Moving on to the tropics after discussing the local weather for a bit, we finally have some tranquility in the Atlantic as both Matthew and Lisa dissipated to remnant lows. Indications were late last week that Matthew was going to have some sort of impact on the United States. However, the scenario never came to fruition because of Matthew’s continued westward movement into Central America.
The models, however, are still looking for some kind of tropical entity impacting the United States later this week. There are still some clouds, showers, and thunderstorms over the Western Caribbean. While this storminess is still disorganized, there is still a chance that this could materialize into a tropical cyclone. Remember, the Western Caribbean is a prime area for development throughout the Atlantic hurricane season, especially in the beginning and end of the season. Sea surface temperatures and upper level wind patterns are very ideal for tropical formation.
In addition, there is still an opening for a tropical system to make a trek into Florida, the Southeastern United States, and points northward along the East Coast. A significant dip in the jet stream is beginning to take shape over the eastern half of the United States. Significant temperature changes are in store this week with highs expected to drop into the 50s by this weekend. This change is going to bring along a great deal of rain. Between an inch and a half to three inches of rain is expected in Central Jersey on Monday and Tuesday. The trough is going to split the ridge over the Southern United States in half, and provide an opportunity for a depression or storm to impact at least Florida and the Southeastern United States.
We’ll have to see if this comes about. While it would be a good idea to pay close attention to developments in the Western Caribbean, keep in mind that this disturbance may be too far south, and end up like Matthew by becoming a big rainmaker for Central America.
Hurricane Fades Into Extratropical Storm, But Not Before Becoming Largest Atlantic Storm Ever And Hammering Newfoundland
The tropics are going through a bit of a transition period right now. A very strong dip in the jet stream in the Eastern Atlantic is hindering development off Africa as perhaps we’ve seen an end of the Cape Verde season. However, we still do have Tropical Storm Lisa as well as a disturbance that is trying to get organized in the Caribbean. The Caribbean feature will be one worth watching in the coming days. In the meantime though, we would like to give a wrap up on Hurricane Igor, which finally left the scene within the past 24 hours.
Igor, the most powerful system to date in the Atlantic this season, became the largest hurricane of all time with a diameter of 1,040 miles wide. The previous mark was set by Hurricane Olga back in 2001 with 863 miles. The largest tropical cyclone ever in the world was Typhoon Tip with 1,380 miles. Tip is also the strongest storm ever recorded with 870 millibars, or 25.69 inches of Hg (Mercury) for a minimum central pressure and winds sustained at 190 miles per hour back in October 1979. At the time of the last advisory, hurricane force winds extended some 85 miles from the eye while tropical storm force winds extended some 520 miles. Igor passed just to the west of Bermuda lashing the tiny resort island in the Western Atlantic with 75 mile per hour winds late Sunday night.
The vast system kept going, and actually gained strength on Monday with maximum sustained winds climbing back to 80 miles per hour while barometric pressure dipped to 950 millibars, or 28.05 inches of Hg. The transition to an extratropical system provided additional energy that helped made the storm more powerful. Gusts up to hurricane force were reported over portions of the Canadian Maritime province of Newfoundland, which was hit quite hard by the storm. Winds gusted to 96 miles per hour with flooding rains. Some roads were completely washed out. Trees were uprooted. Small buildings such as sheds were blown down while traffic lights swayed in the wind.
Good afternoon again everyone. Today, something very rare happened in the tropics. True that we have three tropical systems going on at the same time, which is no small feat. But there’s more. With Hurricane Igor maintaining its Category Four intensity on the Saffir-Simpson Scale in the Central Atlantic, and Hurricane Julia rapidly strengthening to a Category Four storm this morning in the Eastern Atlantic. It was the first time since 1926 that there have been two Category Four storms at the same time.
The last time it happened with all the records that we’ve had since 1851 was on September 16, 1926. It only happened for a six hour period as well in the morning on that day. One of those two storms was the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926, which made landfall two days later with winds of 135 miles per hour, and a minimum central pressure of 935 millibars, or 27.61 inches of Hg. It is amazing with all the tools that we have at our disposal to monitor these systems that this is the first time in almost 80 years that this has happened. One thing that hinders accurate recording of such things is the fact that no flights can be made into tropical storms and hurricanes in the Eastern Atlantic. The data on Igor and Julia is really based on estimates from satellite interpretations.
