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Major Hurricane Michael

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Here’s what I witnessed, and recorded, from the westernmost portion of Mexico Beach on that fateful day of October 10, 2018!  

 

 

Footage was shot mostly in 4K...except what you see when I’m filming with a 1080 HD camera, shooting over the balcony railing.  At some point, I will ultimately put together my own edited version along with the immediate aftermath I captured during the three days I stayed in Mexico Beach.  Made lifelong friends, there, and my thoughts and prayers are still with them as they try to recover from this devastating event.   

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4 hours ago, Windspeed said:

Josh Morgerman released his report on Michael.

His reports are great, but I most look forward to the chase accounts since those tend to have more blow-by-blow qualitative observations vs. the numbers and technical analysis in the reports. There are a LOT of storms on his site missing accounts, but for those few more intense landfalls that do have them (Ike, Dean and Wilma for example), his excellent writing makes for a gripping read. It's almost like being in the storm.

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On 1/24/2019 at 7:41 PM, ncforecaster89 said:

Here’s what I witnessed, and recorded, from the westernmost portion of Mexico Beach on that fateful day of October 10, 2018!  

Footage was shot mostly in 4K...except what you see when I’m filming with a 1080 HD camera, shooting over the balcony railing.  At some point, I will ultimately put together my own edited version along with the immediate aftermath I captured during the three days I stayed in Mexico Beach.  Made lifelong friends, there, and my thoughts and prayers are still with them as they try to recover from this devastating event.   

Cool video, Tony! Some really intense moments in there.

5 hours ago, Windspeed said:

Josh Morgerman released his report on Michael.

Hey, thanks! Hope you found it interesting!

41 minutes ago, CheeselandSkies said:

His reports are great, but I most look forward to the chase accounts since those tend to have more blow-by-blow qualitative observations vs. the numbers and technical analysis in the reports. There are a LOT of storms on his site missing accounts, but for those few more intense landfalls that do have them (Ike, Dean and Wilma for example), his excellent writing makes for a gripping read. It's almost like being in the storm.

Thanks so much-- I really appreciate that! And, yeah, I really, really need to get caught up with my chase accounts! It bums me out how behind I am! Grrrr. I at least need to do the really major ones. Anyhoo, thanks for reading 'em. :)

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Hey, thanks! Hope you found it interesting!


I certainly did. The report was fascinating and professional. Have you been contacted by Eric Blake or anyone else at the NHC about that insane pressure gradient your devices recorded? Obviously looking forward to their analysis report as well.
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33 minutes ago, Windspeed said:

I certainly did. The report was fascinating and professional. Have you been contacted by Eric Blake or anyone else at the NHC about that insane pressure gradient your devices recorded? Obviously looking forward to their analysis report as well.

 

Thank you! Yeah, the NHC has my report! I always send my reports to them so they can factor my data into their postanalyses.

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2 hours ago, HurricaneJosh said:

Cool video, Tony! Some really intense moments in there.   

Thanks, Josh! The immense power of the winds was truly astonishing. 

Like during our Wilma chase, there was a time where I was pretty concerned about just how high the surge was going to get.  

That aside, I, too, enjoyed reading your chase report on "Michael."  It is a very thorough, and exceptionally well written, account of your experience.  Thanks for sharing!!

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3 hours ago, NavarreDon said:

Hi Don.  Thanks for the link! :)

It's not atypical that TCRs for such noteworthy hurricanes to be delayed until March (or until April, in this case, due to the shutdown).  The TCR for hurricane Irma, from 9/10/17, wasn't released until March 3, 2018.  Moreover, the spokesperson, quoted in the article, essentially just stated the obvious regarding all the standard information contained in a TCR.

I'm sure any conversation and/or debate on the possibility of upgrading the operational classification, will be kept in-house until the official report is released.  

Although I'd respectfully argue that there is far more evidence to support a 140 kt MSW landfall estimate, I'll be pleasantly surprised if the NHC doesn't retain the current operational 135 kt estimate; the main reason being that they are very reluctant to go against their operational intensity estimates.

Also, the most recent TCRs for major intensifying hurricanes, (such as Irma, Maria, and Harvey from 2017 near their peak strengths 1), were derived solely by using a blend of the peak SFMR measurement and a 10% reduction of the highest flight-level (700 mb) wind (FLW) to surface estimate.  If they continue to find the 138 kt SFMR reading to be contaminated, the next highest value would be a 133 kt measurement...which they round to the nearest 5 kt; equating to 135 kt. 

The peak FLW of 152 kt reduces to 137 kt at the surface...which they would round down to 135 knots.  

Consequently, it's unlikely they adjust the current operational intensity estimate unless they determine the aforementioned 138 kt SFMR was indeed reliable, after all, and/or they take into consideration the great likelihood that the peak FLWs (which is just 1 kt short of being rounded up to 140 kt) was undersampled.  Since "Michael" was still increasing in strength when both of these data were taken, a little reasonable, albeit subjective, judgement is all that's required to facilitate the upgrade to a Cat 5.  

Proponents of an upgrade, such as myself, will likely need for the NHC to also consider the satellite intensity estimates and Doppler radar velocity data...which each support a 140 kt landfall intensity.  Unfortunately, these data haven't been a factor in their most recent reports of significant landfalling hurricanes.   

https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tcr/index.php?season=2017&basin=atl

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Tony, I agree that it's borderline, and I agree that they're more likely to keep it at 135 knots. I've noticed that the SFMR data are often problematic-- for example, with IRMA they actually lowered the peak intensity slightly in postanalysis, I believe because the SFMR values seemed inflated.

My subjective take, comparing how it "felt" on the ground next to the other high-end Cat 4/5 cores I've penetrated: MICHAEL felt like a very solid Cat 4. If I didn't know anything about the NHC's operational estimates and had only 1) the data I collected in the eye and inner eyewall, 2) my on-the-ground experience going through the cyclone, and 3) my tour of the impact zone (Panama City to Mexico Beach) afterward, I would've guessed it was absolutely no lower than 125 knots and probably no higher than 135 knots. Wind damage to buildings was off the charts, but I think part of it had to do with the quality of construction in the region. This having been said, if they bump it to 140 knots, I won't be shocked or even disagree with it, although I'll consider it maybe a touch generous.

I want to emphasize that I'm not downplaying MICHAEL. It was definitely in my Top 5 in terms of "holy sh*t" factor-- and that's including the really crazy, industrial-grade cyclones I've witnessed in the Philippines and Mexico-- and calling it the 4th strongest out of the hundreds of hurricanes that have hit the USA since 1851 is giving it pretty profound respect.

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On 2/21/2019 at 10:33 AM, HurricaneJosh said:

Tony, I agree that it's borderline, and I agree that they're more likely to keep it at 135 knots. I've noticed that the SFMR data are often problematic-- for example, with IRMA they actually lowered the peak intensity slightly in postanalysis, I believe because the SFMR values seemed inflated.

