Tag Archives: category 5

Gustav knocking on Category 5’s door

Hurricane Gustav radar fix in Cuba

Major Hurricane Gustav is closing in on Category 5 status very quickly, raking Cuba and giving Key West quite a blustery time in the process. As of the 5 PM advisory, Gustav’s packing 150 MPH sustained winds, making it an intense Category 4, and is moving to the northwest at 15 MPH. This puts the storm somewhere along the Gulf Coast roughly Monday night. Model guidance agrees well on Gustav’s track at this point; it’s now a matter of wobbles — five miles east or west could change the prognosis for New Orleans, Houston, Biloxi, and other cities along the coast pretty substantially. As it stands, New Orleans may see sustained hurricane force winds on the eastern side of the storm, which is where the worst storm surge will occur. However, a lot can change between now and Monday.

Update: Here’s a map of the official NHC forecast track along with the spaghetti models to demonstrate variability in the landfall locations. Models look roughly at the Texas/Louisiana border all the way to right next to New Orleans, which is a disastrous scenario if that’s the one that comes to pass.

Track and models for Gustav

How I’m Following Gustav

Social media has mobilized throughout the day for getting the word out about Gustav. Twitter is figuring heavily into the mix, as one might expect: I’m following Mark Mayhew, who’s on the ground in New Orleans, as well as The Interdictor Project, one of the several aggregators of information about Gustav being made available this afternoon. (Interdictor may sound familiar to those who followed the Interdictor LiveJournal during Katrina; it was one of the best blogs that was actually on the ground through the duration of the storm.) I’ve also begun following Vanessa (aka iThinkMedia), who’s on the ground in Alexandra, LA, and James Wheeler, who lists his location as the Mississippi Gulf Coast. You can get the big picture using this Twitter search. A centralized Gustav Ning site has been set up for disseminating information and also for coordinate efforts to help folks who may be displaced by the storm. Finally, for you FriendFeeders out there, Wayne Sutton is compiling a list of resources for following Gustav.

Gustav is captivating me not just because of the obvious meteorological aspect, but also how folks are mobilizing so quickly using social media tools to disseminate information. This will be quite a study in social media’s maturity, and it’ll be interesting to see how things turn out.

Felix the Cat (5)

So two days ago, Felix was just a disorganized mess near the Windward Islands, stirring up some trouble. It organized into Tropical Depression Six, and then got its name about 12 hours later. Since then, it has exploded into a storm way beyond any forecast — a Category 5 storm packing 165 MPH winds. At first, I thought about calling it Dean Lite because of its similar trajectory and formation location, but this one wants to upstage Dean in a very nasty way. Don’t be surprised to see it pack 175 MPH winds at its peak before it peters out — it seems like the sky’s the limit for this storm.

You know a hurricane is strong when you see this in the storm discussion (and you don’t see this often):

BECAUSE OF THE EXTREME TURBULENCE AND
GROUPEL THAT THE AIRCRAFT EXPERIENCED…THE MISSION IS BEING
ABORTED AND THE AIRCRAFT IS RETURNING TO ST. CROIX.

If it’s too hairy for a hurricane hunter aircraft, you know it’s a beast.

It looks like things are really going to take off here in the next couple weeks. It’s possible that the area of disturbed weather that was affecting us this weekend could become tropical in nature and form into something, too. Keep an eye to the seas…