Hurricane Ike, packing heavy rain and fierce winds, might be headed to North Texas, according to new data released Tuesday afternoon by the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.
The storm, which was gathering momentum in the Gulf of Mexico, could bring 3-5 inches of rain, wind gusts and possible tornadoes to the Metroplex, if it takes the northerly track suggested Tuesday by updated computer models.
"Things could change, but I would say we have increased chances of seeing some effects from Ike," said Jesse Moore, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.
Ike was projected to reach the Texas coast late Friday or early Saturday, possibly as a Category 3 storm, near Corpus Christi.
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Computer models Tuesday morning suggested it would continue west-northwest across South Texas and Northern Mexico, with negligible force, if any, on North Texas.
But the possible scenarios changed with updated computer models Tuesday afternoon, Moore said. Two additional models showed Ike taking a northern track along the Interstate 35W corridor, Moore said.
Moore explained that there is going to be an upper level trough moving across the central United States at week's end.
"As it approaches Texas, it's going to lift the hurricane northward," Moore said. "My guess is we could probably see 3-5 inches of rain, and locally heavier amounts along and east of the track of hurricane."
He predicted that winds could be about 20-30 mph, with gusts over 40 mph.
If Ike does come to North Texas, its arrival will be "Saturday, Saturday night, or early Sunday, but things can change before then," Moore said.