Tropical Storm Gustav Track Unclear


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Tropical Storm Gustav NHC Forecast Track 5 pm 0825

Tropical Storm Gustav NHC Forecast Track 5 pm 0825

First off, you could tell that Gustav was getting itself together quite nicely last night. Consequently, the NHC made it a depression while the Hurricane Hunters

Tropical Storm Gustav Spaghetti Intensity Graph 0825 18Z

Tropical Storm Gustav Spaghetti Intensity Graph 0825 18Z

were on the way. When they got there, the found a closed eyewall with a 30 nm eye and winds of 60 mph. In the afternoon, a second plane found that conditions had not changed and the satellite imagery is not quite as impressive. However, this may just be a resting period. The immediate future of Gustav will reside mainly with the track. The official track takes it now right up the middle of Cuba, which would tend to mess it up. But it also would mean an entry into the wide open Gulf of Mexico. This is a track farther south than the previous track, which the NHC admitted was somewhat suspect. They still mention caution regarding the track. The spaghetti models seem to have a general shift to the south with several really giving it a sharp turn

Tropical Storm Gustav Spaghetti Model 0825 18Z

Tropical Storm Gustav Spaghetti Model 0825 18Z

west before it gets to Cuba and running it south of the island. This would be in response to a building ridge over Florida. If this happens, Florida would be protected. If it were to track south of Cuba and not get too messed up with the big mountains of the eastern end of the island, then it would have great potential to develop as it moves toward the Yucatan Channel and the Gulf. Of the 16 models depicted in the spaghetti intensity graph, 10 make it a hurricane with four approaching Cat 3 status. But, as the NHC notes, the GFS isn’t too enthused with it and the UKMET totally loses interest. So, there are a variety of scenarios. My guess is that this guy is not going away and its near term life will be determined by Fidel Castro’s lovely island. Here is the 5pm discussion:

TROPICAL STORM GUSTAV DISCUSSION NUMBER 3
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL072008
500 PM EDT MON AUG 25 2008

AFTER ITS RATHER RAPID INCREASE IN ORGANIZATION EARLIER TODAY…THE
CLOUD PATTERN ASSOCIATED WITH GUSTAV HAS BECOME A LITTLE
RAGGED-LOOKING…PARTICULARLY NEAR THE CENTER. THE AIR FORCE
HURRICANE HUNTERS REPORTED A VERY SMALL AREA OF STRONG WINDS JUST
TO THE SOUTHEAST OF THE CENTER WITH A PEAK FLIGHT LEVEL WIND SPEED
OF 67 KT. USING A 75 PERCENT RATIO OF SURFACE TO FLIGHT LEVEL
WINDS APPROPRIATE FOR THE 925 MB FLIGHT ALTITUDE GIVES 50 KT FOR
THE INTENSITY ESTIMATE. ASSUMING THE CURRENTLY LESS-ORGANIZED
APPEARANCE OF THE CYCLONE IS MERELY TEMPORARY…STRENGTHENING IS
LIKELY GIVEN THE APPARENTLY FAVORABLE METEOROLOGICAL AND OCEANIC
CONDITIONS. LATER IN THE FORECAST PERIOD…THE STRENGTH OF GUSTAV
WILL OBVIOUSLY BE A STRONG FUNCTION OF HOW MUCH THE CIRCULATION
INTERACTS WITH LAND. INTERESTINGLY…THE GFS CONTINUES TO FAIL TO
SHOW DEVELOPMENT OF THE CYCLONE AND THE U.K. MET OFFICE GLOBAL
MODEL SHOWS WEAKENING.

THE INITIAL MOTION CONTINUES TOWARD THE NORTHWEST…315/12. THE
GLOBAL MODELS DEPICT A MID-TROPOSPHERIC ANTICYCLONE CENTERED NEAR
FLORIDA OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS. THE STEERING CURRENTS
ASSOCIATED WITH THIS FEATURE SHOULD CAUSE THE MOTION OF GUSTAV TO
GRADUALLY BEND TOWARD THE LEFT AND THIS IS ALSO SHOWN BY THE
OFFICIAL TRACK FORECAST…WHICH IS SLIGHTLY WEST OF THE PREVIOUS
ONE. SOME OF THE TRACK MODELS SUCH AS THE GFDL AND HWRF ARE TO THE
LEFT OF THIS NHC FORECAST. NOTE THAT THERE IS SUBSTANTIAL
UNCERTAINTY IN THE 4 AND 5 DAY FORECAST POSITIONS…AND ONE SHOULD
NOT FOCUS ON THESE PRECISE POINTS.

THE WIND RADII WERE DECREASED A LITTLE SINCE THE AIRCRAFT
OBSERVATIONS SHOWED THAT GUSTAV IS A LITTLE SMALLER THAN EARLIER
ESTIMATED.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 25/2100Z 16.3N 71.0W 50 KT
12HR VT 26/0600Z 17.2N 72.0W 60 KT
24HR VT 26/1800Z 18.4N 73.3W 65 KT…INLAND
36HR VT 27/0600Z 19.4N 74.4W 65 KT
48HR VT 27/1800Z 20.2N 75.5W 65 KT…INLAND
72HR VT 28/1800Z 21.3N 77.5W 55 KT…INLAND
96HR VT 29/1800Z 22.0N 79.0W 50 KT…INLAND
120HR VT 30/1800Z 23.0N 81.0W 50 KT…INLAND

$$
FORECASTER PASCH

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