Hurricane Gilbert – Too Big To Turn North

Today is traditionally peak of the hurricane season.

08 Sep 2001, Page 7 – South Florida Sun Sentinel at

Hurricane Gilbert formed on this date in 1988.

I was living in Houston at the time, and Gilbert was forecast to turn north and hit Houston, but it never did. Gilbert was too big to turn.

18 Sep 1988, 1 – The Monitor at

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36 Responses to Hurricane Gilbert – Too Big To Turn North

  1. Steve Case says:

    Now that Irma is on radar
    I can watch the progress in more or less real time.

  2. RAH says:

    Irma has made the turn and is actually tracking to strike the Keys east of Key West right now:

    Looks like Dr. Maue and Joe Bastardi and the NHC have been correct about it turning north from Cuba and heading towards the keys and up the west Florida coast.
    Joe plainly stated without equivocation that Irma would be a CAT 5 a landfall. Dr. Maue said it may become a CAT 5 again. I guess we’ll just have to see if it does but it now a CAT 4.
    What a monster this storm is! The cloud cover from the bands when the eye was still tracking WNW down by Cuba covered over half of Florida, most of Cuba, and an outer band reached to the west all the way to the Yucatan. I will try to post the image but just in case here is a link.

  3. RAH says:

    Dozing off watching the weather channel coverage I perked up for a second when the reporter down in Key West said that some people down there were going to ride Irma out in their boats.
    Darwin will indubitably be proven correct once again.

  4. Squidly says:

    It seems that Irma is steering its own course as well. Every time they update the track of Irma they shift it westward. Looks to me that it could very well not even make landfall along the west coast of Florida, and instead hit in the panhandle.

    • RAH says:

      Nope, heading almost due north and about to strike the Keys between Key West and Big Pine Key. It is now a tiny bit further east than the forecast track in the center of NOAAs “cone of death” showed it would be at this point. If it continues on it’s current track it like it will come ashore on the Florida mainland in the vicinity of Port Charlotte- Punta Gorda just as the forecast track has been showing. BTW that is pretty much the same place where hurricane Charley came ashore in 1992. I was down there at our vacation house about a week after that hurricane went through. What a mess. FEMA trailers all over.

      • Squidly says:

        The forecast track had it going to Miami for a very long time. The hurricane has shifted considerably further west than that.

        I live in Nashville. The original track had Irma tracking to the east of us. Then it changed and was directly on top of us. Now it is tracking over Memphis.

        There is absolutely no doubt that the track has continued to creep to the west with each revision.

  5. RAH says:

    The storm is continuing to go just a little east of the forecast track and it is looking more and more like landfall may be further south around Naples where the eye comes ashore. The good news is that Irma has lost the integrity of it’s eye due to interaction with the shallower water land to the east and a greater than expected amplification of dryer cooler air impinging on it from the west. It seems likely it won’t reach the CAT 5 Joe Bastardi forecast for it to be upon landfall. It has most likely seen its peak in low pressure and winds and will continue to degrade down to a weak CAT 3 before getting to the Florida coast. But it is still going to kick ass on the Western coast of Florida.

  6. Garyh845 says:

    Alright guys – Here’s a pic I took a few hours after Gilbert passed. On Cozumel.

    Ended up with an extended vacation – 5-6 days, if I recall. When I got back to Los Angeles, here was the headline from the day after: Hurricane Gilbert Slams Yucatan Coast : 179-M.P.H. Winds Buffet Mexico Peninsula; Storm Heads for Texas . . where gusts up to 218 m.p.h. and dense white sheets of rain reportedly uprooted trees and small houses and caused heavy flooding.

    Yep – that was the one. I chatted with Chris Landsea about Gilbert on a couple of occasions (he flew into it). A satellite pic was taken – looks just like the one at top of this post, but the eye was over Cozumel — — we were outside on the south side of the eye, which was very small, and were too close to the wall, such that we never saw any blue sky. Had no idea (no news avail – no cell phones, etc) that we were in the eye – and had strayed out too far, and suddenly heard it coming – had to make a mad dash to get back to our lodging, which we’d moved to the night before – as our hotel on the beach was evacuated. It was destroyed.

    Gilbert was something else – quite an experience.

    • Garyh845 says:

      Thought I attached it.

      • gator69 says:

        For some unknown reason, people have been unable to post images for the past couple of days. Do you have a link to the image?

        • Garyh845 says:

          Ah, it’s not a big deal – a shot of the destruction along the coast. Sad thing was that I’d taken 4-5 rolls of shots – and the tins were in my light-weight wind breaker. Somewhere while climbing over piles of debris – I guess I lost them all. Too – bad, as I’d shot a couple rolls during the peak of the eye wall. Spent hours looking for the film – never found it., I’m still pissed about that. LOL.

          Cozumel had just competed a huge concrete dock – for large cruise ships right there in the heart of San Miguel. The main street along the coast was a divided parkway. Gilbert took the entire dock, and almost all of the parkway (3/4ths of it) as well as every structure (bars, restaurants, dive shops, etc) which was on the beach side – not even a stick left on the beach side . . gone.