Looking at some other historical data, other storms that were in the same location as Hurricane Igor on this date were Hurricane Diane (1955), the first billion dollar hurricane, and Hurricane Gabrielle (1989), which went out to sea. Only five named storms have existed in the same location as Hurricane Julia, and two recent and significant storms existed in the same location as Tropical Storm Kyle in Hurricane Keith (2000) and Hurricane Dean (2007). Dean was one of the last Category Five Hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin. We’ve just past the statistical peak of the Atlantic Season (September 10th), but things are still very busy.
Looking at storms that have formed on this date in Hurricaneville History, there were nine storms that formed on September 15th since 1851. Only one was a major hurricane at landfall, but another storm that emerged on this date that many may remember was Hurricane Georges, which was a powerful hurricane at one point before making landfall in the Central Gulf as a Category Two Hurricane. Of the nine storms that formed on this date, five of them became hurricanes.
The Garden State’s Position Along East Coast Along With Cooler Waters Make It Difficult For Hurricanes To Strike
As we bid adieu to Earl, many are left to wonder what happened? Why didn’t this storm live up to its potential. The media and weather experts had indicated a huge storm for not only New Jersey, but the entire East Coast. Let’s just focus on the Jersey side of it though. Hurricane Earl was the strongest hurricane of the 2010 Atlantic season to date so far with 145 mile per hour winds, and a minimum central pressure of 928 millibars. However, as it moved up the coast, it lost its punch. Earl weakened to a minimal Category One Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale by the time it got up in the vicinity of Long Island and the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts on Friday.
Hurricanes are rare in New Jersey. You have to go all the way back nearly 200 years for the last time a major hurricane struck the Garden State. The Great Hurricane of 1821 was that storm. A Category Four storm, that hurricane came up through Delaware Bay, came ashore near Cape May, and moved up the state along a path where the Garden State Parkway lies today. Even such east coast storms such as Bob (1991), Gloria (1985), and the Long Island Express of 1938 took tracks east of New Jersey. Those storms were either farther out to sea, or had Jersey on the weaker western side of the storm.
There are several reasons why it is so tough to have a Jersey hurricane, and they are the following:
- New Jersey’s orientation along the East Coast of the United States.
- Sea surface temperatures along the Mid-Atlantic.
- Influence of the Jet Stream.
- Forward motion and track of East Coast hurricanes.
Garden State’s Orientation
Take a look at the map of the United States, particularly the East Coast. Places that do get a lot of tropical storms and hurricanes are usually places along the coast that stick out. Take Florida for instance. The Sunshine State juts out from the Southeastern United States like a sore thumb, and that’s why it gets the most hurricanes. Another spot that sticks out along the United States east coast is the Outer Banks of North Carolina, which even dodged a bullet from this latest storm. And, when you get farther north into our lattitude, you have Long Island and the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts, but even those areas were spared from this storm. From North Carolina through the Mid-Atlantic including New Jersey, the coastline bends inward so places like Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey don’t get directly impacted by major hurricanes.
Mid-Atlantic Sea Surface Temperatures
The heat engine of a hurricane needs warm water to fuel it. Sea surface temperatures have to be 80 degrees or warmer for a hurricane to either sustain itself, or intensify. Once you get north of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, the water temperatures drop below 80 degrees. Even though they don’t drop much, it is enough to make a difference. Especially, if the storm is a slow moving one. Earl really didn’t start picking up in forward speed until Friday afternoon, so the storm spent more time over the relatively cooler waters, and thus, lost its punch. If it was a fast moving hurricane, it would have been able to sustain more of its power since it wasn’t spending a lot of time over the cooler waters. Hurricane Gloria and the Long Island Express of 1938 are prime examples of this.
Jet Stream Influence
Hurricanes are a different breed from the type of storms that we normally see here in the Northeast. Most weather systems in the United States move west to east. Hurricanes and tropical storms normally move east to west. They exploit weaknesses in circulation patterns. For example, if you had been watching the Weather Channel earlier this week, you may have noticed the superb breakdown and analysis given by Bryan Norcross on what was steering Earl. The monster storm had been on a westward and northwestward track for much of the week because it had been under the steering influence of the subtropical high pressure ridge in the Western Atlantic. However, late Thursday and Friday, the storm moved to the edge of that ridge, and now had an opening to move northward. This is where the Jet Stream began to become a player. A trough of low pressure created by a frontal boundary that was bringing the coolest weather in a while to the eastern third of the country began to move in. The trough gave Earl the kick to the east that kept it away from the Jersey coast.
