Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker

A single source reference on tropical weather predictions. With a traditional focus on the upper Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast we've maintained links to track all Atlantic Basin, Caribbean and eastern Pacific storm systems. We are now expanding our view to tropical storms throughout the world intending to be a comprehensive global storm tracking resource.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Target: New Orleans

The outer rain bands of Hurricane Gustav have started to come ashore in far west Florida, coastal Alabama and southeast Louisiana. All forecast predictions are showing that Gustav will come ashore just west of New Orleans. As a result, the city will recieve the highest winds and strongest storm surge of the storm.

Gustav is currently a Category 3 hurricane with 115 mph winds. The Weather Channel has reported that the central pressure has dropped approximately 20 mbar indicating that some intensification may be occurring but in general Gustav is not expected to strengthen too much. Compared to the beating that Cuba and the Grand Caymans took from the high Cat 4 intensity of Gustav, New Orleans will apparently receive an order of magnitude lower intensity.

We have to keep in mind that Gustav will hit New Orleans with the strongest winds from the northeast quadrant of the storm. As a comparison, when Katrina hit, the city only saw the weaker western side of the storm with high winds of around 75 mph. The problem there was the slamming of the levees from the "back" side. This time will truely be a worst case scenario with a direct hit of the strongest winds.

Landfall is now expected around 1 pm local time (2 pm EDT) with increasing severity throughout the night until the eye crosses the area. As the day goes on, then Gustav is expected to slow down and sweep to the west. It will then become a major inland flooding threat.

Fortunately, the evacuation is essentially complete. 90 - 95% of the people who live in the parishes of southest Louisiana have evacuated including 95% of the city of New Orleans. In additiona to the evacuation, the city and the surrounding parishes are enforcing a curfew as well and anyone remaining in the area will be approached with suspicion by the police. In addition to southeast LA evacuating, southwest LA also evacuated. It is the first time in history that the entire Louisiana coast evacuated simultaneously.

For everyone interested in following Gustav's landing locally, WDSU is now broadcasting nationwide on Direct TV Channel 361 and is available via streaming video on their website.

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