My subjective take, comparing how it "felt" on the ground next to the other high-end Cat 4/5 cores I've penetrated: MICHAEL felt like a very solid Cat 4. If I didn't now anything about the NHC's operational estimates and had only 1) the data I collected in the eye and inner eyewall, 2) my on-the-ground experience going through the cyclone, and 3) my tour of the impact zone (Panama City to Mexico Beach) afterward, I would've guessed it was absolutely no lower than 125 knots and probably no higher than 135 knots. Wind damage to buildings was off the charts, but I think part of it had to do with the quality of construction in the region. This having been said, if they bump it to 140 knots, I won't be shocked or even disagree with it, although I'll consider it maybe a touch generous.

I want to emphasize that I'm not downplaying MICHAEL. It was definitely in my Top 5 in terms of "holy sh*t" factor-- and that's including the really crazy, industrial-grade cyclones I've witnessed in the Philippines and Mexico-- and calling it the 4th strongest out of the hundreds of hurricanes that have hit the USA since 1851 is giving it pretty profound respect.

 

Hi Josh,

Always good to hear from you, and hope you’re doing well!  The downward adjustment made to the peak intensity of hurricane Irma was to be expected given the manner by which the NHC has been recently determining their MSW estimates, in the TCRs.  In that specific case, the highest flight-level wind (FLW) measured at 700 mb was 164 kt.  Applying the standard 90% rule, it calculates to a MSW estimate of 150 kt (after rounding to nearest 5 kt).  Likewise, the peak SFMR reading was 160 kt.  Taking the blend, as they have been doing most recently, we get their 155 kt max intensity estimate.  

Applying that same standard, the aforestated blend would put Michael at 140 kt if they determine the 138 kt SFMR estimate was truly uncontaminated.  Otherwise, it’s highly likely they retain the current operational intensity figure of 135 kt.  

Although tropical meteorology is most certainly an inexact science, I do my best to remain as objective as possible when formulating my own personal opinion on these best educated MSW estimates.  Consequently, I simply can’t fathom any realistic intensity estimate below 135 kt.  For all the reasons I’ve expounded upon throughout this thread, the totality of the objective, in-situ data argues for the 140 kt estimate I feel is most applicable.  

I’ll always regret losing my Kestrel in Michael, whereby I failed to capture the data that would’ve been most helpful in calculating the extreme wind gradient at my intercept location...as well as the lowest barometric pressure, there.  Despite that misfortune, the USGS did measure a 925 mb reading at the Mexico Beach pier (about 0.5 nm to my SE).  As Simon Brewer noted, he measured a lowest pressure of 944 mb at the same time...while roughly 1.5 nm due E of the pier.  That would constitute an incredibly steep pressure gradient indicative of a Cat 5, as well.  But, I’ll add that, by itself, it really isn’t a trustworthy tool to accurately gauge a MSW estimate.  

Unlike myself, you took the necessary steps to ensure you captured the lowest pressure at your intercept location (s); which I commend you for!  :)  Although some have incorrectly interpreted the higher precipitation reflectivity shown on radar, at the time of landfall, to mean the highest (or equivalent) winds might’ve been in the NW quadrant...that was definitely not the case.  Not only did RECON consistently measure the peak winds in the NE and SE quadrants (mainly the SE) throughout the morning of the 10th, but in contrast to the winds in the W quad encountering increased friction over land, Mexico Beach had direct onshore winds into a completely exposed portion of the coastline.  More importantly, those winds were enhanced by the translational speed in that quadrant of the eyewall.  As such, I’m confident your impression of how Michael’s intensity, felt, would’ve been significantly greater had you been standing beside me on that balcony at the western-most part of Mexico Beach.  

Even though I’d argue that the damage observed in the area is consistent with a 140 kt hurricane, I feel that there are way too many factors that affect how such winds correlate to the damage inflicted upon various trees and structures...that it’s not as effective for accurately estimating a given hurricanes MSW.  For just one example, the duration of the highest winds are a huge factor in how much damage is incurred..  Thankfully, the core of Michael was relatively narrow and moved through at a pretty brisk pace.  Then again, how is anyone really going to be able to legitimately differentiate between a MSW of 135 kt and one at a velocity of 140 kt, just simply based on damage alone?  They aren’t.    

All of the aforementioned takes us back to my expectation that the NHC will retain the 135 kt operational intensity estimate, despite my own personal opinion that 140 kt is the more appropriate landfall intensity estimate. 

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On 2/13/2019 at 7:51 PM, ncforecaster89 said:

Hi Don.  Thanks for the link! :)

It's not atypical that TCRs for such noteworthy hurricanes to be delayed until March (or until April, in this case, due to the shutdown).  The TCR for hurricane Irma, from 9/10/17, wasn't released until March 3, 2018.  Moreover, the spokesperson, quoted in the article, essentially just stated the obvious regarding all the standard information contained in a TCR.

I'm sure any conversation and/or debate on the possibility of upgrading the operational classification, will be kept in-house until the official report is released.  

Although I'd respectfully argue that there is far more evidence to support a 140 kt MSW landfall estimate, I'll be pleasantly surprised if the NHC doesn't retain the current operational 135 kt estimate; the main reason being that they are very reluctant to go against their operational intensity estimates.

Also, the most recent TCRs for major intensifying hurricanes, (such as Irma, Maria, and Harvey from 2017 near their peak strengths 1), were derived solely by using a blend of the peak SFMR measurement and a 10% reduction of the highest flight-level (700 mb) wind (FLW) to surface estimate.  If they continue to find the 138 kt SFMR reading to be contaminated, the next highest value would be a 133 kt measurement...which they round to the nearest 5 kt; equating to 135 kt. 

The peak FLW of 152 kt reduces to 137 kt at the surface...which they would round down to 135 knots.  

Consequently, it's unlikely they adjust the current operational intensity estimate unless they determine the aforementioned 138 kt SFMR was indeed reliable, after all, and/or they take into consideration the great likelihood that the peak FLWs (which is just 1 kt short of being rounded up to 140 kt) was undersampled.  Since "Michael" was still increasing in strength when both of these data were taken, a little reasonable, albeit subjective, judgement is all that's required to facilitate the upgrade to a Cat 5.  

Proponents of an upgrade, such as myself, will likely need for the NHC to also consider the satellite intensity estimates and Doppler radar velocity data...which each support a 140 kt landfall intensity.  Unfortunately, these data haven't been a factor in their most recent reports of significant landfalling hurricanes.   

https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tcr/index.php?season=2017&basin=atl

Question, since the Saffir Simpson scale isn't rounded off, why are these numbers rounded to the nearest 5 kts?  I'm a big proponent of not rounding (in the public advisories too) and just releasing info that is to the nearest mph or kt, to the best of their knowledge.  I see a discontinuity between the Saffir Simpson scale and how actual measurements of wind are reported- either round both or round neither.

The peak FLW of 152 kt reduces to 137 kt at the surface...which they would round down to 135 knots.  

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25 minutes ago, LibertyBell said:

Question, since the Saffir Simpson scale isn't rounded off, why are these numbers rounded to the nearest 5 kts?  I'm a big proponent of not rounding (in the public advisories too) and just releasing info that is to the nearest mph or kt, to the best of their knowledge.  I see a discontinuity between the Saffir Simpson scale and how actual measurements of wind are reported- either round both or round neither.

