Tropical Storm Gustav – 2008-6

Gustav Hangin' Tough

At 7:00am CDT –

– Hurricane warnings remain posted for Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

– Hurricane watch remains posted for parts of western Cuba and this
will possibly be upgraded to a warning later today.

– The center of Tropical Storm Gustav was located 200 miles
east-southeast of Grand Cayman. Movement is towards the
west-northwest at 8mph, a turn towards the northwest is expected on
Saturday. Maximum sustained winds are near 65mph and strengthening is
forecast with Gustav becoming a hurricane later today or tomorrow.
Minimum surface pressure is measured at 988mb.

– Tropical storm force winds extend outward to 140 miles from the center.

– NHC and model guidance indicates that Gustav may rapidly strengthen
during the next 48 hours and become a major hurricane on Sunday.

– Tropical Storm Hanna continues well east of the U.S. mainland.
However, the system may threaten the U.S. towards 09/2-09/4 and will
be closely monitored.

– Interest in eastern Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi
should closely monitor the progress of Gustav.

Discussion:

There is no change to the forecast track philosophy as this morning.
Gustav continues to be steered by a high pressure system over Florida
and should turn more northwesterly as it rounds the western side of
said high. NHC noted the expansion of the Bermuda high westward,
which should influence Gustav as the Florida high weakens. The net
impact could be for Gustav to temporarily slow down on Saturday and
then increase speed on Sunday as the Bermuda high impacts the system.
NHC notes that a NOAA Gulf Stream-IV mission will take place to sample
the environment surrounding Gustav. Beyond Sunday Gustav is still
expected to be steered by a ridge to its east. The 06z models and 00z
ECMWF are clustered between Houston and Mobile for landfall. As
stated many times, this is 96 hours out and errors at this time range
can be quite large. There are reliable models on either edge of the
guidance envelope. The GFDL and HWRF have once again locked onto New
Orleans, while the ECMWF heads towards Lake Charles/Beaumont. NHC
splits the difference and does not modify the forecast from central
Louisiana.

It should be noted that the 00z ECMWF brings the remnants of Gustav
into Oklahoma Tuesday evening into Wednesday. Norman NWS this morning
noted this potential and has adjusted the forecast for the 09/02-09/04
for it.

Gustav has managed to hit almost every piece of land between Africa
and the Yucatan, not really but it feels like it. These land impacts
have greatly influenced the intensity forecast. As Gustav is expected
to move west of Jamaica later today, strengthening is forecast. The
models intensity guidance is strongly clustered in the upper Cat 2/low
Cat 3 range within 48-72 hours. This may be conservative and NHC has
gone a little above the model guidance. This would make Gustav a
major hurricane by late Saturday or Sunday as it enters the Gulf of
Mexico. Gustav has shown that it can rapidly organize; and I see
little reason that it won't once it reaches the very warm waters ahead
of it, and the low-shear environment. A mid-level trof is noted by
NHC to the west of Gustav as the tropical system gets into the central
Gulf. This system may or may not cause shear on Gustav. The impacts
are not expected to be that significant, but this will have to be
monitored.

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About Putnam Reiter

Putnam has been storm chasing since 1990 and is a co-founder of Hook-Echo.com. For his day job, Putnam works in emergency management for information technology.
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