Gustav a strong Category 1 Hurricane
At 10:00am CDT –
– Hurricane warning continues the Dominican Republic. Cuba has issued
a hurricane warning.
– The center of Hurricane Gustav was located 240 miles southeast of
Guantanamo, Cuba. Movement is towards the northeast at 9mph, a
general west-northwest motion is expected within the next 24 hours.
Maximum sustained winds are near 90mph and some strengthening is
possible before Gustav is influenced by Haiti. Minimum surface
pressure Is 981mb.
– Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the center
and tropical storm force winds to 70 miles.
– Interests in the Gulf of Mexico should closely monitor the progress
Gustav continues to organize this morning as it approaches the
Dominican Republic. The current northwest motion is due to a
shortwave trof moving into the Atlantic as noted by the 12z NAM-WRF.
As this trof moves away from the coastline later today, a mid-level
ridge is progged to build north of Gustav. The result should be a
westward motion by this evening. The GFS and NAM are way out to lunch
on their progs. The GFS takes Gustav west-southwest into the southern
Yucatan while the NAM completely loses the circulation. The more
reliable models take Gustav west-northwest along the southern side of
Cuba and into the Gulf of Mexico by Saturday. The general track
through 72 hours looks good and this places Gustav about 200 miles
south of central Cuba Friday morning. After that it is a tossup as to
what Gustav will do. I think we'll see a track close to or just north
of the Yucatan. However, it is way outside of forecasting skills at
this point. The guidance envelope is tightly clustered through 72
hours with some divergence beyond that point. The more reliable
hurricane models continue Gustav to the west-northwest through 120
hours. The apparent landfall window is from Brownsville, Texas to New
Orleans or even farther east. This one will be a tough hurricane to
forecast, as has been the trend this year.
Intensity wise, Gustav is in a very favorable environment to reach Cat
2 or 3 status. The only think holding it back will be periodic
terrain impacts from Dominican Republic and especially Haiti. Once
these areas are cleared mid-day tomorrow, Gustav should strengthen.
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