Last night, Hurricane Gustav weakened to a Tropical Storm as it trekked across Haiti. It is expected to strengthen once it leaves the island returning to hurricane strength sometime in the next 24 – 36 hours.
Long range computer models forecast this storm will head into the Gulf of Mexico heading towards the Louisiana coast as a category 3 hurricane (winds between 111 – 130 mph). Of course, these storms are very unpredictable and much can happen over the next few days.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008 – 8:00 AM advisory (from AccuWeather)
A hurricane warning for Cuba in the provinces of Guantanamo, Santiago De Cuba and Granma.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for Haiti from the Dominican Republic/Haiti border westward to Le Mole St. Nicholas.
A hurricane watch is in effect for the Caymans, Jamaica and the Cuban Provinces of Las Tunas and Holguin.
A tropical storm watch is in effect for Haiti from Le Mole St. Nicholas to the northern Haiti/Dominican Republic border.
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At 8 a.m. EDT Tuesday, Gustav remained a tropical storm. The center was located near the northern coast of the Tiburon Peninsula of Haiti, about 90 miles west of Port Au Prince. The center of the storm was near 18.8 north and 73.7 west, moving to the northwest at 5 mph. Maximum-sustained winds have held at 60 mph, with some higher gusts. The estimated central pressure is 997 mb, or 29.44 inches. Gustav has remained nearly stationary over the last 6-8 hours and brought significant rainfall to the area. The storm will continue to bring heavy rain to much of Haiti through the morning hours today, with rain spreading into eastern Cuba during the day and eventually to Jamaica late today and tonight. Rainfall of 5 to 10 inches more is likely with local amounts of 20 plus inches, especially at the higher terrain. This will produce life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides.
Although Gustav has weakened, the storm will move over water again. Therefore, strengthening is likely to occur during the day into tonight. Once emerging into the Windward Passage today, it will be back over the very warm waters of the northern Caribbean. Atmospheric conditions will also be very favorable for intensification during this time as it passes north of Jamaica late tonight and Thursday, probably becoming a Category 2 midday on Thursday. Similar rainfall to that which will douse Haiti and easternmost Cuba today will spread across Jamaica and central Cuba tonight and Thursday. In addition, a storm surge of 3 to 6 feet above normal is possible. Gustav will then continue on a mostly westerly course south of Cuba and very near the Cayman Islands on Friday then toward the Yucatan Channel on Saturday. There is a possibility that Gustav could become a dangerous Category 3 hurricane sometime on Friday or Saturday as it moves into the Gulf of Mexico. All interests along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico need to watch the progress of this storm for early next week, especially the central and western Gulf Coast areas.