantasies breaking out as the repressed problem tries to surface into consciousness. And indeed we see the Left Behind series, etc.</warning>

Stuart, I'm sure you find it ironic, as I do, that we in the Peak Oil community are viewed by many in the mainstream as a doomsday cult....

I like your insight about "morning in America, market will provide" Republicans since many of them are the ones who don't want to be "Left Behind".... Perhaps they're a bit uneasy and unsure about what this phrase actually means?

I believe my baseball theory is at least as good -- if not better -- than many expressed on the Christian weblogs, though I haven't searched around in that space. If the White Sox win this year and the Cubs next year -- look out!

I hope that people will see what I meant without the <satire> </satire> tags. But I've learned generally and sometimes here at TOD to never take anything for granted. How was I to know that Coal, as HO writes, is the liquid fuel of the future? ;)
Here is what various models predict about the path of Wilma. Most models still take it over the Yucatan into the Gulf.
I guess it's shifting. When I followed your link 2 1/2 hours after you posted it, almost all the models have it bending over the west end of Cuba and then crossing Florida West to East and heading out into the Atlantic. I guess Mother Nature just can't make up her mind....
Yes indeed the models did change.

But it is still early in the formation stage. a lot really depends upon how warm the central gulf waters are, and if Rita took enough energy out of the Central Gulf to divert the storm track Eastwards as depicted in the new models


In the colostate models, XTRP is not a model, but rather the extrapolation of the current course. I think models are updated twice daily

Actually, the models seem to indicate that south Florida is probably screwed.