Hurricane Lili pulled an Opal and weakened rapidly as it was approaching land, sparing Louisiana the brunt of its potentially devasting strength. The storm, which late last night had been a strong Category 4 with 145 mph winds, was barely a Category 2 when it made landfall. Here is what the National Hurricane Center had to say about Lili this morning:
A VERY INTERESTING EVENT OCCURRED WITH LILI IN THE PAST 24 HOURS. IT INTENSIFIED RAPIDLY TO A STRONG CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE AND WEAKENED TO A CATEGORY TWO AS FAST AS IT STRENGTHENED. THERE WILL BE MANY EXPLANATIONS AFTER THE FACT…AND PERHAPS MANY PHD DISSERTATIONS. I AM GLAD THERE WILL BE SOME. THE TRUTH IS THAT NOBODY WAS ABLE TO PREDICT THESE SUDDEN CHANGES IN INTENSITY. CURRENTLY…THERE ARE ONGOING RESEARCH PROJECTS ON INTENSITY CHANGE, INCLUDING THE UNITED STATES WEATHER RESEARCH PROGRAM…USWRP. HOPEFULLY THESE EFFORTS WILL HELP US PREDICT SUCH EVENTS IN THE FUTURE.