The peak FLW of 152 kt reduces to 137 kt at the surface...which they would round down to 135 knots.  

Hi Liberty...great question and observation.  

Here's the reasoning via the NHC...shared as an attachment from my phone.  I, too, agree than they might as well simply convert to mph without rounding, but that's their process.  The 137 kt conversion would be 158 mph, and a CAT 5...as you mentioned, without the rounding application.     

Screenshot_20190221-185300_Drive.jpg

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3 hours ago, ncforecaster89 said:

Hi Liberty...great question and observation.  

Here's the reasoning via the NHC...shared as an attachment from my phone.  I, too, agree than they might as well simply convert to mph without rounding, but that's their process.  The 137 kt conversion would be 158 mph, and a CAT 5...as you mentioned, without the rounding application.     

Screenshot_20190221-185300_Drive.jpg

Which makes it silly the way the Saffir Simpson scale is arranged- might as well round those numbers too!  If storms can't be known to "unrealistic" precision, why start Cat 5 at 157 mph?  Round it down to 155 mph if that's the case.  Because a 137 kt hurricane, which should actually be a Cat 5 based on the scale, is being "downgraded" to a Cat 4 only because of rounding.  Thanks for the paper, at least the problem is being acknowledged.  They already fixed the issue at the lower end of the Cat 4 range by rounding down 131 mph to 130.  Actually they should do the same for Cat 3's lower end too and round 111 mph to 110 and Cat 2's lower end from 96 mph to 95, while moving Cat 1 up from 74 mph to 75.  Since they report strength to the nearest 5 mph, there is no useful purpose for the scale to reflect a precision which does not exist.

 

heh NC- even their rounding isn't precise- 137 kt gets rounded down to 135 kt, but 158 mph should get rounded up to 160 mph!  Thats why we should dispense with rounding altogether or at least err on the side of caution and round off the SS scale too!

 

 

 

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On 2/21/2019 at 11:54 AM, ncforecaster89 said:

 

Hi Josh,

Always good to hear from you, and hope you’re doing well!  The downward adjustment made to the peak intensity of hurricane Irma was to be expected given the manner by which the NHC has been recently determining their MSW estimates, in the TCRs.  In that specific case, the highest flight-level wind (FLW) measured at 700 mb was 164 kt.  Applying the standard 90% rule, it calculates to a MSW estimate of 150 kt (after rounding to nearest 5 kt).  Likewise, the peak SFMR reading was 160 kt.  Taking the blend, as they have been doing most recently, we get their 155 kt max intensity estimate.  

Applying that same standard, the aforestated blend would put Michael at 140 kt if they determine the 138 kt SFMR estimate was truly uncontaminated.  Otherwise, it’s highly likely they retain the current operational intensity figure of 135 kt.  

Although tropical meteorology is most certainly an inexact science, I do my best to remain as objective as possible when formulating my own personal opinion on these best educated MSW estimates.  Consequently, I simply can’t fathom any realistic intensity estimate below 135 kt.  For all the reasons I’ve expounded upon throughout this thread, the totality of the objective, in-situ data argues for the 140 kt estimate I feel is most applicable.  

I’ll always regret losing my Kestrel in Michael, whereby I failed to capture the data that would’ve been most helpful in calculating the extreme wind gradient at my intercept location...as well as the lowest barometric pressure, there.  Despite that misfortune, the USGS did measure a 925 mb reading at the Mexico Beach pier (about 0.5 nm to my SE).  As Simon Brewer noted, he measured a lowest pressure of 944 mb at the same time...while roughly 1.5 nm due E of the pier.  That would constitute an incredibly steep pressure gradient indicative of a Cat 5, as well.  But, I’ll add that, by itself, it really isn’t a trustworthy tool to accurately gauge a MSW estimate.  

Unlike myself, you took the necessary steps to ensure you captured the lowest pressure at your intercept location (s); which I commend you for!  :)  Although some have incorrectly interpreted the higher precipitation reflectivity shown on radar, at the time of landfall, to mean the highest (or equivalent) winds might’ve been in the NW quadrant...that was definitely not the case.  Not only did RECON consistently measure the peak winds in the NE and SE quadrants (mainly the SE) throughout the morning of the 10th, but in contrast to the winds in the W quad encountering increased friction over land, Mexico Beach had direct onshore winds into a completely exposed portion of the coastline.  More importantly, those winds were enhanced by the translational speed in that quadrant of the eyewall.  As such, I’m confident your impression of how Michael’s intensity, felt, would’ve been significantly greater had you been standing beside me on that balcony at the western-most part of Mexico Beach.  

Even though I’d argue that the damage observed in the area is consistent with a 140 kt hurricane, I feel that there are way too many factors that affect how such winds correlate to the damage inflicted upon various trees and structures...that it’s not as effective for accurately estimating a given hurricanes MSW.  For just one example, the duration of the highest winds are a huge factor in how much damage is incurred..  Thankfully, the core of Michael was relatively narrow and moved through at a pretty brisk pace.  Then again, how is anyone really going to be able to legitimately differentiate between a MSW of 135 kt and one at a velocity of 140 kt, just simply based on damage alone?  They aren’t.    

All of the aforementioned takes us back to my expectation that the NHC will retain the 135 kt operational intensity estimate, despite my own personal opinion that 140 kt is the more appropriate landfall intensity estimate. 

Hi, Tony! A few things:

* My point about IRMA is that there are consistent problems with the SFMR data, so if the case for Cat 5 rests on a single SFMR reading, it's on shaky ground.

* I was not on the balcony in Mexico Beach with you. And you were not in Callaway with me as I penetrated the inner eyewall and got into calm and sunshine. I'm sure it felt intense to you. It definitely did to me. Either way, these kinds of observations don't advance the discussion because Cat-4 eyewalls always feel nuclear. I've been in a bunch of Cat-4/5 eyewalls (DEAN (just nicked it), DANAS, HAIYAN, DUJUAN, PATRICIA, HAIMA, HARVEY, MARIA, MANGKHUT, MICHAEL)-- including a 145-knot Cat 5 a few weeks before MICHAEL-- and it feels off the charts and indescribable every time. So, that's a given! :)

* I spent days in the region after the hurricane-- I had to because of my show-- so I got a really good look at the wind damage across the entire landfall zone-- from Panama City Beach (where there was almost no damage) to Mexico Beach. I'm not an engineer, but the wind damage didn't look a hair worse in Mexico Beach than in Panama City. Not a hair. (I'm talking specifically wind damage. The storm surge damage was of course much worse in Mexico Beach.)

* Related to the previous point... Winds in the right eyewall are usually stronger but not always. There are exceptions. Hurricane CELIA of 1970 is a good example of how, even despite land friction and brisk translational speed (which would have subtracted from the winds on the left side), winds in the left eyewall were way worse than on the right side. I'm not saying that's the case with MICHAEL-- I'm saying we really don't know. Recon doesn't sample every convective cell. As with CELIA in Corpus Christi, it could be that the really vigorous convection in MICHAEL's left eyewall was producing localized bursts of much higher winds. We just don't know. I will say the wind damage around Panama City was the worst I saw anywhere in the storm.

