for a more recent update on tropical storm gustav, CLICK HERE
Tropical Storm Gustav, as expected, is getting its act together and is looking much much better on the satellite. Once it decided to end its Haitian vacation and got out of the mountains of Haiti and back over the friendly confines of the ocean, its numbers are going up while the pressure is going down. Actually, it works in reverse. The pressure is down to 983mb and the winds are up to 70 mph. Anyway, the vector shift overnight to a more southerly component has made it likely that it will encounter Jamaica as it starts to swing more westerly. That will further delay intensification but, after that, it will have little problem getting going good. Now, because it dawdled near Haiti, it has provided more time for a more hostile environment to mess it up a little
in the Gulf. In response to a trof coming into the Gulf in a few days, the ridge steering the storm should break down a bit causing the storm to turn to the northwest. Should that trof actually show up as forecast, then it would increase the likelihood of southwesterly shear aloft to mess with
its hat…its upper anticyclone…its upper support. The upper support is what is necessary for a tropical cyclone of any substance. While most of the models on the Spaghetti Intensity Graph do make this a cat 2 or Cat 3 storm, a few still want to ignore the shearing and take it stronger. But, the good news is that, should this shearing, it may limit the storm from getting too strong. However, I do wonder if this guy isn’t just going to explode once it enters the Gulf prior to it getting into a shearing environment. The sea surface temperatures are very warm, it may run across a warm eddy and the environment will be great for a while. The bad news is that, right now, the official forecast has shifted a bit west of New Orleans over the past 12 hours, but not far enough away to prevent the sunken city to be susceptible to a bad storm surge. As seen in the discussion below, there is talk of a
ridge building ahead of the storm that would slow it down. The boys at the NHC feel that this feature will continue to move and serve to merely slow the progress north and as it goes on its merry way, Gustav will be allowed to enter the United States. Someone should alert the border patrol as I doubt if Gustav is a documented worker. There continues to be many variables like if or when the shearing takes place and how strong it will be as well as when the steering ridge breaks down. Now there is a further concern as to if, in fact, the blocking ridge does materialize and if it does in fact keep moving. The discussion mentions some models that keep that ridge in place and consequently the storm starts to go west prior to the forecast and I’ve seen several of those models. For this reason, if you are anywhere from Pensacola to Corpus Christi, i’d still keep my ears on. There are several days left in Gustav’s life and typically, one of the variables do not behave as expected.
Gustav has a wife now. It’s Tropical Storm Hanna. I’ve seen this feature consistently on the models we use in forecasting locally. A tropical storm or hurricane has been showing up off the Southeast Coast of the United States. The computers thinking all along has
been for oit to get close and then move out to sea and that’s why I haven’t really mentioned it much….I believe this is Invest 95L. Anyway, the official forecast track at this time is being cautious as there are some models that want to stop Hanna’s progress and have it get cut off from steering currents. I suspect that even if it does that, it would eventually get
caught up in a frontal boundary moving off the US coast. The concern here would be that if the storm is far enough south, it stays below the trof of the front and does not get caught up in a southwesterly flow out to sea so its worth monitoring.
Oh…one other thing….I think I told you people to fill up your gas tanks because oil prices would go up because of Gustav. The oil traders have the same access to modeling data and they know that there is a possibility of a storm going into the region of US offshore oil production, not to mention the huge oil refining capacity around Houston and numerous refineries from the SE Texas coast to New Orleans. So any hint of a hurricane sniffing around will cause the price of oil to be bid higher. This really started on Monday but here’s today’s story. Better Fill’er Up!