General Track Of East Coast Hurricanes
Depending on the angle that a trough makes in the jet stream, an East Coast hurricane usually moves north to northeast along the coastline, and that means that in a lot of cases, the Jersey Shore is on the weaker western side of the storm. Hurricanes have a counterclockwise flow around their centers, or eyes. As a result, the strongest portion of a hurricane is the Northeast quadrant. The western semicircle is the weaker side, especially in a rapidly accelerating storm, where the forward motion subtracts from the wind speed.
All of these factors make it very difficult for a major hurricane to strike along the coastline of New Jersey. However, as the Great Hurricane of 1821 proved, it is not impossible. It is only a matter of time. Earl just so happened to be a best case scenario for much of the East Coast of the United States.
Good evening everyone. Sorry that I’ve not updated the site earlier in the evening, but I was hard at work preparing for this particular blog post. Part of the work involved getting my hurricane tracking software to load on my computer. I had some struggles getting it installed, and I also tried to find other tracking software. I guess I’m going to have to get an iPad to get the latest and greatest hurricane tracking software for a Mac. Well, anyway, I’ll get into this later.
The reason I was looking to get my hurricane tracking software running was because I had seen on the Weather Channel, historic tracks of hurricanes that impacted the East Coast of the United States from North Carolina to New England. Some of those tracks included the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944, Hurricane Gloria, Hurricane Bob (1991), Hurricane Emily (1993), and Hurricane Alex (2004). Well, the segment got me thinking. So, I first went to my database on Hurricaneville to find storms that existed close by to Earl’s current location.
I found in that group, Hurricane Connie (1955), Hurricane Betsy (1965), and Hurricane Edna (1953). These storms were located within one degree of latitude and one degree of longitude of where Earl is presently located. This was using the coordinates from Earl’s 8:00 PM EDT Advisory on Tuesday night. Then, I went into my storm tracking software, Eye of the Storm 3000 to go a bit deeper. First I searched for storms that were within 25 nautical miles of the position Earl was in earlier this evening. Here is a map of tracks from several storms that were included in the bunch that I found in the query.
Connie was a storm in 1955 that made landfall along the North Carolina coast, and moved inland. Betsy was a storm from 1965 that followed a similar track to Hurricane Andrew in 1992. It went across South Florida, and then went into the Central Gulf Coast flooding much of New Orleans. You could even compare that track to Hurricane Katrina, which came across Florida as well, but as a much weaker storm. Edna was a storm from 1953 that steered out to sea as well as Hurricane Marilyn, which was a devastating Category Three Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale that hit the Northeast Caribbean before turning out to sea in 1995. Marilyn followed right on the heels of another devastating storm, Hurricane Luis.
I then went another 25 miles and got several more interesting storms including Hurricane Hugo (1989), Hurricane Floyd (1999), and Hurricane Gloria (1985). All three of these storms were ones that I could remember very well. All three had some sort of impact on the East Coast of the United States. Hugo strengthened rapidly over the Gulf Stream after weakening while assaulting Puerto Rico. It then crashed ashore near Charleston, South Carolina with winds of 140 miles per hour on September 22, 1989. Hurricane Floyd was more of a rainmaker, but for a while, it created tremendous trouble along the East Coast of the United States. Floyd created the largest peace time evacuation in United States history as some 3 million people were on the move to try and escape the storm. After having winds of 150 miles per hour east of Florida, the storm weakened, but it caused tremendous flooding in North Carolina and New Jersey. after making landfall on September 16, 1999. Gloria was originally dubbed the “Storm of the Century” at one point, and had winds of 150 mph before weakening to just have winds of 110 miles per hour when it hit the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and went up into Long Island and New England on September 27, 1985.
Then, I went another 50 miles out to find several notable storms within 100 miles of the current location of Earl. Fran was another storm from the recent uptick in tropical activity since 1995. It was a Category Three Hurricane that slammed into the Wilmington, North Carolina area of the U.S. East Coast, and proceeded to move inland across the Tar Heel State in September 1996. Hurricane Donna was a Category Five Hurricane at one point, and menaced the East Coast of the United States after affecting Bahamas and Florida before impacting the Carolinas and New England in 1960. Finally, we have Hurricane Ione, which was included in a series of storms in 1955 that impacted the Carolinas.