Based on everything I saw and measured, I'll reiterate that it seemed like a cyclone in the range of 125 to 135 knots. You feel it was higher. And that's OK-- we don't need to agree. :)

 

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4 hours ago, HurricaneJosh said:

Hi, Tony! A few things:

* My point about IRMA is that there are consistent problems with the SFMR data, so if the case for Cat 5 rests on a single SFMR reading, it's on shaky ground.

* I was not on the balcony in Mexico Beach with you. And you were not in Callaway with me as I penetrated the inner eyewall and got into calm and sunshine. I'm sure it felt intense to you. It definitely did to me. Either way, these kinds of observations don't advance the discussion because Cat-4 eyewalls always feel nuclear. I've been in a bunch of Cat-4/5 eyewalls (DEAN (just nicked it), DANAS, HAIYAN, DUJUAN, PATRICIA, HAIMA, HARVEY, MARIA, MANGKHUT, MICHAEL)-- including a 145-knot Cat 5 a few weeks before MICHAEL-- and it feels off the charts and indescribable every time. So, that's a given! :)

* I spent days in the region after the hurricane-- I had to because of my show-- so I got a really good look at the wind damage across the entire landfall zone-- from Panama City Beach (where there was almost no damage) to Mexico Beach. I'm not an engineer, but the wind damage didn't look a hair worse in Mexico Beach than in Panama City. Not a hair. (I'm talking specifically wind damage. The storm surge damage was of course much worse in Mexico Beach.)

* Related to the previous point... Winds in the right eyewall are usually stronger but not always. There are exceptions. Hurricane CELIA of 1970 is a good example of how, even despite land friction and brisk translational speed (which would have subtracted from the winds on the left side), winds in the left eyewall were way worse than on the right side. I'm not saying that's the case with MICHAEL-- I'm saying we really don't know. Recon doesn't sample every convective cell. As with CELIA in Corpus Christi, it could be that the really vigorous convection in MICHAEL's left eyewall was producing localized bursts of much higher winds. We just don't know. I will say the wind damage around Panama City was the worst I saw anywhere in the storm.

Based on everything I saw and measured, I'll reiterate that it seemed like a cyclone in the range of 125 to 135 knots. You feel it was higher. And that's OK-- we don't need to agree. :)

 

Hi Josh!  Obviously, we aren’t going to agree on the estimated maximum sustained winds (MSW) within Michael’s core when it made its historic landfall.  And, as you noted, that’s perfectly fine, of course.    

I understood your point regarding the SFMR data, and agree that such intensity estimates shouldn’t necessarily be based on a single piece of data.  That said, the 138 kt observation wasn’t the only set of data suggesting Michael came ashore as a 140 kt Cat 5.  To be redundant, there’s far more data to support a 140 kt intensity, as opposed to the 135 kt operational estimate.  In contrast to many non-USA landfalls, where most have to simply rely on satellite intensity estimates, we have all the RECON and Doppler radar velocity data, as well.  All three support 140 kt at landfall.  

As far as my reference to stating that I’m confident your impression of how intense Michael “felt” would’ve much greater had you been at my position in Mexico Beach (MB)...it was simply in response to one of the three criterion you listed to suggest a 125-135 kt intensity is most applicable.  They may have been an accurate representation of the MSW experienced in Callaway or Panama City, but not near the shoreline in western-most MB.  It’s very important to understand that my own opinion of the MSW for Michael, at landfall, isn’t influenced by my own personal experience.  That leads to far too much subjectivity, and believe our respective experiences of how intense it felt isn’t relative to ascertaining the most accurate MSW estimate; especially considering all the aforementioned in-situ scientific data, available.  To avoid any unintended misunderstandings, I want to make it abundantly clear that I’m not trying to minimize the value of your past powerful tropical cyclone intercepts with the preceding statement.  Greatly respect and appreciate your work, and the data you collect is a major asset to the field!  

I’m genuinely happy that you “penetrated the inner eyewall and got into calm and sunshine”, in Callaway.  Even though I was initially disappointed that Michael took a significant jog N just prior to landfall, whereby I missed the eye by no more than 2 nm, I’m now most grateful it put me in position to document the highest winds and the extreme storm surge (from simply a chase perspective).  The reality is that it would’ve been impossible to have been in the eye and also document those onshore winds and surge.  No matter how hard we try to get into the perfect spot (had intercepted the eye of the previous 15 hurricanes I’d chased, back to 2004), it’s those very last minute wobbles that can make all the difference.  Without that wobble, Callaway would’ve missed the eye and MB would’ve got it, instead.  Would’ve been a huge benefit for Panama City (PC) and MB, but far worse for places from Port St. Joe to Apalachicola.  

Like you, I also did a very extensive damage survey from the east end of MB to downtown PC.  As you mentioned, there was major wind damage throughout the entirety of this region.  On the other hand, my observations differ significantly from yours regarding the wind damage I witnessed in Mexico Beach...where I spent a full three days documenting the destruction...up to points 1 nm inland.  On this topic, we will again simply have to agree to disagree, respectfully.    

We are both acutely aware of the apparent unique wind structure within the eyewall of hurricane Celia.  Having occurred only a few months after I was born, it was the very first USA major hurricane landfall of my lifetime.  Four things I should point out:  1) The winds on the left side of the eyewall weren’t “way worse.”  In fact, the estimated wind gusts are shown to be virtually the same on each side of the eyewall...as can be seen on this local NWS map :  https://www.weather.gov/crp/hurricanecelia.   2) Even though the wind damage was found to be most extensive in Corpus Christi, that would be expected considering the increased amount of structures there compared to the less densely populated areas that were on the E side.  Despite that fact, the NHC report https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1970-prelim/celia/ stated a higher percentage of the buildings to have suffered damage (100% in Port Aransas), were from the E quadrant.    3) Unlike Michael, they didn’t have the Doppler radar velocity data that might’ve alerted them to such enhanced wind speeds in that quadrant, at the time, and shown where the highest winds truly were.  4) Those unusually enhanced winds were reported to have been gusts far in excess of observed MSWs, and lasting no more than 15 minutes.  Even then, the MSWs were still determined to have been in the eastern quadrant of the eyewall.  Consequently, hurricane Celia isn't a realistic analog or reflective of the verified wind structure contained in the eyewall of hurricane Michael.  

To reiterate, Recon consistently found the highest MSWs to be in the E quad - predominantly, the SE portion - during the last hours prior to the eye crossing the coast...while the highest radar precipitation reflectivity appeared to be in the NW quadrant.  Furthermore, the coldest cloud tops (indicative of the deepest convection) was on the right side, as well.            

The simple fact is that tropical meteorology is, and will always be, an inexact science.  Thus, no one can be 100% certain exactly how strong the MSWs were.  All we can do is utilize all the tools available to determine the most accurate estimates the current science allows.  All of those tools support a 140 kt Cat 5 landfall intensity estimate, and that the highest winds were located in the inner eyewall of the eastern quadrant.

