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Meteorologist Joe Bastardi Gives Detailed Hurricane Harvey Forecast

Meteorologist Joe Bastardi Gives Detailed Hurricane Harvey Forecast Read Transcript

Hurricane Harvey is heading for the Texas coast, expected

to hit Corpus Christi.

Forecasters predict it will be a level three,

with 120-mile-an-hour winds when it makes landfall sometime

tonight, making it potentially the most destructive hurricane

to hit the US in 12 years.

Joe Bastardi is chief meteorologist

with Weatherbell Analytics.

He joins us now with more.

So give us your forecast.

When and where will it hit, and how strong will it be?

Well, Corpus Christi looks to me

like it's going to avoid the worst of the storm, in that

it's going to be a very bad storm,

but I think it's going to hit up the coast toward Rockport.

And that's-- it's hitting in an area where there are not a lot

of people in Texas.

There's a good reason for that, they

had the common sense not to build on Mustang Island

out there because they've been hit with so many hurricanes

out there back in the 1800s.

So it's heading in a relatively unpopulated area.

Now, it's a bad storm in Corpus Christi,

but let me explain what would happen if this came in just

south of Corpus Christi.

It would push the entire bay into the city.

That is actually going to try to happen,

but just at the nick of time the wind

will turn to the north, northwest,

and try to drive the water out.

So Corpus Christi, you're going to get a very bad storm,

but may not be the worst-case scenario.

This may, indeed, hit even stronger than a category three.

Could be a category four when it comes ashore.

It's then going to mill around near Victoria, Texas for a day

or so, start backing down the coast a little bit.

We believe it's coming back out over the water Monday

night, and then heading northeastward, making

another landfall, perhaps as a major hurricane,

between Galveston and Beaumont Port Arthur

sometime on Wednesday.

Now, that track, with the prolonged amount of rain that's

going on and the severity of the hurricane there,

would lead to a catastrophic storm along the Texas Gulf


We're very concerned about Galveston,

in that if you look at the history of Galveston,

it's been hit from the southeast,

but it's never been hit from the southwest.

The seawall protects it from the southeast.

But what we're concerned about here

is the steady influx of water back into Galveston Bay,

because this has taken two, three, four days to go on,

elevates the bay, the heavy rains elevates the bay.

And if the storm then goes by to the east,

the wind turns to hurricane force

out of the north and drives water

into the city from the bay side.

It's not unlike what happened with Katrina.

Let's remember what happened with Katrina.

When she went by, the wind turned to the north.

And that's when Pontchartrain came

into the city of New Orleans.

So there's a big concern about that with, you know,

we're dealing with a track that we have not

seen around Galveston.

And that's a big, big worry for me.

So we've never seen a storm do what you're describing.

Oh, we see them out in the Atlantic do what--

all the time.

I mean, the thing is it's doing it in close to land.

It's just the luck of the draw.

But storms stall all the time and mill around.

Let's remember 1963 in southeast Cuba.

Category four Hurricane Flora milled around for four days

and dropped 100 inches of rain on Santiago de Cuba.

So no, I've seen storms like this--

you see them all the time.

The problem is, this is right next to the coast.

So if it were happening out in the middle of the Atlantic,

you know, only guys like me would

be sitting there gawking at it.

Now it's happening in very, very close.

By the way, it's part of our season.

If you go on the site, you go back to May 12th

when we issued our forecast, you could see how much red we

had in close to the United States,

because we were very worried about a big impact

here on the US coastline.

Now, May 12 I said that this is the year that the hurricane

drought ends.

And there's nothing superstitious about it.

It's only studying weather patterns and saying,

OK, well, if you have similar patterns to a time before,

you're probably going to see it happen again.

In terms of a hurricane drought,

we haven't seen a storm like this in 12 years.

Why such a big gap, you think?

I don't mean to be rude, but Sandy caused

$80 billion damage, and Sandy--

I gotta tell you something, the downgrading of Sandy,

I still can't believe they did that.

My dad's a meteorologist.

He's gone through eight hurricanes.

That center went right over his house.

And he had an hour of calm, and when the wind came out

of the south, it was gusting to 80, 90 miles an hour.

Hurricane Sandy, you know, the prolonged influence of that

and the way it hit the coast, and you look at Ike and Gustav,

you know, any other year people would have

called those major hurricanes.

And they certainly were major hurricanes on my impact scale.

And working with, you know, the industry and insurance

and everything else, we have a power and impact scale.

This is already a major hurricane now.

Is there a pendulum effect?

Might we start seeing more heavy storms hit the US?

Well, you gotta look at the pattern.

And you treat it year after year.

Again, on that hurricane forecast,

I explained why we've had the drought.

And believe it or not, it's likely because

of the globe's a little bit warmer than what it has been.

Summers across North America have been warmer.

So what happens is you get lower pressures

in the mean across North America.

And that disrupts what we call the global wind oscillation,

and may be influencing hurricanes

in a negative way, where it's actually

making for less storms.

So there's all sorts of different things that go on.

If you go back and look at the 30s, 40s,

and 50s, and the major hurricanes that hit the United

States, you will find that it was far worse then,

my friend, than what is being reported now by a lot of people

pushing an issue.

I want to return to Harvey real quick.

If it happens the way you describe,

could we see unprecedented damage from this storm?

I don't like using that terminology.

We've been saying since Tuesday here

at Weatherbell this is a catastrophic storm.

And but you know, when it comes to quantifying things

like that, for instance, every storm probably

damages something that didn't get damaged in a storm before.

So is that unprecedented?

You know, it's interesting, in southeast Texas

they have all these nice communities there.

And I love southeast Texas.

I grew up at Texas A&M, and I go down to the Woodlands

quite often.

But leaving those tall, skinny Texas pines up

is tempting nature to knock 'em over

and fall into people's houses, which you saw a lot with Ike.

So all sorts of things can go on with these.

And when you're making statements like that,

you stick to the weather, the track

that we are looking at is one that's

going to cause catastrophic damages from flood, storm

surge, and wind in the Texas coastal plain,

maybe even all the way up to Beaumont Port Arthur.

All right.

Joe Bastardi of Weatherbell, thank you for your time.

Thank you for having me.


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