The latest computer models indicate a more westerly track for Gustav as it is expected to remain in the Caribbean south of Cuba and either head toward the Yucatan Peninsula or into the Gulf of Mexico. Gustav is expected to strengthen further becoming a major category 3 hurricane (winds greater than 110 mph) over the next few days.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008 – 8:00 AM advisory (from AccuWeather)
A hurricane warning for Hurricane Gustav is in effect in the Dominican Republic for the south coast from Barahona westward to Le Mole St. Nicholas, Haiti.
A hurricane watch is in effect for Haiti from Le Mole St. Nicholas to the northern border with the Dominican Republic.
A hurricane watch is in effect for the Cuban Provinces of Las Tunas, Granma, Holguin, Santiago De Cuba and Guantanamo, and also for Jamaica.
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The center of the storm was near 17.5 north and 72.0 west, or about 75 miles south-southeast of Port Au Prince, Haiti, moving to the northwest at 9 mph. Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 90 mph with higher gusts. This system will continue to strengthen and decrease in forward speed during the next couple of days. Estimated central pressure is 981 mb, or 28.97 inches.
The storm will bring heavy rain to Hispaniola and eastern Cuba during the next couple of days as it moves north, then more westerly. Rainfall totals are expected to average 5 to 7 inches, and local amounts up to 24 inches are possible over the higher terrain. Life-threatening flash flooding and mud slides will be a big concern.
After affecting Hispaniola and then southeastern Cuba today into Wednesday, the future track of Gustav may take on a more westerly course. This could take Gustav south of the southern coast of Cuba Thursday through at least Saturday. The future strength of Gustav will be directly related to whether it is over land or over water.
Increasingly, model guidance has been trending more south over the last 12 to 18 hours and intensifies Gustav south of Cuba and then moves it toward the Gulf of Mexico. This will have to be watched closely, but more heavy rains are likely no matter what the path, and could produce additional flooding problems from east to west across Cuba.