Gustav Gets Stronger

Hurricane Gustav continues to gain strength near the south coast of Haiti with winds clocked at 90mph Tuesday morning. The NOAA satellite picture below shows that the storm, has yet to take on the classic form of a hurricane with a clearly defined eye.

Gustave started as a tropical wave in the central Atlantic but didn’t build in strength and organization until the storm reached the warm waters of the Caribbean and upper winds subsided. Tuesday morning winds in the storm are sustained at 90 mph.

Forecast models have recently leaned toward a more westerly track for Gustav which would favor keeping the storm over water just south of Cuba. By the time the storm is forecast to cross the western tip of Cuba winds may be up to 115 mph. If upper winds remain favorable the storm could further strengthen over the warm, open waters of the Gulf.

Hurricane forecasters are monitoring additional activity as indicated on the NOAA satellite picture below.

The tropical waves labeled 1 and 2 have a medium probability of further development and tropical wave three has a low probability based on current forecast parameters. The “L” over the state of Mississippi is the remnant of Fay. For more on developments in the tropics, check out our Hurricane Tracker at http://www.wbaltv.com/hurricanes/index.html .

The satellite picture also shows all of the tropical moisture bottled up over the southeastern U.S. with drier air to the north holding it in place. The Mid Atlantic region is right at the dividing line. As the week wears on, advancing weather systems from the west should help to draw more moisture up from the south and increase rain chances in the area. BWI-Marshall has recorded only .60 inches of rain so far this month, 2.40 inches below the 30 year average. We could use the rain.

John Collins

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