P.S.  Here are a couple damage survey reports by structural engineers:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328568657_PRJ-2111_STEER_-_HURRICANE_MICHAEL_FIELD_ASSESSMENT_TEAM_1_FAT-1_EARLY_ACCESS_RECONNAISSANCE_REPORT_EARR

https://www.rms.com/blog/2018/10/24/hurricane-michael-field-reconnaissance-contrasting-performance-of-structures-at-design-wind-speeds/

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10 hours ago, ncforecaster89 said:

Hi Josh!  Obviously, we aren’t going to agree on the estimated maximum sustained winds (MSW) within Michael’s core when it made its historic landfall.  And, as you noted, that’s perfectly fine, of course.    

I understood your point regarding the SFMR data, and agree that such intensity estimates shouldn’t necessarily be based on a single piece of data.  That said, the 138 kt observation wasn’t the only set of data suggesting Michael came ashore as a 140 kt Cat 5.  To be redundant, there’s far more data to support a 140 kt intensity, as opposed to the 135 kt operational estimate.  In contrast to many non-USA landfalls, where most have to simply rely on satellite intensity estimates, we have all the RECON and Doppler radar velocity data, as well.  All three support 140 kt at landfall.  

As far as my reference to stating that I’m confident your impression of how intense Michael “felt” would’ve much greater had you been at my position in Mexico Beach (MB)...it was simply in response to one of the three criterion you listed to suggest a 125-135 kt intensity is most applicable.  They may have been an accurate representation of the MSW experienced in Callaway or Panama City, but not near the shoreline in western-most MB.  It’s very important to understand that my own opinion of the MSW for Michael, at landfall, isn’t influenced by my own personal experience.  That leads to far too much subjectivity, and believe our respective experiences of how intense it felt isn’t relative to ascertaining the most accurate MSW estimate; especially considering all the aforementioned in-situ scientific data, available.  To avoid any unintended misunderstandings, I want to make it abundantly clear that I’m not trying to minimize the value of your past powerful tropical cyclone intercepts with the preceding statement.  Greatly respect and appreciate your work, and the data you collect is a major asset to the field!  

I’m genuinely happy that you “penetrated the inner eyewall and got into calm and sunshine”, in Callaway.  Even though I was initially disappointed that Michael took a significant jog N just prior to landfall, whereby I missed the eye by no more than 2 nm, I’m now most grateful it put me in position to document the highest winds and the extreme storm surge (from simply a chase perspective).  The reality is that it would’ve been impossible to have been in the eye and also document those onshore winds and surge.  No matter how hard we try to get into the perfect spot (had intercepted the eye of the previous 15 hurricanes I’d chased, back to 2004), it’s those very last minute wobbles that can make all the difference.  Without that wobble, Callaway would’ve missed the eye and MB would’ve got it, instead.  Would’ve been a huge benefit for Panama City (PC) and MB, but far worse for places from Port St. Joe to Apalachicola.  

Like you, I also did a very extensive damage survey from the east end of MB to downtown PC.  As you mentioned, there was major wind damage throughout the entirety of this region.  On the other hand, my observations differ significantly from yours regarding the wind damage I witnessed in Mexico Beach...where I spent a full three days documenting the destruction...up to points 1 nm inland.  On this topic, we will again simply have to agree to disagree, respectfully.    

We are both acutely aware of the apparent unique wind structure within the eyewall of hurricane Celia.  Having occurred only a few months after I was born, it was the very first USA major hurricane landfall of my lifetime.  Four things I should point out:  1) The winds on the left side of the eyewall weren’t “way worse.”  In fact, the estimated wind gusts are shown to be virtually the same on each side of the eyewall...as can be seen on this local NWS map :  https://www.weather.gov/crp/hurricanecelia.   2) Even though the wind damage was found to be most extensive in Corpus Christi, that would be expected considering the increased amount of structures there compared to the less densely populated areas that were on the E side.  Despite that fact, the NHC report https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1970-prelim/celia/ stated a higher percentage of the buildings to have suffered damage (100% in Port Aransas), were from the E quadrant.    3) Unlike Michael, they didn’t have the Doppler radar velocity data that might’ve alerted them to such enhanced wind speeds in that quadrant, at the time, and shown where the highest winds truly were.  4) Those unusually enhanced winds were reported to have been gusts far in excess of observed MSWs, and lasting no more than 15 minutes.  Even then, the MSWs were still determined to have been in the eastern quadrant of the eyewall.  Consequently, hurricane Celia isn't a realistic analog or reflective of the verified wind structure contained in the eyewall of hurricane Michael.  

To reiterate, Recon consistently found the highest MSWs to be in the E quad - predominantly, the SE portion - during the last hours prior to the eye crossing the coast...while the highest radar precipitation reflectivity appeared to be in the NW quadrant.  Furthermore, the coldest cloud tops (indicative of the deepest convection) was on the right side, as well.            

The simple fact is that tropical meteorology is, and will always be, an inexact science.  Thus, no one can be 100% certain exactly how strong the MSWs were.  All we can do is utilize all the tools available to determine the most accurate estimates the current science allows.  All of those tools support a 140 kt Cat 5 landfall intensity estimate, and that the highest winds were located in the inner eyewall of the eastern quadrant.

P.S.  Here are a couple damage survey reports by structural engineers:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328568657_PRJ-2111_STEER_-_HURRICANE_MICHAEL_FIELD_ASSESSMENT_TEAM_1_FAT-1_EARLY_ACCESS_RECONNAISSANCE_REPORT_EARR

https://www.rms.com/blog/2018/10/24/hurricane-michael-field-reconnaissance-contrasting-performance-of-structures-at-design-wind-speeds/

MICHAEL actually didn't wobble much at all as it came ashore. Here's the radar track I created based on a tedious frame-by-frame analysis. (It appears in my report-- not sure if you saw.) For a major landfalling hurricane it moved in a pretty behaved way-- and based on that consistent motion, I was able to anticipate the track and adjust my position during the moat to get in the eye. In my experience, landfalling hurricanes in the USA tend to behave-- the tracks are usually pretty smooth, like MICHAEL's. It's in Taiwan and Luzon (in the Philippines) and the Pacific coast of Mexico-- where the mountainous terrains seem to "confuse" cyclones-- that you get insane pre-landfall wobbles that make chasing really, really tough. (PATRICIA's pre-landfall wobbles in Mexico were nuts, and we didn't have radar-- we had to work off visible satellite imagery! I consider penetrating PATRICIA's pinhole eye the greatest feat of my career.)

Point taken Re: CELIA having decent damage N of the center. But p. 273-275 of this detailed analysis from The Monthly Weather Review is very clear that the most pronounced and sharpest streaks of damage (and the storm's main energy) were S of the center: http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/general/lib/lib1/nhclib/mwreviews/1970.pdf 

Re: the CELIA wind map on the local NWS office site-- that's not exactly a precision graphic, and it's clearly mapping values from their table, most of which are estimated. The problem is, estimated wind values from this era were often grossly inflated-- it seemed in the old reports that every storm had estimated gusts to 170 or 200 mph-- so Lord knows how the 180-mph gusts in Aransas Pass and Robstown were estimated-- what the "methodology" around that was. (The Monthly Weather Review summary doesn't even include the sustained 130 mph at Aransas Pass, which leads me to believe that's quackery as well.) I've found in general that the local NWS office sites are not always the best sources when it comes to historical events. The highest reliably measured wind in CELIA was the 140-knot (161-mph) gust at the WSO at the airport in Corpus Christi, S of the center.

