Gustav Ready To Strengthen

Tropical Storm Gustav continues to churn in the Caribbean over the southwest tip of Haiti. The NOAA satellite picture below shows the storm’s position mid afternoon Wednesday.

Gustav’s interaction with land has prevented it from becoming better organized. The forecast track for the storm will keep it over water just south of Cuba into Saturday and this is one of the key factors in Gustav’s becoming a dangerous storm. Gustav will be moving over some very warm water. The NOAA satellite picture below shows sea surface temperatures. The red shading around Cuba indicates water temperatures around 86 degrees.

Readings this warm are perfect for storm strengthening, assuming that the upper winds remain favorable.

Gustav’s forecast track ultimately takes the storm over the western tip of Cuba and into the Gulf of Mexico, in the general direction of the north Gulf coast. Water temperatures in the Gulf are in the 80-85 degree range, plenty warm to allow for strengthening into a major storm. For more on Gustav, check our Hurricane Tracker at http://www.wbaltv.com/hurricanes/index.html .

Closer to home, the moisture from the remnants of Fay is moving very slowly northward. High pressure has held the rain just south of the Baltimore-Washington area through Wednesday afternoon but rain chances will increase across the area and be with us until a cold front moves through on Saturday.

John Collins

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