For a more recent update on Hurricane Gustav, CLICK HERE. There is also a interactive radar with which you can create a Hurricane Gustav Radar Loop when its in range of radar installations.
As I had suspected, Gustav just exploded. Winds are now at 145 mph with gusts over 170 mph. The pressure has dropped to 945 mb. That pressure can support winds of this intensity but generally not too much higher. With the storm moving over Western Cuba, there may be a slight decrease in intensity but not too much…its pretty flat and the center shouldn’t be over land for too long as it has some decent forward momentum that should not wane. After that, the pressure will probably drop some more and any decrease in intensity will be regained and then some. The National Hurricane Center now increases the storm to 160 mph with it back to 140 at landfall. Keep in mind that the intensity fluctuations at this point will be determined largely by eyewall replacement cycles and cannot be accurately predicted. At this time, other than Cuba, there is nothing in the environment ahead that would suggest to me that there is anything to stop this storm. If I were on the Gulf coast, to the right of the
storm at landfall I would recognize that the area will get an extreme storm surge consistent with a Category 5 hurricane, regardless of what the actual intensity is at landfall.
The landfall estimate remains generally consistent toward the SE Louisiana Coast from along the east side of Vermillion Bay toward Fort Polk. A pretty decent storm surge may affect New Orleans. The more the storm deviates from the path to the east, the greater the risk for a surge up Lake Borgne (similar to Katrina) becomes. The farther west the storm deviates from the path to the west, th less the risk. I’ve gotten emails from folks in South Louisiana. I am still not convinced that this track is Gospel and many variables remain as to the track of the storm, but I can’t find anything regarding the intensity that would make this less ferocious. As for now, given the current official forecast, if you live anywhere from Pecan Island to Boothville, I would not mess with this storm. I’ve seen the slosh model computer predictions and you cannot believe how far the models take the Gulf of Mexico inland with this type of storm. Gustav is currently the most powerful force on the face of the earth and you cannot win if it maintains this intensity or increases. If you think I’m trying to scare you, I am. I saw what Camille did in 1969 first hand. Its why I got into Meteorology. I went to Mississippi and New Orleans after Katrina to rebuild houses. People in Mississippi said “we didn’t think the water would come up this far.” Be like “The Who” and don’t get fooled again. The latest spaghetti models won’t come out for awhile. For now here’s the NHC 2pm discussion.
HURRICANE GUSTAV SPECIAL DISCUSSION NUMBER 24
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL072008
200 PM EDT SAT AUG 30 2008
SO MUCH FOR A SLOWDOWN IN THE INTENSIFICATION RATE OF GUSTAV.
YESTERDAY AT THIS TIME WE CONVEYED THAT RAPID INTENSIFICATION OVER
THE NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN WAS POSSIBLE…BUT THIS IS A LITTLE MORE
THAN WHAT WE HAD IN MIND IN SUCH A SHORT TIME. THE HURRICANE HAS
REACHED CATEGORY FOUR STATUS WITH AN INTENSITY OF 125 KT…HAVING
BEEN A STRONG TROPICAL STORM JUST ABOUT 24 HOURS AGO. THE MAXIMUM
SURFACE WIND VALUE IS BASED ON A FLIGHT-LEVEL WIND AT 700 MB OF 141
KT…SINCE THE 90 PERCENT ADJUSTMENT TO THE SURFACE USUALLY WORKS
RATHER WELL FOR INTENSIFYING MAJOR HURRICANES. THE AIRCRAFT FIXES
INDICATE THAT A NORTHWESTWARD MOTION HAS RESUMED…AND THE INITIAL
MOTION ESTIMATE IS 315/12…RIGHT ALONG THE PREVIOUS ADVISORY
TRACK. NO CHANGES TO THE 1500 UTC FORECAST TRACK HAVE BEEN
MADE…BUT THE INTENSITY FORECAST HAS BEEN ADJUSTED UPWARD THROUGH
96 HOURS. GUSTAV COULD INTENSIFY SOME MORE DURING THE NEXT FEW
HOURS OVER WATER…AND ONE CANNOT RULE OUT CATEGORY FIVE INTENSITY
BEFORE CROSSING CUBA. THE FORECAST NOW CALLS FOR A PEAK AT 140
KT…CATEGORY FIVE INTENSITY…OVER THE SOUTHERN GULF WHERE OCEAN
HEAT CONTENT WILL STILL BE HIGH…FOLLOWED BY A VERY GRADUAL
WEAKENING OVER THE NORTHERN GULF WHERE OCEAN HEAT CONTENT IS LESS.
FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS
INITIAL 30/1800Z 21.6N 82.5W 125 KT
12HR VT 31/0000Z 22.5N 83.5W 135 KT…OVER WESTERN CUBA
24HR VT 31/1200Z 24.3N 85.4W 140 KT
36HR VT 01/0000Z 26.0N 87.3W 135 KT
48HR VT 01/1200Z 27.8N 89.2W 125 KT
72HR VT 02/1200Z 30.5N 92.5W 80 KT…INLAND
96HR VT 03/1200Z 31.5N 94.0W 50 KT…INLAND
120HR VT 04/1200Z 32.0N 95.5W 30 KT…INLAND