But we're getting way into the weeds. I wasn't suggesting CELIA is an analog for MICHAEL, nor was I claiming MICHAEL's strongest winds were left of the center-- I was using CELIA to make a broader point, which is that there's no ironclad rule Re: which side the strongest winds occur on. It's usually on the right but not always. ANDREW is another example where apparently the worst damage was left of the center.

Back to MICHAEL: I guess we just remember the damage differently. Again, wind damage in Mexico Beach looked no worse to me. I remember that fairly flimsy-looking houses above the surge line got through it beat up but intact. (By the way, one of the reports you cite estimates maximum gusts anywhere at 150 mph, which would suggest Cat 3. Be careful not to undermine your own thesis with the materials you bring into the discussion. :D ) You've made it clear you feel very, very strongly that it was 140 knots and that you were perfectly situated for those winds, and I understand that you feel that. We'll just have to leave it there. :)

iCyclone_MICHAEL_RadarTrack.png

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P.S. Here's a graphic I made comparing my analyzed radar track (purple) with the NHC's operational track based on advisory positions (pink). Theirs looks more jagged and jumpy because 1) they only give hourly positions (whereas my track has positions every few minutes) and 2) they only fix points to the nearest tenth of a degree of latitude/longitude (whereas I placed points manually, for maximum precision). The brown star is where I was initially, and the black star is where I adjusted to during the moat (to penetrate the eye). I collected complete data at both locations.

RadarTrack_vs_NHCTrack_2.png

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16 hours ago, HurricaneJosh said:

MICHAEL actually didn't wobble much at all as it came ashore. Here's a radar track I created based on a tedious frame-by-frame analysis. (It appears in my report-- not sure if you saw.) For a major landfalling hurricane it moved in a pretty behaved way-- and based on that consistent motion, I was able to anticipate the track and adjust my position during the moat to get in the eye. In my experience, landfalling hurricanes in the USA tend to behave-- the tracks are usually pretty smooth, like MICHAEL's. It's in Taiwan and Luzon (in the Philippines) and the Pacific coast of Mexico-- where the mountainous terrains seem to "confuse" cyclones-- that you get insane pre-landfall wobbles that make chasing really, really tough. (PATRICIA's pre-landfall wobbles in Mexico were nuts, and we didn't have radar-- we had to work off visible satellite imagery! I consider penetrating PATRICIA's pinhole eye the greatest feat of my career.)

Point taken Re: CELIA having decent damage N of the center. But p. 273-275 of this detailed analysis from The Monthly Weather Review is very clear that the most pronounced and sharpest streaks of damage (and the storm's main energy) were S of the center: http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/general/lib/lib1/nhclib/mwreviews/1970.pdf 

Re: the CELIA wind map on the local NWS office site-- that's not exactly a precision graphic, and it's clearly mapping values from their table, most of which are estimated. The problem is, estimated wind values from this era were often grossly inflated-- it seemed in the old reports that every storm had estimated gusts to 170 or 200 mph-- so Lord knows how the 180-mph gusts in Aransas Pass and Robstown were estimated-- what the "methodology" around that was. (The Monthly Weather Review summary doesn't even include the sustained 130 mph at Aransas Pass, which leads me to believe that's quackery as well.) I've found in general that the local NWS office sites are not always the best sources when it comes to historical events. The highest reliably measured wind in CELIA was the 140-knot (161-mph) gust at the WSO at the airport in Corpus Christi, S of the center.

But we're getting way into the weeds. I wasn't suggesting CELIA is an analog for MICHAEL, nor was I claiming MICHAEL's strongest winds were left of the center-- I was using CELIA to make a broader point, which is that there's no ironclad rule Re: which side the strongest winds occur on. It's usually on the right but not always. ANDREW is another example where apparently the worst damage was left of the center.

Back to MICHAEL: I guess we just remember the damage differently. Again, wind damage in Mexico Beach looked no worse to me. I remember that fairly flimsy-looking houses above the surge line got through it beat up but intact. (By the way, one of the reports you cite estimates maximum gusts anywhere at 150 mph, which would suggest Cat 3. Be careful not to undermine your own thesis with the materials you bring into the discussion. :D ) You've made it clear you feel very, very strongly that it was 140 knots and that you were perfectly situated for those winds, and I understand that you feel that. We'll just have to leave it there. :)

iCyclone_MICHAEL_RadarTrack.png

 

It appears you’re continually misinterpreting my posts and might be assuming (erroneously) that I’m disparaging your intercept of Michael, while elevating my own.  I say that in response to statements like this: “You've made it clear you feel very, very strongly that it was 140 knots and that you were perfectly situated for those winds, and I understand that you feel that.”  It’s discouraging that you can read my objective posts (basing my own judgements on the actual in-situ data) and come away with that synopsis.  In contrast, you continuously uphold your personal experience (how it “felt” to you on the ground), your own analysis/report, and your personal damage survey...all while suggesting that the highest winds were possibly at your intercept location.  You have a right to your opinion, but it certainly is no substitute for the actual data obtained from RECON, radar, and satellite estimates...all of which is the foundation for my own personal analysis.  My intercept of the storm isn’t about me or my chase abilities, but all about Michael.  I’m just there to document the event and try to collect useful data, in the process.  It sucks I left my Kestrel and other equipment in my vehicle, and lost them to the surge.  However, I feel most fortunate to have captured video in MB, and to provide visual evidence of what transpired in the inner-core of Michael’s eastern eyewall.  

My point in bringing up the significant northern wobble, within the last hour or so prior to landfall, was to acknowledge that I was somewhat lucky to be in the right location to document the highest winds...not to elevate my chase abilities or diminish your own.  We both did an excellent job getting into position, but there ultimately comes a time we can’t relocate, safely.  Hence, my reference to “wobbles” in general.  In this case, the RECON center positions (see attached map) clearly show the significant north jog that spared places like Port St. Joe the surge and highest winds that it delivered into Mexico Beach, instead.  To clarify further, a continuation of the preceding three center positions would’ve carried the absolute center of the eye directly into MB.  

You totally missed the point derived from the two reports provided, and by the damage analysis contained, therein.  I wasn’t undermining my argument that Michael was a 140 kt Cat 5 with those reports.  I am quite aware of the peak wind gusts displayed on the ARA map.  Of course, I also recognize that their wind gust estimate maps are usually very low in their particular analysis.  The point was that the highest winds were estimated to be to the right of the eye in all of the respective reports.

While you may continue to rely foremost on your subjective personal opinions/experience, I’ll base my own estimate regarding the MSWs of Michael on the objective scientific data.

