Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday mid-day Gustav update

Woke up this morning to find that Gustav is yet another example of why it is so hard to forecast hurricanes, even when the factors seem to be fairly well known. After crossing Cuba, Gustav has not (yet) been able to get it's act back together as well as we thought this time yesterday. The storm structure is somewhat ragged with an elliptical eye all but obscured on satellite, dry air is beginning to wrap into the storm, and upper-level shear is starting to increase slightly. In addition, it's pretty much over the most favorable water it will encounter between now and landfall.

Given all this, Gustav is still powerful and impressive in size. Tropical storm conditions can be felt as far away as 200 miles from the center, meaning these conditions will begin affecting the immediate Gulf coast overnight tonight. The NHC is predicting landfall by early afternoon tomorrow (Monday) along the central Louisiana coast as a major (Cat 3) storm. Hurricane Warnings are posted for the LA, MS, and AL coastlines and the entire city of New Orleans is under mandatory evacuation. Here in Memphis, Amtrak is bringing up to 3,600 NoLa residents to shelters until the storm passes. Seems federal, state, and local agencies are being a little more proactive this time around after the disastrous response to Katrina.

The track of Gustav is the one thing that has changed little, at least through landfall. It is still expected to quickly move over the south-central LA coast tomorrow and then slow fairly dramatically Tuesday as it turns WNW or W towards west-central LA and eastern TX. The track beyond about 48 hours is difficult to place as models are having a hard time with a slow-moving Gustav. With a more westerly track into TX favored, this would mean lower rain chances for the Mid-South, but I do expect we'll see enough cloud cover to hold down daytime temps during the first half of the week. In fact, cirrus clouds along Gustav's outer periphery are already encroaching on the area and a steady easterly wind will pick up tomorrow. Look for scattered showers and t'storms for possibly a good portion of the upcoming week, depending on the track of Gustav's remnants.
I have posted a new Tropical page on that you will want to check out that has the latest satellite and radar imagery, forecast tracks, and Hurricane Center bulletins. Find it here or go to and click the link on the front page.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent Tropical page, Erik. Keep up the great work. Enjoyed our visit last week!!