Posted at 3:13 PM on August 30, 2008
by Craig Edwards
We are watching the emergence of perhaps an historic tropical storm as it rearranges the landscape in western Cuba.
Hurricane Gustav has exploded into a category four hurricane needing to gain only a few more miles per hour in intensity to reach a category five strength. Expert forecasters at NOAA's Hurricane Center are warning that the storm is working with all the right ingredients to further intensify.
Due to the counterclockwise rotation of this large tropical storm and given the possibility that the center could come on shore west of New Orleans, southeast winds of over 100 mph could push a storm surge right up the heart of the city.
Katrina, the catastrophic storm of just three years ago, actually spared the city of the most intense storm surge and winds as it veered east of New Orleans.
As emergency management personnel urge orderly evacuation during the next twenty-four hours, there is still the possibility that the center of Gustav could deviate from the track. Staying put does not appear a risk worth taking.
Track the forecast path and intensity on the Hurricane Center's website, the official government source for tropical storm information.