  7. Latitude says:

    The only people that have called this right….from the beginning…was Ventusky
    It’s going inland at Ft. Meyers…and rapidly degrading
    Friends in Key West are fine…all up and down the Keys…are fine…talking to them on the phone
    …Friends in Palmetto Bay (way south Miami) are royally pissed….peacocks are still walking around in their yard and they were hoping it would blow them away
    Friends in Miami, few tree limbs down….no damage so far

    …our house Latitude 25….so far is fine, no trees down..neighbor just walked all around and didn’t see anything far

    EYW radar didn’t go out…I know that tower….thought it would go for sure

    • Latitude says: the mean time….reporters are standing out in it…driving their cars around in it…..telling everyone if they didn’t leave they’re going to die
      …and they’ve had some preppy black guy…dressed like a rodeo clown…on the beach in Naples for 24 hours now

    • RAH says:

      Great to hear!

      • Latitude says:

        We took advantage of it….been meaning to drive up and visit friends in Hernando forever and never took the time…so we’re up here having a ball……
        Getting back down is going to be a trip though.
        …have friends on Miami Beach, might drive that far one day…and the rest the next day…can’t until gas stations are open again
        We’re all piled up on the sofas, watching the news, and eating..
        ..a diet is in my future!!

        • R. Shearer says:

          I have relatives within a couple of miles of Hernando. The elevation is about 50′ there if I recall correctly.

        • Colorado Wellington says:

          Glad to hear you are fine and in good spirits. Just avoid those carbs and make sure the meals are healthy and greasy enough. You wouldn’t want to deny science, would you?

          New Study Favors Fat Over Carbs
          By Nicholas Bakalar
          The New York Times
          Sept. 8, 2017

          High carbohydrate intake is associated with a higher risk of mortality, and high fat intake with a lower risk, researchers report.

          People with the highest 20 percent in total fat intake — an average of 35.3 percent of calories from fat — had about a 23 percent reduced risk of death compared with the lowest 20 percent (an average of 10.6 percent of calories from fat). Consuming higher saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat were all associated with lower mortality. Higher fat diets were also associated with a lower risk of stroke.

          • Latitude says:

            Had chicken and dumplins, mashed potatoes, pole beans…..brownies w/Blue Bell homemade vanilla…for dinner…neighbor made choc cookies and fudge…and I brought a 5 lb can a cashews

          • Colorado Wellington says:

            Dave Barry and family in Miami have lentils and jerky …

            Here’s how I know a hurricane is coming: We have lentils.

            We NEVER eat lentils. I am not 100 percent sure what a lentil is. I do know for a fact that not once has anybody in our household ever said, “You know what would be great for dinner tonight? Lentils!”

            But at the moment we have roughly a 45-year supply of lentils on hand. This is because we are in Hurricane Preparedness Freakout Mode, and one of the things we Floridians do in this mode is go to Publix and get in long lines to buy mass quantities of things we will never eat. Publix could put out a big display of cans labeled “Toad Intestines Packed In Snail Vomit” and we Floridians would snap them all up in minutes. That’s how prepared we are.

            My family did manage to secure a large supply of jerky, which we actually like. We chew it thoughtfully while we watch the Weather Channel people tell us, over and over and over, how screwed we are. All our jerky will be gone before Irma gets here.


          • RAH says:

            That one got a belly laugh out of me CW.

          • cdquarles says:

            Even though I am well inland, I seem to be in the forecast track (not the first time, nor the last time, possibly). The wind started picking up yesterday notably. We don’t get strong winds often here, even with thunderstorms, so when we do, I go look at the sky. There is a tropical storm advisory for my area, tomorrow. Again, I am well inland (some 200 miles). The winds were NNE yesterday. They’re said be NE now. To me, that meant that the gradient has increased as both the high passed near after the last cold front and as the low approaches from the SE/SSE. We shall see. My own forecast was a reprise of a mid-September 1979 Cat 2/3 Frederic. It didn’t keep going west. Oh well, can’t get them all correct.

            It is relatively cool here now. Lows in the low to mid 50s and highs in the mid to upper 70s. When the storm gets here, it will approach the record low highs. Current dew points are in the low 50s (Irma will pull some of this air in!) Forecast lows are mid to upper 50s and highs in the low to mid 60s, in mid-September! Even after Freddie in 1979, it wasn’t that cool.

          • gator69 says:

            Again, I am well inland (some 200 miles)

            200 miles inland, in Florida? Where are you?

          • cdquarles says:

            Gator, I am in Alabama.

          • gator69 says:

            OK, that explains it. You have my deepest sympathies.

          • Gail Combs says:

            I LIKE lentils.

            Lentils, sausage (1 pkg hot 1 mild) onion, celery, mushrooms makes a great soup.

          • gator69 says:

            Gail, if you like lentils so much, try that soup without the sausage, onion, celery, and mushrooms. :-)

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