Then, I took three pre-1950 era storms that were within 100 miles of Earl’s 8:00 PM EDT location, and found the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 (Storm #2), the Long Island Express of 1938 (Storm #4), and the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944 (Storm #3). The Labor Day Hurricane was the first Category Five storm on record to impact the mainland United States. The storm headed west across the Bahamas, and then into the Florida Keys destroying the Florida East Coast Railroad, and killing some 400 people including many World War I Veterans, who were working in the Keys. The Long Island Express was a devastating Category Three Storm that roared up the East Coast at near 70 miles per hour before it came ashore in Long Island and New England. The storm caused tremendous damage, and left some 600 people dead. Finally, the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944 followed a path up the East Coast as well causing $100 million dollars in damage at the time, and leaving some 390 people dead.
Other historic storms that have traveled up the Eastern Seaboard include the Great Hurricane of 1821, which was the last major hurricane to directly impact New Jersey, and the Great Hurricane of 1815.
This weekend marks the fifth year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall along the Central Gulf Coast of the United States. The storm made landfall near Buras, Louisiana as a Category Three Hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour. Even though the storm weakened from a monster Category Five Hurricane with winds of 175 miles per hour, and a minimum central pressure of 26.64 inches of Hg, or 902 millibars, it still generated 48 foot seas, and a storm surge of 27 feet above normal along the Mississippi coast, a record surge for the United States. Over 1,800 people were left dead, and $81 billion in damage was left in the storm’s wake.
It left much of New Orleans including the Lower Ninth Ward underwater after the levee system surrounding the Crescent City had failed. The failures had occurred just when many thought that New Orleans had been spared much of the damage from the storm. Katrina had made two landfalls. After it came ashore near Buras, Louisiana, the storm struck the coast again near the Louisiana/Mississippi border. So, New Orleans was on the weaker western side. In addition, Katrina had weakened significantly before making landfall. As bad as things ultimately came out there, it could have been much worse. However, it was no consolation to those that were stuck in the Superdome, the Convention Center, or even worse, on the tops of roofs, which suffered miserably from the lack of a prompt and coordinated response between local, state, and national agencies.
New Orleans has made some progress in the five years since, but it still has a long way to go. Some people are more optimistic now as the music, food, and culture that has made this city well known throughout the world, is returning. A recent poll indicated that nearly 70 percent of residents in the city believe New Orleans is making progress. But, there are still people trying to rebuild, and get their homes back. To add insult to injury, there was the recent BP/Transocean Oil Rig explosion that cause a massive hemorrhaging of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, and some of that came ashore along the Bayou Country of Plaquemines Parish, which was also submerged by the storm as well as other regions along the Gulf Coast.
Much of the focus of the aftermath is made on New Orleans, but there are coastal communities along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast that are still trying to rebuild. Coastal towns and cities such as Biloxi, Gulfport, Pascagoula, Pass Christian, Waveland, Bay St. Louis, Ocean Springs, and Gautier are still in the process of rebuilding. Much of the population of Biloxi has been reduced, especially in the eastern portion of the city. These areas, which were also hit by another Category Five storm, Hurricane Camille, in August 1969, were hit much worse than New Orleans since they all lied on the stronger eastern side of the hurricane. Many of these communities were hit worse by Katrina than by Camille. Katrina was a much larger storm, and had stirred up the seas in the Gulf of Mexico for several days before finally making landfall.
Hurricane Katrina was one of two major hurricanes to strike Louisiana in 2005. Hurricane Rita came ashore in the area of Southwestern Louisiana several weeks later. Rita was another powerful storm in the Gulf that was influenced by the Loop Current in that region. It surpassed not only Katrina, but also Hurricane Allen as the fourth strongest hurricane on record in the Atlantic Basin. There was another huge storm that year as Wilma became the strongest storm on record in October that year.
The 2005 season was the most active on record with 28 named storms, 15 hurricanes, and 7 major hurricanes. Four of those major storms reached Category Five intensity. The previous mark for named storms was 21 back in 1933, and 12 for hurricanes in 1969. The mark for major hurricanes is eight set in 1950.
Good afternoon everyone. Sorry that I haven’t posted anything to the home page, or the blog in the past 24 hours or so, but I’ve been busy working on putting together some video from my time lapse photography, and that I filmed at Sea Bright on Friday. I hope to have those up on the site, and in the blog soon. I’ve also been dealing with a bad back that I had mentioned to all of you earlier in the week.
The back problems I’ve had date all the way back to February 2004 when I slipped and fell outside a high school gym after covering a basketball game for my other site, GMC Hoops. The problem didn’t really start to become significant until about a year and a half later in August 2005. Since that time, I’ve had periodic bouts with this problem, but it always eventually gets better. I would have to say that this episode is perhaps the worst since the episode in August 2005. But, I’ve managed to get the home page updated just a little while ago, and plan to do another update after I get this post done, and upload my time lapse video.
