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.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tropical Storm Gustav growing and deadly

Hurricane Gustav caused over 22 deaths as it slammed into Haiti and the Dominican Republic as a category 1 hurricane Tuesday. Interaction with the mountains of Hispanolia reduced Gustav to a tropical storm with winds of 60 MPH but the flooding and mudslides have already created havoc.

As Gustav crosses the warm waters of the western Caribbean and then enters the Gulf, he will strengthen back to a hurricane and intensify to a major category 3 storm or higher.

Gustav is going to strengthen into a major hurricane, and it will reach the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday. Before it reaches the Gulf, it is going to cause some pretty harsh weather through the Caribbean. During the next 72 hours, the center of the storm will be tracking close to Cuba, Jamaica, the Caymans and the northern
Yucatan. All these places will experience high winds and heavy rain though none
of them may be hit directly.

A stronger storm is a certainty. Wind shear, which commonly weakens tropical systems, is non-existent where the storm is gathering forces. In other words, there are no mid-latitude winds that would directly oppose the storm's circulation. Furthermore, Gustav will be tracking over the warm Caribbean which is a storehouse of energy. In the end, it is the heat extracted from the ocean that drives the powerful winds of a storm like this.

After Sunday, the track of the storm becomes increasingly uncertain, and landfall early next week could be anywhere between Brownsville, Texas, and Mobile, Ala.

Story by AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist John Kocet.

The predicted storm path is taking Gustav directly into the same area that was so heavily affected by Katrina and Rita. The track puts the highest probability of landfall between Houston and New Orleans. Gustav's current forward speed is only 7 MPH. A slow moving storm has more of a chance to strengthen by increasing the time that the storm stays in the warm waters compared to a faster moving storm.

In anticipation of Gustav's landing, Louisiana has already delcared a state of emergency activating 3,000 NAtional Guard Troops. Evacuation plans are already being made in the event that evacuations are necessary early next week.

Gov. Bobby Jindal declares pre-storm state of emergency (NOLA Times Picayune)

New Orleans officials began planning a possible mandatory evacuation (KHOU)

Galveston officials keeping eye on Gustav (KHOU)

Still haunted by Katrina, New Orleans not taking chances
Days away from the 2005 hurricane's anniversary, city may evacuate ahead of Gustav
(Houston Chronicle)

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