Ike moves into Gulf of Mexico; Texas on alert
After battering Cuba for several days, Hurricane Ike - just barely a hurricane for the moment, has moved off the northwestern tip of the island and entered the Gulf of Mexico. Next stop?
Ike was about 90 miles west-southwest of Havana, moving west-northwest at about 10 mph. Top sustained winds are blowing at 75 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center, just two mph from slipping back into tropical storm range. But Ike somehow managed to retains his core structure, and central pressures remain low, according to the hurricane hunter aircraft. So he is expected to restrengthen over the warm waters and favorable winds along its path across the Gulf.
Some computer models show Ike becoming a major storm again, Cat. 3 or better. But others aren't so persuasive according to the latest discussion from the Hurricane Center. A weakening of the high pressure north of the Gulf suggests that Ike's track will begin to turn to the right a bit after four or five more days, putting the central Texas coast and the oil patch at greater risk.
Check out the Saturday forecast for Port Aransas, Tex.