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Gustav 4am: I don't mean to alarm anybody, but I think New Orleans is being followed August 31, 2008 at 4:31 am

(Firefly fans might recognize the reference in the title to Wash’s line in the first episode.)

Seriously, though, what did the good people of Louisiana do to deserve this? Even if Hurricane Gustav makes landfall somewhere else, the threat is there now and the city-wide mandatory evacuation goes into effect at 8am CDT this morning. The harm is already being done in the form of lost time, money, and energies.

As for the storm, it’s doing pretty well, which is pretty much not a good thing for the residents of the Northern Gulf Coast. The passage over Cuba knocked winds down to 135mph, but the storm is still expected to re-strengthen over the warm Gulf waters, possibility even to Category 5 intensity.

In terms of track forecast, the computer prediction models have come into a little better agreement during the 6z (2am EDT) runs, with fewer models forecasting odd tracks off to the west and a landfall consensus slightly to the east, 30-40 miles west of the Mississippi Delta. I should note that THIS TRACK FORECAST COULD CHANGE, and further I’m only a 19-year-old, not a professional forecaster. Please refer to official forecasts and statements in lieu of my analysis and predictions in making decisions involving your personal safety, etc.

For my (completely unofficial and untrained! *grin*) forecast, I’m going to narrow my landfall prediction to somewhere between Gulfport, Mississippi and the Texas/Louisiana state line on Monday, with the “hot zone” being in eastern Louisiana around mid-day Monday.

Intensity forecasting is incredibly hard to do, but as atmospheric shear forecasts are low for the forecast track through the next 36 hours and sea-surface temperatures are plenty warm I’d say it’s safe to say that Hurricane Gustav will stay a major hurricane up until landfall.

Keep an eye on the NHC website or your local media for all the latest information on this incredibly dangerous storm. And keep an eye on the Gustav tag for all the posts form me on this storm.

Stay safe, y’alls.

-j

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