Posted at 7:48 AM on August 26, 2008
by Paul Huttner
Active Atlantic pattern
Enter Hurricane Gustav. This one looks nasty from the get go.
Every tropical cyclone has its own identity and personality. Gustav has a scary sounding name, and looks to be a scary hurricane. The storm's compact nature reminded me of Andrew at first glance. Gustav may not reach Category 5 like Andrew did, but it has a shot. And it has a better shot at becoming a major hurricane in the next 4 days.
Several factors favor strengthening for Gustav.
-Warm tropical waters in the mid 80's which are common this time of year.
-Little wind shear allows the hurricane to develop impressive outflow
-The latest track has less interaction with land masses by taking the center of Gustav to the south of Cuba.
Most of the forecast models have Gustav emerging into the Gulf of Mexico by Sunday. NHC thinks Gustav will become at least a Category 3 hurricane, and could go higher. Once a hurricane gets into the Gulf north of a Key West line, the chances of a U.S. land fall are extremely high. Gustav may become a major U.S. event next week if the track holds.
The rest of the Atlantic is looking active too. There are more disturbances which may develop in the coming days.
As we approach the peak of hurricane season over the next month it appears we will be very busy. Stay tuned!