E46304F2-450B-43D9-959C-325CE31088C1.png

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1 hour ago, ncforecaster89 said:

 

It appears you’re continually misinterpreting my posts and might be assuming (erroneously) that I’m disparaging your intercept of Michael, while elevating my own.  I say that in response to statements like this: “You've made it clear you feel very, very strongly that it was 140 knots and that you were perfectly situated for those winds, and I understand that you feel that.”  It’s discouraging that you can read my objective posts (basing my own judgements on the actual in-situ data) and come away with that synopsis.  In contrast, you continuously uphold your personal experience (how it “felt” to you on the ground), your own analysis/report, and your personal damage survey...all while suggesting that the highest winds were possibly at your intercept location.  You have a right to your opinion, but it certainly is no substitute for the actual data obtained from RECON, radar, and satellite estimates...all of which is the foundation for my own personal analysis.  My intercept of the storm isn’t about me or my chase abilities, but all about Michael.  I’m just there to document the event and try to collect useful data, in the process.  It sucks I left my Kestrel and other equipment in my vehicle, and lost them to the surge.  However, I feel most fortunate to have captured video in MB, and to provide visual evidence of what transpired in the inner-core of Michael’s eastern eyewall.  

My point in bringing up the significant northern wobble, within the last hour or so prior to landfall, was to acknowledge that I was somewhat lucky to be in the right location to document the highest winds...not to elevate my chase abilities or diminish your own.  We both did an excellent job getting into position, but there ultimately comes a time we can’t relocate, safely.  Hence, my reference to “wobbles” in general.  In this case, the RECON center positions (see attached map) clearly show the significant north jog that spared places like Port St. Joe the surge and highest winds that it delivered into Mexico Beach, instead.  To clarify further, a continuation of the preceding three center positions would’ve carried the absolute center of the eye directly into MB.  

You totally missed the point derived from the two reports provided, and by the damage analysis contained, therein.  I wasn’t undermining my argument that Michael was a 140 kt Cat 5 with those reports.  I am quite aware of the peak wind gusts displayed on the ARA map.  Of course, I also recognize that their wind gust estimate maps are usually very low in their particular analysis.  The point was that the highest winds were estimated to be to the right of the eye in all of the respective reports.

While you may continue to rely foremost on your subjective personal opinions/experience, I’ll base my own estimate regarding the MSWs of Michael on the objective scientific data.

 

The mood in this discussion has gotten kind of edgy, and I don't know why. We seem to be talking past each other, because just as you feel misunderstood, I feel you are repeatedly misunderstanding me, or ascribing viewpoints to me that I never expressed:

* I didn't perceive you to be disparaging my chase, nor was I disparaging yours.

* I've expressed no opinion about where MICHAEL's strongest winds occurred. I simply said the worst wind damage I saw was in Panama City. (I definitely wasn't implying MICHAEL's highest winds occurred at my location, since I wasn't in Panama City-- I was E of there.)

* In the final hours, I chase using radar. I see how the three recon fixes showed a more right tendency, but neither the radar track of the eye nor the NHC's operational track (both mapped above) showed a N wobble-- that's all I was saying.

I pointed out that the report you cited only showed Cat-3 winds because I thought it was funny, since of course we both agree winds were much higher than that. I thought you'd see the humor in that, too. I was wrong! :)

It's a shame this conversation soured like it did. Have a good night.

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Hey, @ncforecaster89 and @hurricanejosh, just want to interject into the discussion that you've both made excellent contributions. All points have been thoroughly explained from a scientific standpoint and personal experience. I'm good either way if NHC/NCEP upgrades or maintains operational. Of course, we still don't know everything they have at their disposal. I am still curious about the possiblity of internal network instrumentation that may have been at the Tyndall AFB that has not yet been made public.

At any rate, just want to say that it is great that your chases are more than about the thrill of the experience, though certainly that is a driving force or you wouldn't do it. But there is an emperical side to your madness for scientific aspects. So again, thank you for the work you put into this obsession and your contributions. Having said that, debating in a discussion, especially on data and their interpretation gets tricky to navigate when emotions interfere. Obviously, we a try not to make things personal. But in such communications, people sometimes interprete things differently and occasionally someone ends up incorrect. I sure know that I've been wrong way more than I have ever been right when it comes to meteorology, or any discipline for that matter. So I take the knowledge gained and move on.

The NHC analysis will be important from a scientific and public standpoint; and perhaps there probably is some outside pressure based on media and public perception. However, the data has to fully support any upgrade and I will trust the professionals to get reanalysis correct. I do agree, however, that even if there isn't an upgrade on post analysis, an upper Cat 4 was definitely capable of what we saw in aftermath. Anything over 130 mph sustained is freaking crazy besides, much less 155+. But I would expect an official upgrade only if there is a foundation of solid data and scientific reasoning. We shall see...

Edit: My poor grammar and gibberish last night. Sorry.

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On 2/24/2019 at 9:40 PM, HurricaneJosh said:

The mood in this discussion has gotten kind of edgy, and I don't know why. We seem to be talking past each other, because just as you feel misunderstood, I feel you are repeatedly misunderstanding me, or ascribing viewpoints to me that I never expressed:

* I didn't perceive you to be disparaging my chase, nor was I disparaging yours.

* I've expressed no opinion about where MICHAEL's strongest winds occurred. I simply said the worst wind damage I saw was in Panama City. (I definitely wasn't implying MICHAEL's highest winds occurred at my location, since I wasn't in Panama City-- I was E of there.)

* In the final hours, I chase using radar. I see how the three recon fixes showed a more right tendency, but neither the radar track of the eye nor the NHC's operational track (both mapped above) showed a N wobble-- that's all I was saying.

I pointed out that the report you cited only showed Cat-3 winds because I thought it was funny, since of course we both agree winds were much higher than that. I thought you'd see the humor in that, too. I was wrong! :)

It's a shame this conversation soured like it did. Have a good night.

Hi Josh, 

Based on this post, it appears I most certainly misunderstood you, as well.  That’s one aspect of the written word that is unfortunate, because it’s too easy to misinterpret the tone, sometimes.  I genuinely thought you were being condescending with your joke about the ARA wind map.  In retrospect, it was very humorous and wish I had interpreted it, correctly! :)

Please allow me to clarify where I derived my viewpoint that there was a significant N jog/wobble within the last hour and a half prior to landfall.  Not only did I observe that on the Recon VDMs, but mostly by radar analysis.  Here’s a radar loop, attached below, that shows where/how I made that observation.  It was heading directly NE, with the eye focused right on the center of Mexico Beach, before it made an abrupt jog basically due N...as if the eastern edge of the eyewall bounced off the St. Joseph peninsula.  In doing so, it actually smoothed out the track and put it back on a more general NNE trajectory.

These are the NHC advisory coordinates for the last 3.5 hours prior to landfall and 1.5 hours, thereafter:

9 am CDT........... 29.3 N 86.1 W

10 am CDT......... 29.4 N 86.0 W (NE)

1030 am CDT..... 29.5 N 85.9 W (NE)

11 am CDT......... 29.6 N 85.8 W (NE)

12 pm CDT......... 29.9 N 85.7 W (N)

1 pm CDT..........  30.0 N 85.5 W (ENE)

2 pm CDT........... 30.4 N 85.3 W (NNE)

I’ll conclude by reiterating my genuine respect and appreciation for the work you do.  This encompasses all the time, money, and effort you put into chasing all over the world collecting barometric pressure readings in areas that have very sparse data, as well as the detail you put into your subsequent chase reports.  You are a gifted writer and do an excellent job of conveying the experience to the reader!  Of course, the video documentation is a major asset, as well.         