In the past 24 to 36 hours, Hurricane Ike has become more of a menace in the Tropical Atlantic. Being the only show in town now with the exception of the remnants of Josephine, which are still hanging on in the Central Atlantic albeit by a thread, Ike has re-intensified as projected, and as of the 2:00 PM Advisory from the National Hurricane Center, was a Category Four Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale with maximum sustained winds back up to 135 miles per hour. It has since weakened to 120 miles per hour.
We’ll have more on Ike in a little bit, but our focus right now is on Tropical Storm Hanna’s trip through the Garden State on Saturday. Hanna, if you recall, made landfall along the United States coast at the border between North and South Carolina at 3:20 AM on Saturday morning as a strong storm, and almost a minimal hurricane. It then rapidly moved up the East Coast of the United States with a forward speed to the Northeast at 28 miles per hour. It rolled through North Carolina during the morning hours, and was just Northeast of Williamsburg, Virginia at 2:00 PM EDT, and then at 5:00 PM EDT, the storm was just east of Cambridge Maryland.
Hanna finally started moving through New Jersey at about 8:00 PM EDT as it was located near Atlantic City, and actually increased slightly in strength to have maximum sustained winds of 55 miles per hour. As you will see in the time lapse video that I’m putting together, the weather in Central Jersey began to get wild and wooly at about 1:30 PM to 2:00 PM in the afternoon. A feeder band from Hanna had already passed through during the night, and humid conditions had prevailed early Saturday morning, but things were calm until the early afternoon.
According to the data compiled from the GWC WX Station, the high temperature reached 79.5 degrees at 12:30 PM. Rainfall amounts tallied up to 3.25 inches including 0.33 inches that fell in just a ten minute span. Winds gusted to about 13 miles per hour, but keep in mind that the weather station is in an area obstructed by houses and trees. The barometer dropped some .61 inches from Friday afternoon to Saturday evening as pressure bottomed out at 29.34 inches of Hg, or about 994 millibars. Aside from the .33 inches of rain that fell in just ten minutes during the day on Saturday, there were other intervals that saw well over a tenth of an inch of rain. The data collected from Hanna on Saturday revealed that there were 12 intervals with a tenth of an inch or more of rain.
Tropical Storm Hanna brought power outages, flooding, gusty winds, and beach erosion, but it wasn’t as bad as earlier indicated. The forecast on Friday had called for 4 to 8 inches of rain for portions of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, but actual amounts ended up between 2 to 4 inches due to the rapid movement of the storm. Rainfall amounts could have been much worse had Hanna slowed down. One of the big reasons why Floyd was such a damaging storm was the fact that it moved more slowly through the region. Sunday brought pleasant weather to Central Jersey as well as the rest of the Northeast, and you wouldn’t have known that a storm blew through a day earlier.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav’s landfall along the Louisiana coast on Tuesday, there is somewhat of a big sigh of relief, particularly in New Orleans. Gustav continued to weaken up and until landfall by mid-morning on Monday, and that along with the fact that it reached the shoreline a bit further out of the reach of New Orleans may have saved the Big Easy. However, there is still more time that needs to go by with no problems before we can say that the coast is clear.
If you recall, immediately after Hurricane Katrina crashed ashore first in Buras and then along the Louisiana and Mississippi border some three years ago, there was relief. Then, a few hours later, the first reports of the levees being breached came in. Within hours after that, the flood waters began to overwhelm the city, and one of the biggest nightmares in United States History began to unfold in shocking detail.
There was already some problems with a levee down in Plaquemines Parish to the Southeast of New Orleans. Flood waters from the surge and heavy rains produced by Gustav had eroded the levee significantly, and forced residents and officials down there to do whatever they could to sandbag it, and reinforce it so that it wouldn’t give way, and let the flood waters break through. Other levees were topped by the surging waters, and there was reports of flooding in the Upper Ninth Ward not the Lower Ninth Ward, which went down in infamy following Katrina.
Hopefully, the coming days will reveal that New Orleans and its surrounding parishes survived the test brought on by Gustav. However, critics will charge that Gustav didn’t provide as much of a test, and that this beleaguered region will still be in limbo on whether or not it is capable of withstanding the next big storm to come directly at it.
