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August 30, 2008

Strengthening Gustav now a Cat. 3 hurricane

NOAA

As expected, Hurricane Gustav intensified overnight and is now a Cat. 3 hurricane, with top sustained winds of 115 mph. The storm continues on a northwesterly track, headed first for western Cuba, and by early Sunday into the Gulf of Mexico.

That's the 5-day tropical-storm-force wind forecast map above. The winds moving in from the east toward the Bahamas are from Tropical Storm Hanna.

Here is the latest advisory on Gustav, and a 6 a.m. update. Here is the very worrisome forecast storm track, and the view from orbit.

If there is any reassuring news at all this morning, it is that the storm, once it moves into the Gulf, will encounter cooler waters and more wind shear. That should limit its further intensification. But it's not exactly going away. Here's more, from this morning's tropical weather discussion at the hurricane center:

"BY 48 HOURS...ALMOST ALL OF THE GLOBAL MODELS SHOW AN
INCREASE IN VERTICAL WIND SHEAR NEAR GUSTAV. IN ADDITION...SINCE
THE LOOP CURRENT IS SOUTH OF ITS TYPICAL LOCATION...THE HURRICANE
WILL BE MOVING OVER WATERS THAT ARE NOT NEARLY AS CONDUCIVE FOR
STRENGTHENING AS THEY COULD BE. THESE TWO FACTORS WILL HOPEFULLY
WEAKEN THE STORM PRIOR TO U.S. LANDFALL. HOWEVER...GUSTAV IS
EXPECTED TO BE A LARGE AND DANGEROUS HURRICANE AND THE NHC FORECAST
CONTINUES TO SHOW GUSTAV AS A MAJOR HURRICANE AT LANDFALL."

Want more to worry about? There's another storm brewing in the Eastern Atlantic, and forecasters seem to be giving it good chances for developing into a tropical storm in the coming days. Here's the scoop.

Okay. This too gloomy. The best news I can find this morning is that the remains of Tropical Storm Fay have eased the terrible drought that's persisted for a year in the South, and especially in the western Carolinas. Have a look. 

Maybe Gustav and Hanna will do their part, too.  On the other hand, things are worse in Maryland - or they were before Fay finally reached us yesterday. Here's our drought map.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 7:25 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Hurricanes
        

Comments

I thought the Gulf had warm waters, not cool, and that moving into the Gulf meant it slowed, gathered strength and therefore posed a greater threat.

FR: The Gulf waters are warm, but cooler - at least as the storm nears the north Gulf coast - than those immediately around Cuba, where the storm gathered its strength overnight. Here's the satellite map showing the warm water around Cuba.: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/TROP/DATA/RT/SST/ATL/20.jpg That - and greater wind shear in the Gulf - is why forecasters were saying the storm might weaken, or at least not get worse, as it nears the coast.

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff
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