Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New kid on the block

With all of the trouble that we have had with Fay, there has scarcely been time to discuss the fact that Gustav blew up yesterday and overnight. This time yesterday, Gustav was nothing more than a tropical wave. Now he is a full-fledged hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour and a minimum central pressure of 984 millibars as of 5 am Eastern Time. In the immortal words of Gomer Pyle, "Shazam!"

In all seriousness, I am extremely concerned about Gustav. He will likely be a powerful hurricane in the southern Gulf of Mexico by Tuesday Morning, directly south of Apalachicola, Florida. Everyone in the Gulf Coast states should start making mental preparations for what could be a nervous week next week. Below is this morning''s discussion from the National Hurricane Center.


HURRICANE GUSTAV DISCUSSION NUMBER   5
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL072008
500 AM EDT TUE AUG 26 2008

GUSTAV HAS CONTINUED TO INTENSIFY DURING THE LATE NIGHT HOURS. AN
AIR FORCE RESERVE RECONNAISSANCE MISSION HAS FOUND FLIGHT-LEVEL
WINDS OF 90 KT...PEAK SFMR SURFACE WINDS OF 76 KT...AND A RECENT
ESTIMATED PRESSURE OF 984 MB. THE INITIAL INTENSITY IS
CONSERVATIVELY RAISED TO 75 KT. SATELLITE IMAGES SHOW AN ORGANIZING
PATTERN WITH A CENTRAL DENSE OVERCAST BECOMING MORE PROMINENT AND
GUSTAV IS LIKELY NOT DONE INTENSIFYING BEFORE IT PASSES OVER
SOUTHWESTERN HAITI LATER TODAY. SOME WEAKENING IS SHOWN IN 24 HR
DUE TO THE LAND INTERACTION WITH HAITI. THEREAFTER...THE HURRICANE
IS FORECAST TO BE OVER EXTREMELY WARM WATERS WITH RELATIVELY LIGHT
SHEAR. THE OFFICIAL INTENSITY FORECAST IS INCREASED AND NOW CALLS
FOR GUSTAV TO BE A MAJOR HURRICANE IN THE NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN
SEA. IT IS WORTH NOTING THAT BOTH THE GFDL/HWRF FORECAST SHOW AN
EVEN STRONGER HURRICANE. MOST INDICATIONS ARE THAT GUSTAV WILL BE
AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS HURRICANE IN THE NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA
IN A FEW DAYS.

THE INITIAL MOTION ESTIMATE IS 315/8...THOUGH GUSTAV MAY RECENTLY BE
MOVING A BIT MORE TO THE RIGHT. THE BIGGEST CHANGE TO NOTE THIS
MORNING IS A DRAMATIC SOUTHWESTWARD SHIFT WITH ALMOST ALL GUIDANCE.
A LARGE UPPER TROUGH OVER THE WESTERN ATLANTIC IS EXPECTED TO MOVE
EAST AWAY FROM GUSTAV...LEAVING RIDGING OVER THE BAHAMAS AND
FLORIDA. GLOBAL MODELS HAVE COME INTO MUCH BETTER AGREEMENT THAT
THE HURRICANE WILL TURN TO THE WEST-NORTHWEST OR EVEN WEST IN A DAY
OR SO DUE TO THIS BUILDING RIDGE. THE OFFICIAL FORECAST HAS BEEN
ADJUSTED SOUTHWESTWARD BEYOND 24 HR BUT IS STILL ON THE NORTHERN
EDGE OF THE GUIDANCE ENVELOPE. THE FORECAST COULD HAVE BEEN
SHIFTED EVEN MORE TO THE LEFT BUT WE'D PREFER TO WAIT UNTIL THE
GUIDANCE BECOMES MORE STABLE.

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