I, too, regret the unintended misunderstandings and look forward to future discussions about a topic we both find so fascinating!

EDIT: To correct typo in listed hourly motion from 12-1 pm CDT (had originally listed NNE).

9776CDF2-54B3-4BCE-A2DC-33F98BEEF0A8.gif

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Here’s something I’ve yet to hear anyone talk about: Hurricane Michael technically made two separate landfalls on the Florida Panhandle (maybe even three).

The center of the eye crossed the coastline (just S of hwy 98) near 30.0168 N & 85.5346 W, around 1730 UTC. After subsequently crossing over East Bay, Michael made a second landfall near 30.0916 N & 85.4902 W, just SSW of Sandy Creek Air Park around 1745 UTC. These are the best approximations I could make by closely analyzing the radar images and loops, available online.  

It’ll be interesting to see how the NHC handles these two distinct landfalls. This situation is very similar to hurricanes Charley in 2004, Arthur in 2014, and Harvey in 2017...that each crossed over bays or sounds before making a second landfall. In each one of those cases, the NHC chose to list both landfalls in their respective Best Tracks.  

Then again, the NHC may elect to just simply note the initial landfall. That was the case with hurricane Ike of 2008, which made an initial landfall on the Northern end of Galveston Island. Shortly thereafter, the center reemerged over water and passed through Galveston Bay, before making a second landfall near Baytown, TX. The HURDAT2 Best Track only lists the landfall on Galveston Island.

Very interested in others thoughts about this?

Edit: The funky highlighted text is the result of a simple copy and paste of a post I made on another WX forum, back on 1/30/19.          

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Here's one of the few videos I've seen from inland areas (Bristol/Blountstown), since most chasers and media congregated along the coast in either Panama City/Callaway or Mexico Beach. However, Michael was unusual in its ability to spread major hurricane-force winds this far inland.

 

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On 2/25/2019 at 12:08 AM, Windspeed said:

Hey, @ncforecaster89 and @hurricanejosh, just want to interject into the discussion that you've both made excellent contributions. All points have been thoroughly explained from a scientific standpoint and personal experience. I'm good either way if NHC/NCEP upgrades or maintains operational. Of course, we still don't know everything they have at their disposal. I am still curious about the possiblity of internal network instrumentation that may have been at the Tyndall AFB that has not yet been made public.

At any rate, just want to say that it is great that your chases are more than about the thrill of the experience, though certainly that is a driving force or you wouldn't do it. But there is an emperical side to your madness for scientific aspects. So again, thank you for the work you put into this obsession and your contributions. Having said that, debating in a discussion, especially on data and their interpretation gets tricky to navigate when emotions interfere. Obviously, we a try not to make things personal. But in such communications, people sometimes interprete things differently and occasionally someone ends up incorrect. I sure know that I've been wrong way more than I have ever been right when it comes to meteorology, or any discipline for that matter. So I take the knowledge gained and move on.

The NHC analysis will be important from a scientific and public standpoint; and perhaps there probably is some outside pressure based on media and public perception. However, the data has to fully support any upgrade and I will trust the professionals to get reanalysis correct. I do agree, however, that even if there isn't an upgrade on post analysis, an upper Cat 4 was definitely capable of what we saw in aftermath. Anything over 130 mph sustained is freaking crazy besides, much less 155+. But I would expect an official upgrade only if there is a foundation of solid data and scientific reasoning. We shall see...

Edit: My poor grammar and gibberish last night. Sorry.

Thanks for both the kind words, as well as the excellent input and observations.  No doubt we’ve covered all the data we know about and discussed our respective personal experiences and perspectives.  

I, too, wonder if there’s additional data...mainly from the Tyndall AFB...that has yet to be released; as you mentioned.  Believe we’ve probably heard the same consistent rumors of a supposed measurement of 130 kt (150 mph) sustained with gusts to 150 kt (172 mph).  Must admit I’m highly skeptical that, if true, it wouldn’t have already been confirmed.  Guess we’ll see.  

One last thing regarding Michael’s landfall intensity estimate that hasn’t really been discussed, is the significant contraction of the eye just prior to and shortly after landfall.  At most, the eye had shrunk to no more than 14 nm...if not a little less, in diameter.  Was listed at 18 nm in the last VDM from RECON.  As can be seen in the radar loop in my preceding post, this accompanied a significant increase in the convection of the eastern eyewall; which was also visible in the IR satellite imagery, as well.  The aforementioned radar loop also shows the continued consolidation of the eye.  

Nonetheless, I still anticipate the NHC to retain their operational intensity estimate...unless there’s additional data we are unaware of.   

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On 2/25/2019 at 2:47 PM, CheeselandSkies said:

Here's one of the few videos I've seen from inland areas (Bristol/Blountstown), since most chasers and media congregated along the coast in either Panama City/Callaway or Mexico Beach. However, Michael was unusual in its ability to spread major hurricane-force winds this far inland.

 

Hi CheeselandSkies!  Thanks for sharing the footage from an inland area that took a big hit from hurricane Michael.  Also find such imagery from more inland locations to be captivating.  Areas so often overlooked due to the focus on the more coastal communities. There’s additional capelling footage on YouTube from Marianna, Fl and Donaldsville, Ga.  

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Made my way back to Mexico Beach (MB), and arrived just prior to sunset, this evening.  As mentioned previously in this thread, I had already performed an exhaustive tour of the impacted coastal areas; from eastern-most MB to points a full mile inland and westward along hwy 98...and N from there to Panama City, Callaway, Springfield, and Lynn Haven.  

However, I had yet to survey areas along the NE quadrant of hurricane Michael any further than 1 mile inland.  Today, I took that opportunity by driving into MB from the NNE...through towns such as Chattahoochee, Blountstown, Wewahitchka, and Overstreet.  Even almost a full five months later, I was astonished by the destruction still visible along the trek south.  As expected, the tree damage got progressively worse the closer I got to the shoreline.  That said, I was still amazed to see areas of complete blow-down of forests more than 50 nautical miles, inland! 

Will be spending the next week or so documenting the continuing recovery in Mexico Beach and surrounding areas, as well as interviewing residents, helping however I'm able, and visiting friends I made during my initial trip to the "Forgotten Coast."   

Will be extremely busy, but plan to share a few visuals and experiences from this endeavor via my Twitter account @tbrite89.         

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Talking with residents around the area, there's this persistent rumor circulating that this supposed "black box" was found near Tyndall AFB that supposedly recorded a 182 mph sustained wind.  Just sharing for informational purposes, as I don't personally believe it (for obvious reasons), but goes with the consistent narrative that there's additional data, not yet released, from Tyndall AFB.

A 182 mph gust I can easily believe, 182 mph one-minute sustained...can't buy that.   Nonetheless, would be great to learn that there's additional data out there we are currently unaware of...but remain skeptical it could remain unreported this long after the event.   

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