Hurricane Ike has weakened to a Category 1 storm after crossing Cuba. Ike will be emerging into the Gulf of Mexico once it crosses western Cuba. Though the track is still uncertain, most models indicate that landfall will occur in Texas. Click on the Computer Model Verification map below and see the progression of the spaghetti model for Ike.
As of 8 AM, Hurricane Ike was located near 22.4 north and 82.4 west, or 40 miles south of Havana, Cuba. Ike is traveling west-northwest at 13 mph with winds of 80 mph. Hurricane Hunter aircraft recently reported a central pressure of 965 mb, or 28.50 inches.
A hurricane warning remains in effect for the Cuban provinces of Ciego de Avila, Matanzas, La Habana, Ciudad Habana, Pinar del Rio and the Isle of Youth.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Florida Keys from Ocean Reef southward to the Dry Tortugas including Florida Bay.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008 – 8:00 AM Advisory from AccuWeather
Ike weakened to Category 1 status on Monday afternoon after making landfall in Cuba on Sunday evening as a Category 3 hurricane, but this weakening trend stopped when the center moved into the Caribbean Sea on Monday evening. Given this development, Ike is expected to maintain its current intensity and perhaps even gain a little strength as it moves along the southern coast of Cuba this morning. Ike is forecast to cross western Cuba into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico this afternoon into tonight and some slight weakening is possible once over land. The terrain of western Cuba is relatively flat when compared to the areas that Ike has already impacted and as such, the storm is expected to steadily intensify once in the gulf. Ike will continue to bring strong winds and very heavy rainfall to central and western Cuba for the remainder of the morning. Rainfall amounts will average 6 to 12 inches with local amounts to 20 inches. This will cause the potential for life-threatening floods and mudslides. Farther north, tropical storm conditions will affect portions of the Florida Keys, especially the lower Keys, with squally showers and thunderstorms. In fact, Key West recently reported gusts to 54 mph and Sand Key, which is just southwest of Key West, reported sustained winds of 50 mph with gusts to 67 mph.
Again, re-intensification over the Gulf of Mexico is likely as Ike moves over very warm waters with favorable upper-level conditions as well. Ike very well could become a major hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico as early as Wednesday. It should be noted that some computer guidance strengthens Ike more rapidly than the AccuWeather forecast. It is still too early to tell exactly where Ike may be headed for in the gulf region, but it appears that Ike is more likely a threat to Texas as opposed to Louisiana. That said, there is still enough uncertainty that all interests in the central and western Gulf Coast states need to keep up with the latest information on the progress of this storm. Much of the gulf region will be experiencing rough surf, dangerous rip currents and the potential for coastal flooding even well away from the storm’s track.
Elsewhere, tropical development is not anticipated.