The last time I spoke of Gustav, it was a rapidly intensifying tropical storm at 60 MPH; it eventually became a hurricane and made landfall on Haiti as a high Category 1 storm. Haiti’s terrain has subsequently torn the storm apart. As of 11:00PM, it’s only packing 45 MPH winds. Pressure’s up significantly to 999 millibars (29.49″ of mercury), and is a total shadow of what it was a day or so ago.
While it’s fairly weak now, Gustav’s going to move back over the water soon — some very steaming hot water to be exact. That, combined with a fairly favorable upper-air setup, will help Gustav get its act back together. The official NHC forecast has it reaching Category 2 and hitting somewhere along the Gulf Coast by Monday night.
These long-range forecasts are tricky. The cone of uncertainty in the five-day in particular is an incredible spread that takes up most of the Gulf. A lot of buzz is being generated because the path currently takes the center extremely close to New Orleans; this, combined with the upcoming three-year anniversary of Katrina, has a lot of folks really worried. Louisiana has already declared a state of emergency well in advance of Gustav’s potential arrival.
If you’ve got interests along the Gulf Coast, it definitely behooves you to watch this thing closely. It really could end up anywhere along the coast at this point.
As for Invest 95, it’s started to flare some convection up, but it’s still awfully hard to identify a circulation and it seems to be a fairly hostile environment at the moment. It’s just drifting around; it’s starting to turn a bit more northwest, but it’s tough to say exactly what it wants to do. Models seem to want to develop it into a Category 1 in a few days and recurve it out dangerously close to Bermuda, but other models also turn it more southward and send it toward Florida. This is, of course, all depending on whether it actually survives. 95’s been in and out of the NHC’s radar, so it’s hanging in there, but it’s still too early to say exactly what it will do beyond bring some rain and wind over the islands.
Oh, and the tornado outbreaks over the last two days in the upstate of SC and into North Carolina? Those were all from the Ghost of Fay. Gotta love systems that overstay their welcome. :)