As we predicted, Gustav became quite large overnight. If you visited me at the State Fair, you know I had been watching Gustav intently. I had also been telling people that I thought it would explode in a very short period of time, and boy did it ever. Going from a relatively weak hurricane, to an extremely dangerous Category 4. Top sustained winds are 145 mph, with gusts to 170 mph! We expect Gustav to strengthen. In fact, Gustav is only 10mph away from a Category 5 storm. Below is a satellite picture of Gustav:
Gustav has a well defined eye, and outflow is good in all quadrants of the storm. Outflow is very important in hurricane structure. If outflow is hindered on one side or another, it will choke the development of Gustav. At this point, outflow does not look like it will become restricted, until possibly close to landfall. That would be good news, IF THAT OCCURS.
Computer model forecasts:
All of the computer models that are looking at Gustav, project it to make landfall on the Louisiana Coast. Given how Gustav has intensified, and how it has jogged slightly to the north, this track could be shifted a touch to the east. Tough to say at this point where it will make landfall, but anyone from Houston to Biloxi could be impacted. In fact, our computer models show Gustav slowing down considerably as it comes ashore. This would prolong the effects of Gustav, and cause catastrophic flooding. Again, that's if if slows down...
The National Hurricane Center's Official Track is posted above. They take the storm to a Category 5 storm in the Gulf, then weaken it to a strong Category 3 when it makes landfall. Notice they target the Louisiana Coast for landfall. However, the "forecast cone" does get wider toward landfall. This displays some uncertainty in regard to what Gustav will eventually do. The next couple of days will be telling. However as I mentioned, all folks from Houston to Biloxi need to be on high alert for this powerful storm.
Chief Meteorologist Brian Bledsoe