TROPICAL STORM GUSTAV DISCUSSION NUMBER 15 NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL072008 1100 AM EDT THU AUG 28 2008 THE LAST AIRCRAFT FIX AT ABOUT 1130 UTC SHOWED THE CIRCULATION CENTER HAD BEEN MOVING VERY LITTLE EARLIER THIS MORNING. MY SENSE FROM VISIBLE IMAGERY SINCE THEN IS THAT GUSTAV HAS STARTED MOVING SLOWLY WESTWARD…PERHAPS 265/4. IT IS NOT CLEAR IF THE CENTER WILL PASS DIRECTLY OVER JAMAICA OR WILL HUG THE SOUTH OR NORTH COAST…BUT WITH A WEAK MID-LEVEL RIDGE OVER FLORIDA…ALL MODELS FORECAST GUSTAV TO CONTINUE GENERALLY WESTWARD FOR THE NEXT DAY OR SO. A WEAKNESS IN THE RIDGE OVER THE EASTERN GULF OF MEXICO SHOULD ALLOW GUSTAV TO GRADUALLY TURN TO THE RIGHT DURING THE FOLLOWING FEW DAYS. THE MODELS ALSO FORECAST A MID-LATITUDE RIDGE TO PROPAGATE EASTWARD ACROSS THE EASTERN U.S. DURING THE 3-5 DAY TIME FRAME…BUT SUFFICIENTLY PROGRESSIVE SUCH THAT IT WOULD NOT BLOCK GUSTAV’S NORTHWARD PROGRESS. THE MODELS ARE IN GENERALLY GOOD AGREEMENT ON A TRACK ACROSS THE NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN…NEAR OR OVER THE WESTERN TIP OF CUBA…AND ACROSS THE CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO. SOME OF THE MODELS HINT THAT THE HIGH TO THE NORTH LATE IN THE FORECAST PERIOD COULD FORCE GUSTAV TO TURN A LITTLE BACK TO THE WEST OVER THE NORTHERN GULF…BUT THESE MODELS ARE CURRENTLY IN THE MINORITY. THE NEW OFFICIAL TRACK FORECAST DOES SHOW A SLOWING OF THE FORWARD MOTION AS GUSTAV APPROACHES THE NORTHERN GULF COAST…AND IS NUDGED JUST A LITTLE TO THE EAST TO BE IN LINE WITH THE CONSENSUS. RELIABLE MODELS REMAIN ON EITHER SIDE OF THE FORECAST TRACK…SO ONE SHOULD NOT FOCUS ON THE EXACT OFFICIAL TRACK. THE ADVISORY INTENSITY IS KEPT AT 60 KT BASED ON THE EARLIER AIRCRAFT DATA…AND ANOTHER AIR FORCE PLANE WILL ARRIVE ON THE SCENE THIS AFTERNOON. VISIBLE IMAGERY SUGGESTS THE CYCLONE CONTINUES TO REORGANIZE…BUT THE INTERACTION WITH JAMAICA DURING THE NEXT DAY OR SO MIGHT LIMIT INTENSIFICATION…ALTHOUGH ONLY A SLIGHT INCREASE IN STRENGTH COULD MAKE GUSTAV A HURRICANE AT ANY TIME TODAY. AFTER PASSING JAMAICA…GUSTAV WILL ENCOUNTER THE VERY WARM WATERS OF THE NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN WITH ANTICYCLONIC FLOW ALOFT…FAVORING INTENSIFICATION. ANY INTERACTION WITH THE NARROW LANDMASS OF WESTERN CUBA SHOULD NOT HAVE MUCH INFLUENCE ON THE STRENGTH OF GUSTAV OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO…WHERE WATERS WILL BE WARM BUT WIND SHEAR COULD SLOWLY INCREASE. THE NEW OFFICIAL INTENSITY FORECAST CALLS FOR A LITTLE FASTER STRENGTHENING OVER THE NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN…BUT IS SIMILAR TO THE PREVIOUS ADVISORY AND THE INTENSITY CONSENSUS THEREAFTER. FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS INITIAL 28/1500Z 17.9N 76.1W 60 KT 12HR VT 29/0000Z 17.9N 77.1W 65 KT…NEAR JAMAICA 24HR VT 29/1200Z 18.4N 79.0W 70 KT 36HR VT 30/0000Z 19.1N 80.8W 80 KT 48HR VT 30/1200Z 20.2N 82.6W 95 KT 72HR VT 31/1200Z 23.5N 86.0W 100 KT 96HR VT 01/1200Z 27.0N 89.0W 100 KT 120HR VT 02/1200Z 29.5N 91.0W 100 KT…NEAR COAST OF LA $$ FORECASTER KNABB