Thursday, August 28, 2008

Gustav goes south. Intensity goes north. Uncertainty abounds.

I've already seen two headlines referring to New Orleans as the Big Uneasy. Oil was recently trading at $118.23 up 8 cents after hitting $120.50 and natural gas was $8.21 down 0.398 with an intraday high of $8.808.
From SciGuy:

9:50 a.m. UPDATE: As some of you have noted, some of the models have swung back toward Louisiana this morning. The official forecast, as anticipated, has changed little.

The flip-flopping of the models is normal, and reflects the fact that the computers don't yet have a firm handle on the system. The data collected by the Hurricane Hunters today should provide some more consistency by tomorrow. Hopefully.

Also, Tropical Storm Hanna has formed in the Atlantic. Some of the models do weird things with the storm, but I do not believe a tropical system that has formed in this area has ever reached Texas. The likelihood of a Gulf of Mexico impact is nearly as low.

For now my focus will remain almost exclusively on Gustav.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: As often happens with tropical weather, Tropical Storm Gustav has taken an unpredictable turn overnight. Let's talk about it.


The storm's center re-formed to the south of its original position and now Gustav is only about 80 miles east of Jamaica. This has caused a shift in some of the computer model forecasts toward the Texas coast.

Now over water the storm has quickly strengthened into a 70-mph tropical storm this morning, and further intensification seems likely later today.

Yet although waters are warm in the Caribbean Sea and wind shear quite low, interaction with Jamaica should inhibit the rapid intensification of Gustav into a major hurricane for at least a day or two as the storm passes near the island's southern edge.


The high-pressure ridge over Florida apparently pushed Gustav's center southward over night. What will happen to the ridge now? Will it continue to expand and push the storm west? Or will it weaken and allow a northerly turn?...MORE

The models diverge widely in their solutions:

Weather Underground