As you may have heard, we have a new hurricane. While Gustav is still a long way away from threatening the US, it is causing a stir. Some of our computer model guidance has Gustav rolling out of the Caribbean and headed to the US Gulf Coast early next week. Below is a map of the potential tracks Gustav could take. These tracks are generated by some of the most sophisticated computer models in the world.
Rather it was due to Gustav's potential track or not, oil prices jumped several dollars and that will likely translate into higher gas prices. Plus, we are going to hear a lot of speculation about what Gustav will or won't do to oil production, IF IT HITS THE GULF COAST. Again, IF IT HITS THE GULF COAST. Gustav could do many things. One of those scearios is to not threaten the US at all. Below is the official forecast track, from the National Hurricane Center:
Notice how wide the "circles of potential" are, by the time we enter into the weekend. Gustav could be over the Florida Keys, the Yucatan, western Cuba, the southern Gulf, etc. You get the idea. By Saturday, there is a large degree of potential with the official forecast. As we approach the weekend, that forecast error will decrease. Why? Because we will be able to see what Gustav will do, and our computer models will have a better handle on the potential track.
A few things are certain: 1) Gustav is an organized storm, that is poised to get stronger over the next few days. 2) There is a lot of warm water ( fuel ) for Gustav to feed on, if it stays over the open waters of the Caribbean. 3) Speculators will be going nuts, considering the official track could potential take Gustav near the Texas and Louisiana Coast by early next week. That would obviously be bad for oil prices. Threatening big refineries and shutting down platforms is the last thing we want to see or hear about. Only time will tell, as hurricanes are very fickle and a lot can change what they do. Needless to say we will be following Gustav closely, as it could become a major player in Gulf Coast weather by early next week. Stay tuned...
Chief Meteorologist Brian Bledsoe