As America wakes up on this Labor Day, it sees another serious situation unfolding along the Louisiana coast. Reminders of what occurred three years ago are echoing across televisions throughout the country as the media traveled down to New Orleans to see whether or not the city and the United States for that matter, have learned their lessons from Hurricane Katrina and the storm’s aftermath in late August and early September 2005.
Hurricane Gustav is not the same storm that it was when it raked the Isle of Youth and villages across Western Cuba on Saturday. The storm has struggled to find itself after crossing Western Cuba following a rapid intensification from early Friday into the late afternoon on Saturday. So, like Katrina, it gave the Central Gulf Coast region a break. Nevertheless, the storm is heading to a landfall west of the city of New Orleans, which means the Big Easy will be in the dangerous right front quadrant of Gustav. Still a major hurricane, Gustav has winds sustained at 115 miles per hour. The overall structure of Gustav has become elongated, ragged, and less symmetrical that it was at peak intensity on Saturday afternoon, but it still can pack a powerful wallop.
Heeding the warning this time, people left New Orleans in droves this weekend. As a matter of fact, much of Louisiana was on the move. In the largest evacuation the state has ever experienced, 1.9 million people in Louisiana left their homes for higher and safer ground. It was an evacuation that rivaled that of the one along the Southeast prior to Hurricane Floyd in 1999, which was the largest peacetime evacuation in the history of the United States. The last mass exodus in the Gulf Coast that measured up to the one this weekend was during another Labor Day storm, Hurricane Elena back in 1985. However, Elena was much more erratic in its motion, which was the cause for a lot of the movement by anxious coastal residents.
There has been a lot of discussion about how the levee system will hold up as well as the new gated system that has been implemented in parts of the city of New Orleans. In light of what was found in the wake of Katrina, the Army Corps of Engineers, like FEMA, are under much scrutiny. Let’s face facts, the last time, it was basically a man-made disaster. This time, mother nature is going to throw more at New Orleans. We’ll find out very quickly whether or not the city has passed the test, and the modifications, if any, can withstand what Gustav dishes out. I’m pessimistic. It has only been three years, and there have already been instances where, corners have been cut, but we’ll see.
On Friday, this site as well as the rest of the country reflected on the third year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall along the Gulf Coast. The storm holds the mark as the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history with some $80 billion dollars in damage while claiming some 1,833 lives. Now, in a bitter twist of irony, the same region is in the crosshairs again with a menacing storm named Gustav.
In a period of 39 hours, just more than a day and a half, Hurricane Gustav grew from a strong tropical storm to the fringes of Category Five intensity with 150 mile per hour winds. Thankfully, the storm moved over the Isle of Youth and Western Cuba, which put a halt to the momentum the storm had gained from its rapid intensification. Nevertheless, Gustav still has winds of 125 miles per hour, which still makes it a very formidable Category Three Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.
On top of that, the storm is back over water, and not just any body of water, but the very warm water of the Gulf of Mexico. Located approximately 425 miles from the Mouth of the Mississippi River, Hurricane Gustav has plenty of warm water real estate to cover before it comes ashore somewhere along the Central Gulf Coast. Presently, a Hurricane Warning is in effect from Cameron, Louisiana eastward to the Alabama/Florida border including the City of New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain. A Hurricane Watch is in effect from west of Cameron, ground zero for such powerful storms as Hurricane Audrey back in 1957, westward to High Island, Texas. The storm is moving quite briskly to the Northwest at 16 miles per hour as of the 5 AM EDT Advisory on Sunday morning.
A large ridge of high pressure, which is supposed to usher in very nice weather for the Northeast this week, may be the saving grace for New Orleans. The Big Easy, which honestly is in now condition to have another major hurricane knocking down its doors, especially since the brunt of Katrina ended up well east of the city, and thanks to a man-made disaster, it lay in ruin. A major hurricane making landfall west of New Orleans would be the doomsday scenario everybody has dreaded for years. It could be the end of a major American metropolis much like what happened to Indianola, Texas back in the 1880s, and its rival city Galveston some 30 years later. It would be a very crippling blow to the Crescent City to say the least. Two things actually saved New Orleans in Katrina. The first was the already mentioned fact that the storm’s strongest part, the eastern semicircle was well to the east, and the second was the fact that Katrina had weakened significantly prior to landfall.
Cuba’s rugged terrain may have put a temporary halt to Gustav’s march on New Orleans. Could Gustav regain itself, and become the monster Katrina was some three years ago? Only time will tell.
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