Chris maintains strength (or weakens ?)
August 2, 2006
From the first pass of the reconnaisance plane through the center, it was apparent that my suggestion that Chris would be a hurricane at 5 PM will/would not come to fruition…the plane reported an increase in pressure, up 4 millibars from what was last observed this morning. While the NHC kept their estimate of maximum sustained winds at 65 mph, it appears that recon may not find flight level winds to support that, at least initially. It is worth mentioning that the most recent SHIPS (intensity model) guidance is even more modest than previously as it only strenthens the storm by 6 knots over the next five days.
The track guidance offered by the global models remains scattered, although it looks like the consensus remains that Chris will pass through the Straits of Florida. The upper-air “surveillance” flight which samples the enviroment around the hurricane, to assist the models will fly this afternoon and hopefully the data provided to the models will yield a tighter consensus. The forecasts from those models won’t be out until midnight, my next post will be up sometime thereafter.
If I were in the lower Keys right now, I would be thinking about where I would be staying this weekend, as it sure wouldn’t be there. Due to the spread in the models, south Florida should also be keeping watch on the National Hurricane Center page for the latest on the storm.